Christina Renfer Vogel
Christina Renfer Vogel
Christina Renfer Vogel holds an MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and a BFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University. She currently serves as an associate professor of painting and drawing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Vogel has been an artist-in-residence with the JSS in Civita program (Civita Castellana, Italy), Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts (Rabun Gap, GA), the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (Amherst, VA), the Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT) and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts (Nebraska City, NE). She is a recipient of a Lighton International Artists Exchange Program grant and an Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grant, among other awards.
I pursue interaction and perception from my role as observer, occupied by the unremarkable and the relationships that exist within our everyday exchanges. My interests lie in what painter and writer Mira Schor has identified as “modest painting,” what she describes as “the small, unimportant, the anonymous, the private and personal.” Reflecting direct encounters, I work from still life, portraiture, and landscape, the pillars of perceptual painting. Drawing from the quotidian and familiar, I navigate the space between seeing and describing, interpretation and invention.
These intimate paintings of verdant landscapes and lean interiors were made on site, an anachronistic way of working in our contemporary time. I have become something of a reluctant plein air painter. I hope to sidestep the romance and conventions wrapped up in landscape painting, but at the same time, I embrace the genre’s deep historical roots. Through this work, I grapple with the problem of squaring my occupation with the mundane against the idea of the heroic landscape, and I seek to strike a balance between complex spectacular terrains and humble interiors.
Working this way feels deeply connected to the act of painting, experiential in the purest of terms, and I find the challenge of chasing the light and the pressing need to respond to a shifting situation to be invigorating. I have aimed to hold onto that energy and bring that sense of urgency to inform my ongoing work in the studio. I have come to value the experience of getting to know a place through painting it. I am struck by how distinct sites can be so different and share so much, how places near and far can be both surprising and familiar.