Nemett to discuss role of traveling in his work

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Barry Nemett will speak during the last VACI lecture of the season at 7 p.m. tonight in the Hultquist Center. Nemett will explain the role his travels have played in his artistic career.

Painter Barry Nemett has traveled to Italy, Spain, France and China and has painted the scenery and landscapes of all those countries.

“I’ve enjoyed every place I’ve ever visited and get something different out of every place,” he said.

Nemett will discuss the role his travels have played in his work during the last VACI lecture of the season at 7 p.m. today in the Hultquist Center.

Nemett has traveled to and lived in Italy on multiple occasions, and due to the sheer amount of time he has spent there, it ranks among his favorite countries to visit.

“I go there the most, and keep returning to a certain town in Umbria, Italy,” he said. “I’ve gotten to know the place and, of course, the people who inhabit the place.”

Among his Italy paintings are scenes of the Umbrian countryside and of the Tiber River.

Nemett has also written a novel called Crooked Tracks, a “sort of coming of age story” of a boy where art plays a role. The publisher included 20 color reproductions of famous paintings by the Old Masters and 20th century artists like Edward Hopper in the book, he said.

“The main character writes these poems about the subject matter that’s apparent in the imagery,” he said. “They help move the narrative along.”

Nemett paints, draws, writes and creates installations, but said he doesn’t have a concrete reason on why he moves across media.

“I think one art form seems to allow me to communicate ideas or investigate a particular thought,” he said.

Nemett has taught for 43 years and is the chair of the painting department at the Maryland Institute College of Art. While some artists dislike teaching because of the time it takes away from their studio processes, Nemett said he has found that his teaching has only enriched his work.

“I’m one who does not feel that teaching compromises an artist’s work,” he said.

While it does take time away from his studio practice, Nemett believes that teaching helps him express his ideas that may have remained “ephemeral or ambiguous” without discussion, he said.

“When you have to articulate something to a student or a class of students that helps clarify those thoughts,” he said.

Over the past 40 years, Nemett has not been “burnt out” by or tired with teaching.

“It’s really invigorating for me,” he said. “I’m not in it for the money, I’m doing it because it feeds my soul and it feeds my studio process.”