This academic year, the Addison education department has been fortunate to host three Phillips Academy students as they complete their Work Duty assignments. This past term, we asked the students to choose a work of art from the Addison’s permanent collection and to reflect on its personal and academic significance to the student. This is Part 2 of senior Lauren Kim's reflection on Thomas Worthington Whittredge's Home by the Sea. Part 1 was posted last week.
Just beyond the homestead in the painting, there’s a bank of trees, which opens up to wide, free-spirited plains. The expansive land is similar to a blank canvas in the way that both spaces are open for creation or imagination to fill them—I feel a connection to these open spaces because they represent the expansion of my own horizons—the life that I’ve already experienced and also what’s to come. The homestead in the foreground comes off as more cozy and tight-knit than the distant land and water. Meanwhile, the land and water are free, boundless, and they hint at the idea of what lies outside the framed perspective of the canvas and the familiarity of home. I feel that the small farm identifies with my house, a place whose bounds I’ve grown up within, and the expansive pasture is a natural representation of experiencing the world for the first time: traveling to different countries, maturing intellectually and personality-wise, learning through personal struggle and victories. Whittredge is able to connect the different tiers of environment seamlessly by painting intricate, careful, and specific strokes and using a palette of soft, natural colors. The plains, the sea, and the sky fade from one to the next in a way that emanates a calming and comforting harmony.
|Thomas Worthington Whittredge, Home by the Sea, 1872|
When I arrived at Andover as a 14 year-old, wide-eyed freshman, my past experiences leading up to that moment had been within the bounds of all things related to home. Now that I’ve been at Andover for almost four years, I’ve been able to develop this deeper sense of home, not limited by physical boundaries, and the underlying meanings a simple word like that could have for an individual. I think that in many ways, Andover has become a new home for me. Through countless meals in the cafeteria around the grey table with friends who I see and spend time with everyday, early mornings during Winter term shoveling paths outside Johnson Hall, and the enriched discussions that saturate the atmosphere in Bullfinch Hall as fully as my mind. So many aspects of Andover will be cherished after I leave, both the bad and the good times. Through reflecting on this painting, I’ve realized that you can’t experience something twice, or that sometimes you don’t truly know how significant something is to you until you don’t have it anymore. Of course, I haven’t lost my home; when I go back to Bannockburn during school breaks, everything often feels the same as the last time I was there, and yes, my parents, my friends, my room are still there. However, being away at Andover and stretching and growing through the challenging, fast-paced atmosphere at Phillips Academy has highlighted the true invaluable and irreplaceable quality of home.
--Lauren Kim, Phillips Academy Class of 2013