The final projects of a first-level course for art majors interested in a painting concentration taught by Associate Professor of Art and Department Chair Ed Charney, the portraits are examples of what is usually the initial experience with oil paint for most students.
"The portrait project embodies all of the historic, creative and technical potential that the subject of portraiture contains," Charney explained. "It is where all of our foundation goals can intersect and be realized.
"The annual assignment of a large-scale, naturalistic portrait brings several visual elements together; it allows the students to utilize the technical, conceptual and aesthetic issues that were learned in the foundations program. The portrait as subject matter requires students to merge their art history, drawing and formal design experiences to bear on a single object in space," Charney continued.
"It is my favorite project of the course because students get to apply their accumulated knowledge and ability to a subject that is charged with many layers of complexity and self-consciousness," he added. "It is one of the great technical challenges to any artist working in representational imagery."
Four additional portraits hang in the living room of the Benjamin Prince House where they provide "bragging rights" to President and Mrs. Erickson on the talents of Wittenberg students to their guests.
"Most of the students did self portraits, although a few painted friends. In my home, two of the four were done by seniors, one a junior and the last a sophomore," said Lin Erickson. "I think that they are amazing."
Recitation Hall is on West Campus Drive inside the main campus entrance at the corner of West Ward Street and North Wittenberg Avenue. The building, home to several of the university's administrative offices, including the registrar, admission, university communications, the provost and the president, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Written By: Phyllis Eberts
Photo By: Erin Pence
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