Macalester art professor Chris Willcox’s marked a new career highlight this year: her first exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, a popular museum 20 minutes away from campus.
Her collection of paintings, part of an exhibit she named 90º South, was inspired by the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration and the collection of journals and black and white photographs that document the quest to discover the South Pole in the early 20th century.
Willcox began to explore that topic in depth last spring, and although she says the project came together relatively quickly compared to previous work, it required more research as she delved into the journals and photograph archives. She completed most of the paintings by summer 2011, and the exhibit opened in January 2012 and ran through March as part of the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program.
Willcox, who teaches painting at Macalester, says balancing teaching with her own art enhances both parts of her career. “I feel more authentic as a teacher when I’m engaged with my own work,” she says. “It makes my own practice fresh and current, and students respond to that.”