Last spring, Wofford Senior Mills Reigel spent the semester in Amsterdam, Netherlands studying many different forms of Dutch art. We wanted to know how her extensive study of art history, both during her semester abroad and in the classroom at Wofford, has influenced her as an artist.
“Being an Art History major and a Studio Art minor, studying abroad was never a question. The only difficulty came in choosing where I would spend the next semester. A few months after being handed at least 10 program brochures my plane landed in Amsterdam. The decision came about after I decided that I did not want to follow the typical route of Art History majors to Rome or Paris.
During the semester that would follow I was able to take classes in Dutch art and modern art (my favorite). Aside from classes, my semester consisted of a schedule that allowed me to constantly explore all the art and inspiration Amsterdam had to offer. I have always been a huge believer in the idea that one cannot fully understand art or study it adequately without experiencing what it is like to make art. For this reason I greatly enjoyed many of my class assignments while abroad. We were often asked to create studies of Van Gogh paintings, sketches after Rembrandt’s etchings and our own drawings inspired by Karel Appel and the CoBrA movement.”
(a few iconic pieces by the artists Mills mentions)
“This interdisciplinary study of art has allowed me to approach my own art making in a new way. Since returning from abroad I find myself often returning to the works of Van Gogh for inspiration. I have since created a few studies in soft pastel of Van Gogh works. The image seen here is the beginning of my series of studies and based on my favorite Van Gogh painting, Head of a Skeleton With Burning Cigarette (1886).”