Playing Favorites: Katy Thompson & Nicola Simbari

We’ve asked FWMoA staff the hardest question you can ask art museum people: so, what is your favorite artwork currently on display? As “art museum people”, we often get asked about our favorite artists, artworks, and the art we choose to hang on our own walls. Since not all of our staff are front-end, and not all of them write for the blog, this series gives everyone a chance to get to know them, too. Taking advantage of our rotating exhibitions of artworks, from painted portraits to sculpted bronzes, FWMoA staff from all departments are choosing artworks that enthrall and enchant them; or, in other words, playing favorites.

Katy Thompson, FWMoA Associate Director of Education. Photo courtesy of FWMoA.

Katy Thompson moved to Fort Wayne to accept a position at FWMoA five years ago. Her current favorite? Garden by Nicola Simbari, currently on display in Lush and Lavish: Blooms in Art.

Bright, yellow flowers in a field of green and blue grasses and plants.
Nicola Simbari, Italian, 1927-2012. Garden. Oil on canvas, 1966. Gift of the William Wadsworth Findlay Memorial, 1970.02. Image courtesy of FWMoA.

Q: What is the first thing you noticed about this artwork? What drew you to this particular piece?

A: The first thing I noticed was the brightness of the flowers. Daisies, maybe? Against the darker blues and greens of water and grasses the yellow spots really pop! The hints of pink add to a brighter landscape, and it feels as if the flora is crowding into my space. Next, as I walked closer, I noticed the texture. The thick spots and blobs of paint lend an abstracted feel to an otherwise realistic landscape. It makes you want to reach out and touch (though we hope you don’t!).

Q: Would you hang this artwork in your home? Why or why not?

A: Absolutely! The bright colors would remind me of summer and light in the long, cold winter months of northern Indiana. Every time I look at it I see different lines and movement of the brush, thanks to the thickness of the paint. I could look at this forever and always see something new! Plus, it’s a good size to hang on an apartment wall.

Q: What does this artwork mean to you?

A: I love that this field could exist anywhere, so it brings up memories of long summer days as a child and summers spent in other states and countries as an adult. I love the messiness from the texture and aggressive brushstrokes, as if the artist was furtively trying to capture an instant moment in the field.

It makes me wonder if the artist captured their own backyard or a field near them, or if this is an imaginary field pulled from their mind. Either way, it makes me happy and nostalgic and reminds me why I love summer so much–the blooming, colorful fields of flowers!

Q: Why did you choose to work at an art museum?

A: I grew up going to the St. Louis Art Museum with my mom and sister and loved it. I was also fascinated by the faces of people who no longer lived. I have a history degree and had previously interned at a history museums, but when the job application for an art museum popped up on a Facebook group I’m in, I went for it!

Q: What has been your favorite exhibition at FWMoA during your employment? What exhibition are you most looking forward to in the next year or two?

A: When I first started there was an exhibit of our Amish quilt collection that I loved! My favorite exhibit to lead tours through was Peter Bremer’s glass exhibit entitled Seven Bodies and Kirsty Mitchell’s Wonderland.

I’m most looking forward to The National, a juried photography show, this fall.

Q: What kind of art do you have in your home?

A: I have mostly prints from local artists in Fort Wayne and my home city, St. Louis. I also like purchasing prints from places I visit, but I still need to frame the ones I’ve bought this year!

Lush and Lavish is on display through August 28, 2022.

One Reply to “Playing Favorites: Katy Thompson & Nicola Simbari”

  1. I love this painting..I really like the close up of the brush strokes.You can see how deep and rich the are. I truly would hang it in my home..can’t glad for the museum..We can see it.

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