From the start of freshman year, Kaylie Stahl came to Knox driven to complete a Studio Art degree within three years. As a senior and an artist whose work has transformed in media, style and concept since arriving at Knox, Stahl is drawing nearer to her goal.
“In high school I did naturalistic drawings,” Stahl reflected. “But when I got here I started painting and Andrea pushed me in a more abstract direction. For the last two years here it’s been more about composition, space and color.” Andrea Ferrigno, Assistant Professor in Art, was Stahl’s instructor in Painting I and Printmaking I and has continued to be her mentor in higher level classes.
After traveling to London and Florence in the winter and spring of 2015 on a study abroad program, the conceptual elements of Stahl’s art took flight.
“While I was gone, my parents were thinking about moving out of my childhood home, and so that made me start thinking about that home and its role in my life,” she said. Overseas, Stahl experienced changes in venue as well, first living in an apartment in London and later living with a host family in Florence, which she said “were both very different domestic situations.”
From the changing environments in Stahl’s life to the architecture she studied in London and Florence, she began to explore the idea she calls “the domestic and monumental,” which has conceptually dominated her art. “The domestic deals with the home or the mother and is very personal to the individual, but on a cultural scale it’s very monumental in its influence.” Stahl explained.
She spent the summer formally developing this concept in the studio space of The Box on the corner of Simmons and Kellogg, where she opened her final summer works to the public in September. Making use of an entire wall of the gallery with a loud, orange shape, and creating what she described as a “rigid, formal structure in the painting,” Stahl voiced this idea of monumentality. She added smaller collages with yarn, fabric and other mixed media that she saw as “chance or happenstance composition” elements that added something more personal and specific.
“My proposal for the project was exploring projects of painting in three dimensions and actualizing painting by placement in the room or outside the rectangle you get from the usual canvas,” Stahl said.
Right now Stahl has taken her work to a smaller, two dimensional level in her Experimental Drawing class. She has shifted her focus to incorporating collage layering and texture as well as spatial systems. Even with this media shift, she continues to keep the domestic in mind and will continue to in her life after Knox.
With plans to become a liberal arts professor, Stahl counts on becoming a post-baccalaureate fellow at Knox to gain TA experience and further develop her concept for graduate school.
“I would like to go to New York at least for a few years for a different kind of life, especially in regard to the domestic,” Stahl said. “There’s different ways people live life and that influences the domestic spaces and how the domestic is structured. I would like to experience that in regard to lifestyles.”