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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

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April 15, 2024
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Artist of the week: Maddy Turner

Artist of the week: Maddy Turner

Maddy Turner, “You Should Smile More”, 2021, oil on canvas

Maddy Turner, “You Should Smile More”, 2021, oil on canvas

A woman sits unsmiling in a restaurant booth. Next to her, a blue woman with the same features leans on the table, where an empty plate and mug sit, forgotten. In the corner, a faint outline of a woman sits on the floor, head in her hands.

This is one of artist Maddy Turner’s paintings. Turner is a 2021 Knox College graduate who majored in studio art and minored in art history. She is currently participating in the post-baccalaureate program at Knox.

“The post-bac was a perfect option for me, because I want to go to grad school for my Masters in fine arts, but I feel like I wanted more experience with teaching,” she said. “I’m using the post-bac to really get more teaching experience, like being a teaching assistant.”

As well as being a teaching assistant, Turner helps out around Whitcomb Art Center (WAC) and with the set up and tear down of art shows. She says she’s always loved art, but lost it in high school until her senior year when she grew interested in teaching art at the collegiate level.

“I’m actually really interested in [teaching] the base classes like Painting I, Painting II,” she said. “In the beginning of painting, sometimes in the base classes people aren’t really interested in the arts. They’re not going to Knox for a studio art degree, but I just want to be a well-rounded teacher.”

Turner spent two years at Carl Sandburg College getting her associates degree before transferring to Knox.

“I was just looking for somewhere to transfer to, and I toured WAC and just fell in love with it. I was like ‘oh my gosh, I need to go here’ […]. I had an interview with Lynette Lombard and I just loved her personality. The building and everyone I met on the way just made me want to go here even more,” she recalled.

In the shift in teaching style from Carl Sandburg to Knox, Turner says she felt lost. As a teacher, she wants to be a good middle ground, to help students navigate the shift from previous schools to Knox. Despite her initial struggle, Turner says she’s loved Knox.

“I’ve been so happy with my time here. I just feel like this major, the studio art major, is really challenging in a really great way. The professors really push you to challenge yourself and challenge each other, and we’ve created this really amazing community within the studio art major. I know, for me, I’ve never really had a solid community like that, so when I came to Knox, that was such a great experience to have.”

Turner has now participated in four group art shows as a part of Knox, as well as two solo shows in the Galesburg Civic Art Center, and six group shows in Galesburg and surrounding communities.

Although she does collage art on smaller scales, Turner prefers oil paint as her medium. “Oil paint just has this weird viscosity to it that I really love, and the luminance of the colors are so beautiful. I just find that I can’t replicate it in any other medium. For my artwork, the palette is really important,” Turner said.

Turner’s recent artwork focuses on the woman’s experience, both in general and hers specifically. “My work really looks at the cultural construction of female identity and the nature of representation with being a woman from my personal experiences. I am very interested in how the group consciousness of femininity continues to change over time. But generational expectations remain, and how I fit within these expectations [interests me],” she explained.

Turner has not always made art in this theme. “I actually found this direction in my junior year here. It was after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, is when it really lit a flame in me. I was like, ‘oh my gosh, I need to make artwork about being a woman and a woman’s experience’ […]. That just paved my path for me,” she said. “I have a lot that I’m trying to navigate in my work with my own experience, with trauma and stuff like that. I feel like putting mine out there just gives someone else a way to see it and feel not alone.”

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About the Contributor
Jenna Schweikert
Jenna Schweikert, EIC-In-Training
Jenna Schweikert '25 (she/they) is a journalism and political science double major. They are the Editor-In-Chief In-Training for The Knox Student. In her free time, she enjoys dancing in her room to Taylor Swift records. You can most often find Jenna writing in the Gizmo or attending Terp rehearsals in CFA. Awards: Illinois College Press Association 2024
  • 3rd Place Column
Theodore Hazen Kimbale Memorial Award in Journalism - Feature article, 2022

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    Mikey AOct 29, 2021 at 7:14 pm

    As the husband of an Emmycorn-y artist, I can easily say AMAZING WORK, Maddy!

    Reply