The Bellefonte Art Museum: Veronique Foti

Posted on October 27, 2012 

One of the more than 60 artists listed in the Bellefonte Art Museum’s registry is Veronique Foti, a professor of philosophy at Penn State. Here is her statement:

I studied art in Switzerland, at the Kunstgewerbeschule (school of applied arts) in Zurich, before coming to this country. My artistic training was quite classical: life drawing, scientific illustration, and the like (but it was also rich and inspiring).

Upon coming to the United States, I eventually went back to school to earn a B.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy, as well as an M.S. in library science, while coping with the task of caring for a family at a time when women had no basic support, such as child care or maternity leave. Surviving and succeeding in academe—and in particular in professional philosophy—is not an easy task, and so for years I couldn’t do art; I just did writing and teaching.

The lack was always there, no matter how I tried to fill it by aesthetic pursuits, such as growing exquisite tropical and subtropical plants in environments that made this a challenge. I finally decided I had to go back to art or I couldn’t live; and since then, I have tried to keep art alive in the marginal spaces I can give to it, no matter what. It means I haven’t got time for “life”; art is my essential life.

I have moved to what I think is my true modality, which is non-representational painting that is much more intimate in scale than, say, the abstract expressionist version thereof  (which requires the studio space I don’t have anyway). But in addition to that, I also remain true to my foundational training by doing drawing and painting from nature—mostly botanical, given that I don’t have zoos, aquariums, or life drawing available. I love to draw, passionately so.

Even in my abstract work, I want to convey something of what I loosely call sacredness, in one of its contemporary modalities, and much more so in my work from nature. My work calls for a contemplative rather than busy environment to make it possible for it to be appreciated. Hence, I have never tried for the “arts fest” type of venue.

The Bellefonte Art Museum celebrates the human spirit through the arts, recognizing the importance of art in our lives. In 2011, the museum experienced a large increase in attendance, private donations and membership and completed refurbishing the historic Linn House.  The museum opened three new galleries: the Children’s Creativity Center, the Anna Wagner Keichline Gallery and the new Louise Bloom Sieg Gallery. The museum is opened Friday through Sunday from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Phone 814.355.4280.  

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