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Student show captures changing landscapes


Brittany Gilbert talks with her advisor, Walter Hatke, about her project.
Brittany Gilbert talks with her advisor, Walter Hatke, about her project.

Growing up in North Kingstown, R.I., surrounded by open water and spaces, Brittany Gilbert ’12 became fascinated by how landscapes are transformed by light, weather and the seasons.
 
“I enjoy being outside and watching the change happen before my eyes,” said Gilbert. “Being personally familiar with the subject is the best way to capture the scene.”

Gilbert’s oil paintings are now on view in “Landscape Impressions: Chasing the Light” at the Wikoff Student Gallery in the Nott Memorial. An artist’s reception is set for Thursday, Jan. 19 at 4:30 p.m.

Most of the paintings were created in plein air, or outdoors, in the Tuscan hills in Buonconvento, Italy, following her term abroad in Florence, and in Sag Harbor, Long Island. She took plein air workshops in these locales last year through Union’s Beyond the Gates Fund, which supports students in their visual and studio arts outside the College. 

A visual arts major with a minor in French and art history, Gilbert finds inspiration in the works of Impressionist Claude Monet, a master of observing and painting the same images and motifs in different light.

“There are many areas in Rhode Island that I have painted at different times of day. It’s something I want to experiment more with,” she said. Other influences include Cassatt, Manet, Corot and Turner.

“I love landscapes, light and atmospheric perspective, interpreting different lighting and color effects,” Gilbert said. She is exploring these concepts for her senior thesis exhibit, to be held in the spring.

When not painting, Gilbert works at the Mandeville Gallery, and is co-captain of Women’s Tennis and a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Not surprisingly for someone who adores exterior settings and backdrops, she also belongs to the Outing Club.

“As I mature as an artist, I am constantly exploring new landscapes that inspire me,” she said.

“Landscape Impressions” runs through Feb. 19. The Wikoff is located on the third floor of the Nott.