John Rhett, professor of art and chair of the art department at Houghton College since 1995, exhibited 33 oil and watercolor paintings at the Daughtrey Gallery at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Mich. At the opening reception and gallery talk, John shared his inspiration for his works, a collection of rural Midwestern landscapes. In subsequent days, Rhett spoke to students in art classes about the concept of transformation with regard to seeing the natural world.
Rhett’s works reflect the way he sees the world. “I see humble, drive-by places maybe in a different way and hope something about the images may help convey that,” he says.
In a graphic design class at Hillsdale, he spoke with students individually as they worked on an assignment—designing a logo for a fictional company. “I spoke about learning to see and push through setbacks,” he said. He also contributed feedback on students’ blind contour drawings and sat in on an American art history course on the topic of Southwest American Indian art.
Professor Rhett teaches at least six core art classes at Houghton and has exhibited his works widely at Houghton and other colleges. “It is encouraging to be affirmed in one’s work among a group of peers,” he says. “I have benefitted from fresh perspectives and interpretations from the faculty and students at other schools.”
He also enjoys seeing what other students in other Christian colleges are creating. “It is always interesting to compare the work of our students with what is going on in other art departments. We compare very favorably, by the way,” he notes. He says showing his work and sharing ideas has been important to his growth and development as an artist and teacher.