Van Slyke’s Art a Wintering: Reflection of a Journey

Between March 2nd and the 11th, Northwood art teacher Ms. Ingrid Van Slyke hosted an exhibition of her paintings at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA). The showcase featured 24 pieces, all with a central theme surrounding winter. This was Van Slyke’s thesis exhibition to advance towards completing her Master of Fine Arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)—a journey four years in the making. She titled it “Wintering: The Nature of Resilience.”

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When asked about her favorite piece from the gallery, Ms. Van Slyke replied: “It’s called ‘The Road Home.’ It’s one of the smaller pieces and is painted in soft pastel. The painting depicts somebody’s driveway that I frequently walk by when I go for a walk on John Brown Rd.” The Road Home was displayed alongside the exhibition’s thesis at the gallery’s forefront. “I used it as a metaphor for a journey in life. There are snow tracks and bumpiness on the road, which contrasts everything else around. In that sense, it represents the uncertainties in our lives—at times, it can be bumpy, and other times it can go smoothly,” she added.

Four years ago, Ms. Van Slyke began her journey as a student pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree. Amongst the requirements for graduation were the inclusion of a thesis show exhibition and a thesis paper to complement it. After that, she invited three professors from her thesis committee to arrange a walkthrough of the gallery, where they would ultimately evaluate the exhibit.

Ms. Van Slyke spent three years creating the art gallery—an incredible feat considering her full-time job at Northwood.

The planning of the exhibition began a year ago when Ms. Van Slyke reached out to the LPCA to find a date for the show. After discussions, they agreed upon a date, which was the beginning of this March. Fast forward to a week before the opening reception, she brought over her now-completed artworks; and, with the help of Anya from the LPCA, set up the gallery. Everything was curated—works had to be level and in proper placements.

The exhibit was a success. The opening reception took place on the evening of Friday, March 3rd, when around 80 people attended.

Ms. Van Slyke describes the theme behind her show: “I have been painting winter for three years—it’s an environment that I like to paint a lot. The term winter does not refer to snow. For me, it was a personal time. Last year, I lost my mom, my dad, and my mother-in-law, all in a short period of time. With loss like that, people go through what I call wintering: it’s a time where you delve into your conscience and try to figure out things in life.” Afterward, she explained its connection to the gallery: “I used the showcase as a metaphor for wintering because when we look out the window here, everything is blanketed in snow. Everything becomes much more still. Then, spring comes, and life goes on.”


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