Arts & Culture / Mosaic / February 6, 2013

Gant and Lombard show art in Michigan’s Fire Barn Gallery

Associate Professors of Art Tony Gant and Lynette Lombard discuss their art exhibition in the Beanhive Friday, Feb. 1. (Jason Deschamps/TKS)

Associate Professors of Art Tony Gant and Lynette Lombard discuss their art exhibition in the Beanhive Friday, Feb. 1. (Jason Deschamps/TKS)

Knox may have a number of married couples among its faculty, but Associate Professors of Art Tony Gant and Lynette Lombard have a claim to fame outside of the Knox bubble.

Gant and Lombard, both artists of their own right, presented their work together in an exhibit titled “Educating a Generation: An American Renaissance,” which opened at the Fire Barn Gallery in Grand Haven, Mich. on Monday, Jan. 21.

The couple was invited to show their work by Knox alum and former student Ellen Trumbo ’01, whose significant other, Chris Protas, is the director of the Fire Barn Gallery.

“It’s exciting to show work. It’s exciting that an alum says she wants to give back what we gave her,” Lombard said. “I just thought, this is a great opportunity.”

Over the course of the exhibit, which lasted until Wednesday, Jan. 30, both artists were given the chance to create a piece of art on site and out of doors. Lombard, as a landscape painter, was inspired by her surroundings in Michigan.

“I was quite moved by the landscape. It’s right on the lake … it has undulating hills and trees and gorgeous light,” Lombard said. “Actually, the landscape reminds me a little bit of New England — I grew up in New England. … So it spoke to me in that way.”

Gant’s piece, a site-specific project he constructed in front of the Grand Rapids Art Museum, had some unique challenges.

“The original project was going to involve a bit of snow. I like to use elements that I can find right there on site,” Gant said. However, “it looked as though snow was not going to happen. So I had multiple projects I had organized.”

Although it did eventually snow and Gant was able to use one of his preferred mediums, he said, “In some ways, it was going to be a surprise, whatever I did.”

Part of what guides his artistic inclinations is how he identifies himself as an artist.

“Often, people describe me as a sculptor, but I think it’s really that I’m a site artist, and so I want to respond to a site, a place, right then and right there,” Gant said. “The project I made, I don’t want it to be seen as a sculpture. I thought of it as more of an interruption.”

Although the artists’ mediums are rather different, there still seem to be some similarities between their inspirations.

“I think, for me, I like a visual, physical engagement with place, and so I like working directly from being in a place, and kind of painting how that place makes me feel as well as how it looks,” Lombard said. “In a way, I want to discover something as I’m painting about that place.”

These overlaps in Gant and Lombard’s art seem to contribute to the couple’s understanding of each other as artists.

“I feel as though Lynette keeps me honest,” Gant said. “Sometimes, I think, as a maker, we can get lost in our own vision, and she can come along and point to some grandiose notion in my head that’s not actually my work, and make me reconsider, reassess my vision.”

Lombard agreed that such conversations could be beneficial.

“I think we have great dialogue about each other’s work because we know where that person’s coming from,” she said. “I like the fact that we both go to places and we seem to respond to certain places in a positive way.”

The couple seems to enjoy the combination of their creative processes.

“It’s exciting. It’s unpredictable,” Lombard said.

Chelsea Embree
Chelsea Embree is a senior majoring in creative writing and minoring in art history. She previously served as co-mosaic editor and as an arts and features reporter for TKS. During the summer of 2013, she served as a content intern at The St. Louis Beacon. Chelsea has studied under former Random House copy chief Sean Mills and taught writing as a teaching assistant for First-Year Preceptorial. An avid blogger, she has written extensively about youth in St. Louis and maintains a lively poetry and nonfiction blog on Tumblr. She is also the director of communications for Mortar Board and co-president of Terpsichore Dance Collective.

Tags:  Chris Protas Ellen Trumbo Fire Barn Lynette Lombard michigan Tony Gant

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