Mythology and reality collide in Art Gallery

By Modjina Ovil

For its latest exhibition, The Art Gallery focused on the paintings of artist Scott Noel. The opening exhibit took place Jan. 28 in The Art Gallery located on the top floor of the Bart Luedeke Center.

Harry Naar, professor of fine arts and director of The Art Gallery, is familiar with Noel’s work and has come to know more of it through his former students who went on to earn graduate degrees at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where Noel teaches figure drawing and painting.

Since completing his undergraduate studies at Washington University in Saint Louis, Noel’s work has been hung in over 30 exhibitions in galleries, universities and museums.

Exhibits dedicated to Noel’s paintings have appeared in galleries including the Bowery Gallery in New York and the Gross McCleaf Gallery in Philadelphia.

With Noel’s work on display at Rider, Naar encourages students to experience the realistic paintings, featuring city views, landscapes and compositions, firsthand.

The exhibition features many of Noel’s great works, such as “Galatea I” and “Portrait of Patrice.”

A unique element in Noel’s pieces is the reflection of history, mythology and literature mixed in with real-life observations.

Along with the desire to promote great taste in art within the Rider community, Naar also wants students to see different types of artwork and to be able to network with other artists.

“Students are exposed to a variety of different things, whether they are interested or not,” he said.

“You can be educated way beyond the classroom — plays, performances, the art exhibit, etc. The more you know, hopefully you’ll be able to expand your knowledge and not be flat-minded and a bore.”

The entire Rider community is always encouraged to visit The Art Gallery and explore the exhilarating art pieces that artists throughout the nation have to offer. All around the campus, from the library, the academic buildings, and the administrative offices, the majestic pieces that were donated from various artists to the institution are hung on walls and uplift the mood instantly.

“Once I choose the exhibit — for instance, this focus is on painting — my students learn about the works and continue engaging conversations of that artist and their work in the classroom,” said Naar.

Of course, behind every great accomplishment, there is a process that must be done. Naar continuously works hard to ensure that the Rider community receives quality work during exhibitions and that is why he encourages featured artists to return back and participate in the “Artist’s Talk” event, where the artist and Naar engage in conversations allowing the artist to discuss his work and give students a better understanding of it.

“Once done, people can asks questions,” Naar said. “These are contemporary artists, not amateurs; teachers who do art and have their art works exhibited, collected in major museums.”

The exhibition is open to the public from Tuesdays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.

“I hope the viewer of the show will experience something of the vitality and reach I find in a very old activity,” Noel said to Naar. “I also hope a viewer will be awakened to the particularity of their own seeing through the particularity of mine.”

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