|Meet Stephanie (Sam) MacKay. |
Picture taken in Rome where she was traveling ahead of the Paris trip.
Participating in this Paris field school was an unexpected opportunity for me while pursuing higher education. During my previous career as an AME, I was fortunate to be able to travel; however, cultural history was something I knew little about. As an avid camper/backpacker, I usually avoid cities and venture out into nature based settings. I am a BFA student (at Kwantlen) and one of the most surprising and enjoyable parts of my program so far have been my art history classes. The history of art juxtaposes socially and politically within society in engaging and interesting ways. These complex, tangled relationships fascinate me and I think that combining an open studio class with an intensive and specific art history course is a brilliant and effective way to learn. My name is Stephanie MacKay ☺
What has met or exceeded your expectations or surprised you about Paris so far?
I try to keep an open mind and absorb experiences as they arise. Paris has a larger-than-life reputation and I had no idea what to expect upon arrival. I spent 9 days in Italy prior to meeting up with the class, and was already neck-deep in history by the time I got here. Adjusting from low key stays in convents and budget hostels to being part of a large group has been a huge shift. I have thoroughly enjoyed observing the reactions of those new to travel as their senses are inundated with new sounds, smells and sights. I find the architecture here exciting, but I also love the interesting and chameleon-like graffiti that I have seen around the city. Space invader tile work, clever stencils and wild colours prevail. We have only been here a couple of days, but my favourite sight so far has been the stalactites growing from the ceiling at Jaurès metro station.
|Discovering street art in Paris has been one of Sam's favourite passtimes|
Give us some insight into your assigned art work from for the Orsay Museum. After seeing the work in person, what struck you most about it and/or how did the art work’s form, content, and context shift for you when seeing it?
|Lautrec, La clownesse Cha-U-Kao (1895)|
La clownesse Cha-U-Kao (1895) by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was my assigned image for this term. The painting became larger than life in my mind as I meditated on its meaning, on the artist’s experiences, used it for inspiration in my own work, and wrote papers about it. I entered the museum without a map and let my senses guide me. Immediately separated from the group, I took the path of least people. I stumbled upon the Lautrec exhibit shortly after and was pulled in. A dimly lit room, with dark walls and low ceilings house the Orsay’s impressive collection of Lautrec’s work. The write up near the door describes Lautrec’s brush as caustic. I found my painting off in a corner, juxtaposed with an enormous family portrait: a strange combination. I watched while lines of people paused for the obligatory 3 second blurb on their rental headsets before finding myself a suitable gap to move in for a closer look. Pushing my face as close as I could without touching the glass covered card, I saw the spaces between. Lautrec’s brush strokes were indeed caustic, frantic, and provocative. He was a man with an insatiable fire to create; I could feel both his passion, and his release in this work.
Today’s activity was also at the Orsay Museum. What were your impressions? What will be your take away of the experience? Any memorable moments?
|Interior shot of the Orsay Museum|
|Clockwise from left: Andres, Rosaura, Sam, Charis, Courtney, Wei, Tessa|
|Sam spotted this gem just outside the Orsay.|