Once there was a little girl who grew up in a very artistic family. Her uncle was a professional artist who began teaching her studio methods before the age of 10. It was a family involved with painting, photography and drawing. The little girl’s family never looked down upon her artistic dreams, but instead encouraged them and allowed them to flourish. That little girl’s name was Claire, and it is her hope that, by sharing her work with Elizabethtown College, she will be able to encourage and inspire the students here. The department of fine and performing arts is sponsoring the Claire Giblin Exhibition at the Hess Gallery starting in mid-November. Some of the works that will be displayed are “The Shroud,” “Things are About to Change” and “The Departure,” as well as some other smaller pieces, and some painting inspired by a vacation in Maine.
“I kind of [have] always gotten inspiration from nature, poetry or music. Natural kinds of inspiration,” Giblin commented in a phone interview. She has also found inspiration through scriptures as well as philosophers. “I can’t say one particular person inspired me; many people in the art field, family and friends inspired me along the way,” Giblin said. “People inspire me.” Some other sources of inspiration are the field painters of the 20th century and artists such as James W. Turner.
“Claire’s pretty cool. She’s a good artist first of all,” art professor Milton Friedly commented, “She’s been around the block. She’s been working for years. She’s well respected as an artist and as a curator in the community, and, when you look at her exhibition records, she’s done a lot.”
A lot seems to be an understatement. Looking at Giblin’s resumé, one can easily see she is a respected artist. With a listing of more than 20 solo shows, more than a page of selected group and invitational shows, a rather daunting list of selected articles and publications and a list of awards and honors that rivals her list of solo shows, it is quite an honor to have Giblin’s work on display at the College.
“Maybe [the students] have seen something similar, but here is a part of Claire that is brought to our campus. So Claire is actually sharing, so she is being generous with her work in my opinion,” Friedly stated. “Hopefully it will make [students] look. They might feel, they might respond and have some sort of reaction that could be positive or negative, but that doesn’t matter as long as they’re seeing art. They’re seeing an expression.”
Giblin desires to evoke reactions in the students as well. “I want to reach students,” Giblin said. “A college gallery is important in educating students. [I want] to help students who are just starting out, help students find knowledge in making art, help encourage young artists to pursue what is in their hearts, what they have inside of them.”
Being able to relate to the students’ experiences is what Giblin feels is rewarding about making art. “I like to say that every piece of art someone creates is self portrait, but when someone relates to you and [you] are inspired and touched it is also a portrait of themselves. Seeing something of themselves in it is a very rewarding experience. [It shows] my work is valid and beyond myself,” Giblin said.
Friedly noted several attributes he admires about Giblin’s work. “I think when I look at Claire Giblin’s work there is a connection there to your subconscious to nature and reality,” Friendly commented. “And also in artwork you are entering a dream state, but every artist is also working out of that dream state. Claire’s work also gets into that surreal state.” He further commented that her works contain soft images enhanced with beautiful color work.
However, the process for organizing a gallery takes quite a bit of time. The galleries are directed by Friedly, and shows are selected by a small committee comprised of members of the fine arts department. The committee considers pieces twice a year. “The planning process for most of our shows is at least a year and sometimes two years,” Friedly stated. The overall process begins with the evaluation of submissions followed by contacting the artist, scheduling to receive the work, installing the show and printing the mailer. The galleries do not have a regular staff, but students also help with the exhibitions. “It’s going [to] be a good show. We’re looking forward to it. We are pleased to have Claire Giblin in the gallery,” Friedly commented.
One of the aspects Giblin is looking forward to is the ability to share her work with the students. Giblin stressed the need to encourage young artists and to allow them to have a chance to express themselves. “Never be afraid,” Giblin advised aspiring artists. “Your instinct and your soul is your measuring rod of what’s real; that comes from that pure part of you. You know it’s true, so don’t be afraid to write it or sing it or paint it; find people who will encourage you.” Giblin also expressed her gratitude toward the school for allowing her to be able to share her work.
The exhibition will be located in Hess Gallery from Nov. 11 to Dec. 16.