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Senior Kara Henry (Sandy Hook, Conn.), a double major in history and art, is working with an internationally known abstract painter to create canvas panels of layered digital art.

Through a senior honors thesis guided by Ed Kerns, Eugene H. Clapp ’36 Professor of Art, Henry is creating two-by-seven-foot canvas panels. She spent much of the summer manipulating and layering these digital images and turning them into works of art.

This semester, Henry is also interning with Kerns, serving as liaison between the artist and visitors who come to Lafayette to learn about his techniques.

Kerns has mounted more than 30 one-person shows in galleries in New York, Philadelphia, and elsewhere, including three shows in the 1990s at M-13 Gallery, New York. He has also participated in more than 150 group exhibitions in the United States, Paris, Italy, Switzerland, and Mexico. His work is in numerous public and corporate collections, including those of the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Citicorp Collection; New York, N.Y.; Bass Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, Fla.; Chase Manhattan Bank Collection, New York, N.Y.; and Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas.

“I love the contact I get with the visiting artists and professors,” says Henry, explaining that she learns from talking to the professionals about their work. “The connections are a big help.”

This semester, Henry is experimenting with printing digital images on a variety of Japanese papers made from silk and other fabrics.

“The paper is beautiful,” Henry says. “It becomes a layer in itself.”

Kerns says he chose Henry as an intern because of her knowledge of Lafayette’s Williams Visual Arts Building and the experience she garnered this summer working on the canvas panels.

“She was a natural choice,” he says. “She’s proved she could do it.”

Henry says her honors project, currently in “the experimental stage,” will focus on both computer-generated layers and physical layers of paper, paint, and photographs.

“I’ll print an image out and paint back into it,” she says. “For some, I’ll print each layer on transparency paper and layer them physically. The layers will connect with each other both spatially and in composition.”

Henry says that because she learned over the summer to manipulate and layer the images in Adobe Photoshop, and to print them on a giant, high-end Epson printer, she’ll be able to focus on the artistic aspects of her work more fully this year.

“The computer has opened so many doors,” she says. “In a way, it’s almost a curse, because I have 100 more options. It’s amazing how quickly I can create different images.”

Henry, who took a photography class when she studied in Florence, Italy, last spring, says she’s already using some of the black-and-white photos of human figures she took for the class and plans to use friends as models for some new photographs.

“I can make them whatever hue I want,” she says, explaining that she’s experimenting with tinting the photos in Photoshop, printing them, then painting on them using the same color.

“I’m combining graphic arts, photography, and painting,” she says. “I’m doing a little bit of everything.”

Henry says that Kerns has taught her a great deal, as have Lew Minter, director of the art department’s media lab, and Jim Toia, director of the community arts program at the Williams Visual Arts Building. She adds that each art class she’s taken has helped her approach her work with greater depth.

“With every class, I come away with so much more knowledge,” she says. “So much of it is embedded into my subconscious.”

Henry, who hopes to work as a graphic designer in advertising after graduation, is a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority.

Categorized in: Academic News