Contemporary art workshops held at Kent Memorial Library

By Jennifer Coe - ReminderNews
Suffield - posted Tue., Mar. 12, 2013
Discussion leader Hilary Godin stands in front of a painting entitled, ‘Ophelia.’ Godin is teaching a four-part class on contemporary art at Kent Memorial Library. Photo by Jennifer Coe.
Discussion leader Hilary Godin stands in front of a painting entitled, ‘Ophelia.’ Godin is teaching a four-part class on contemporary art at Kent Memorial Library. Photo by Jennifer Coe.

Art appreciators gathered March 6 in the Kent Memorial Library auditorium to learn more about contemporary art. Instructor Hilary Godin, an art teacher at Longmeadow High School in Massachusetts, offered a “sampler” course on the same topic last year, and its positive reception inspired her to create a four-part series.

This free course will be for the pure enjoyment of its attendees over the next few weeks and attempt to answers questions like: What is contemporary art? Why is it important? How does a piece relate to what was happening in the world at the time it was created?

“Back when I was taking art classes years and years ago, we would be in a huge auditorium,” Godin said. “The instructor would talk and talk and talk.” Godin is determined to make the discussions low-key and user-friendly. In the first session, she used several short video clips to discuss the art in her first presentation. “I will let the artists talk about the work,” she said.

The first piece discussed was John Everett Millais’ painting, entitled “Ophelia” - a piece, Godin said, which was painted outdoors and took about six months for the artist to complete. In this pre-Raphaelite-era painting, Ophelia lies, hands outstretched in a shallow stream, seemingly giving up, but surrounded by beautiful landscape. The group which had gathered to learn from Godin discussed some things they had noticed in the piece, in addition to the possible motivation Millais might have had to include elements such as flowers, a flowing costume on the model, and the verdant landscaping.

This painting in particular, Godin said, inspired her to think about the model’s role in a great painting. “I never quite thought about that relationship,” she said. “The two [the artist and the model] have to work together.”

A large portion of time was also spent discussing contemporary art museums all over the world in countries like Spain, Australia, China and the United States.

Two more discussions will be held on April 3 and 10 beginning at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Topics to be discussed will include: Venice Biennale, the art market, collectors and buyers, conceptual artists, world artists, influential artists, science and art.

For more information, call Kent Memorial Library at 860-668-3896.


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