Inspired by students, art professor wins Pollock-Krasner grant for work in Iceland

Timothy McDowell, professor of studio art at Connecticut College
Timothy McDowell, professor of studio art at Connecticut College

Artist Timothy McDowell, professor of studio art at Connecticut College, has been awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant to create a new body of work exploring the natural landscapes of Iceland using a variety of photography and painting techniques.

McDowell is well known for creating works in encaustic, a medium in which ground earth pigments are suspended in heated beeswax, and producing paintings that explore nature both in subject matter and in medium.

Inspired in part by students in his course “Imagery Through Process,” in which students explore many different image-making processes, McDowell’s newest body of work will embrace several different mediums. He will travel to Iceland in late spring of 2014 to take digital, pinhole and camera obscura images of waterfalls and other landscapes, then translate those photographs into painted and printed images using several methods, including cyanotype, etching and painting.

“I am trying to remain open to the visual dialogue that these processes may inspire and how the process may determine the expressive quality of the imagery,” McDowell says.

McDowell says that after 25 years of painting with encaustic, he is excited about the opportunity to work in a broader range of mediums.

“I have watched over the years as my students have broken out of a limited range of visual communication, to be inspired by their own image-making through learning how to ‘learn’ from their own explorations,” he says.

The work will also influence a new course McDowell is designing, “Science of Art,” in which students will explore image-making through the camera obscura and camera lucida as well as cyanotype and etching.  The course will be taught for the first time next year.

The Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant will pay for McDowell’s supplies, travel and printing and presentation costs. The Pollock-Krasner Foundation was established in 1985 through the generosity of Lee Krasner (1908-1984), a leading abstract expressionist painter and widow of Jackson Pollock. Its purpose is to assist individual working artists of merit with financial need.

September 30, 2013