Laurie Fendrich, professor emerita of Fine Arts, Design, Art History, has been named a recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. A total of 175 fellowships have been awarded this year to 178 individuals in various fields. Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for men and women who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.
Professor Fendrich is an abstract painter who has had several solo exhibitions, both nationally and in New York. In 2010, her paintings and drawings were the subject of a 20 year retrospective at the Ruth Chandler Williamson Art Gallery at Scripps College in Claremont, CA, which traveled to the Montana Art Museum.
When asked what receiving the Guggenheim means at this point in her career, Professor Fendrich says, “For me, the life of a painter means not many people understand the significance of what you do, and you don’t get a lot of outside validation for your work. Hofstra and teaching gave me that validation. But now that I am no longer teaching full time, this recognition from the Guggenheim Foundation gives me tremendous satisfaction. And the financial award will allow me to hire – for the first time – a studio assistant, which will free up more time for me to paint, which is one of the reasons why I took early retirement from Hofstra.”
Although Professor Fendrich retired from full-time teaching in 2014, this is the first semester since retiring that she is not in the classroom. After retiring, she taught a Hofstra University Honors College seminar, was a visiting artist at the Pratt Institute, and spent last fall as a visiting artist at the San Francisco Art Institute.
“I love teaching. Not merely are the students stimulating, teaching painting requires articulating such things as knowledge about color, light and space that painters don’t ordinarily take the time to put into words. For the painter who likes teaching, being in the classroom is an intense time of learning.”
“But when you’re teaching, it’s all consuming. You wake up and you’re thinking about your students and your classes. For the first time, it’s now all about my work and my studio. I’m feeling very vigorous, very lucky. I feel an urgency to use this stage of my life really well.”
Professor Fendrich is pleased that another full-time painter, Jim Lee, has been brought onto the fine arts faculty to replace her, and that she was part of the hiring process. “My integration with Hofstra continues. And I feel the door is open if the time is right, and there is an opportunity for me to come back and teach another Honors College seminar. I’m still very involved with several of my ex-students who have graduated – meeting them for coffee and helping them make connections for jobs. When the announcement for the Guggenheim came, I heard from so many of my former students. I feel strongly that a big part of life is about paving the way for younger people.”
Professor Fendrich’s next solo exhibition opens September 8, 2016, at Louis Stern Fine Arts in Los Angeles.