Embodiment of prayer, alignments of healing
Clay Kanzler ’79

  Clay Kanzler ’79


Ever since he was a teenager and his mother hired a private art tutor for him, Clay Kanzler has been drawing and painting. His formal studies include schooling at Hotchkiss, work at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, and his degree in art from Trinity. Although he lives among the often-painted hills of Vermont, Kanzler avoids the simply picturesque in favor of work that is drawn from his personal life. Family history, family photo albums, his extensive travels, and his ongoing reflection on landmark figures in art history all are dominant themes in his paintings, which, taken together, form a sort of autobiography of the artist. Often, the imagery is augmented by text drawn from scriptural quotes or from Kanzler’s dreams and memories.

The paintings frequently combine many layers of semi-transparent images that allow the viewer to see through a number of levels of family interactions and a variety of locales, all in one piece. The resulting works evoke the familiar, and yet surreal, double exposures of the family snapshot, where unexpected juxtapositions can summon up unexpected emotions.

Looking forward, Kanzler hopes the work will move in the direction of “the magical, the mystical,” and that it will become “the embodiment of prayer, alignments of healing, depictions of God’s beauty.”

Regarding his time at Trinity, he says, “I was so blessed to have found Trinity . . . it was a wonderful place to grow as an artist.” He acknowledges faculty members Bob Cole, Steve Wood, and especially his mentor, George Chaplin, as having a powerful effect on his growth. He also credits the College’s liberal arts environment: “There were so many different types of people on such different paths, which created a more interesting environment in which to grow as an artist and as a person.”

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