Jennifer Toth received her B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Studio Art from Smith College in 1994, and her M.F.A. in Painting from Yale School of Art in 1998. Additionally, she studied for two years at The New York Studio School, and for two summers at Chautauqua Art Institute.
She feels lucky to have studied with (among many other wise teachers): William Bailey, Martha Armstrong, Catherine Murphy, Graham Nickson, Joe Santore, and Stanley Lewis.
Before arriving at Wagner in 2000, Jennifer Toth held teaching positions at Smith College and S.U.N.Y. Potsdam.
She shows regularly at Blue Mountain Gallery in Chelsea, and has also shown at Paul Rodgers 9W, Farleigh Dickinson University, Brooklyn College Art Gallery, Holland Tunnel Gallery, and various other venues around New York City.
I want to paint concretely about my own life. I have consistently worked from observation. Kind of like fantastical memoirs, my paintings often include self-portraits or themes from my own life. I paint with imagination but not from my imagination; my paintings are all done entirely from set-ups and models or drawings from life. But I put elements together not usually seen in the real world, for example I might paint my dog’s head onto my body, or place a fish’s tail onto a torso. I love the translation from life to a 2D surface that occurs when I struggle to capture what I’m seeing, but I don’t like having any limitations on what I can paint. If I want to paint a mermaid, I buy a fish; if I want to paint a tiger-woman I travel to a tiger sanctuary.
Teaching philosophy (in a liberal arts college):
I believe all art students benefit from wide-ranging studies in other disciplines. Having attended a liberal-arts college myself, and now having taught art as part of a liberal-arts curriculum for six years, I am aware how such an education helps a developing artist understand the world in a broader, richer and ultimately more complex way. Fields like psychology, history, literature--indeed, virtually any academic subject--provide insights and knowledge that students of art can use to inspire and inform their work. The contributions of liberal-arts studies are often subtle, difficult to quantify, but influential for a lifetime.
Conversely, art classes fill an important role at a liberal arts school by teaching students a language of visual perception that can transform the way one perceives both inner and outer worlds. Studying art not only changes and enhances a student's visual experiences but can also hone his or her ability to solve problems creatively. Practicing art should also lead eventually to an increased sense of individual identity.