August 1, 2018 – August 31, 2018 “Submerged”
As we approach the end of summer and all those memorable sunlit vacations, Sacrosanct Gallery is overjoyed with the number of submissions of high-quality entries during a time when most are trying to think about anything other than work. But that’s the thing about art, love, and life, we are submerged (or contained by external forces) whether or not we want to be. The collection of works we’ve gathered for our “Submerged” art exhibition is eclectic as a whole and points to the state of being completely covered or obscured as we make our way through the remainder of 2018.
For this show, Sacrosanct’s curator adopted a view toward the whole being greater than the parts of the sum. At Sacrosanct, we continuously look at emerging trends, commonalities, and disparities in contemporary artworks within themes of the sacred. We often try to draw a common thread in understanding just where the art is headed. For this widely interpreted August theme, doing so proved difficult at best. We believe all of us are also submerged in changing times, amorphous voices, and interpretations that may exist only momentarily. It points to the courage our artists have demonstrated in offering their works, and more so to the value of work that transcends time, such as can be seen with our showcasing of Wayne Urffer’s What Have You Done.
Please join me in congratulating Wayne and more than 20 of his esteemed colleagues (some showing with Sacrosanct for the second or third time), along with the first Canadian to ever be exhibited. Each are unique in their own skillful grappling in staying (and keeping us) afloat: Sherri Silverman; John Robertson; Chris Dale; Claire Jeanine Satin; Thomas Murray; Chas Martin; Linda McCray; Alfred Eaker; Joni Lynn Tomasetti; Jason John; Keith Fields; Vincent Hawley; Bilhenry Walker; Brian Donahue; Robert Eustace; Crystal Turk; Jessica Ruta; Samuel Gillis; George Lorio; R. Scott Anderson; Marlene Burns; and Robyn Ellenbogen.
Chris Dale, Feet First (2017), latex on hardboard, 24″ x 38″, Toronto, Canada. Web – artchrisdale.com Chris Dale’s oeuvre is titled, ‘In The Shadow Of Metaphor’. The metaphor is how images are understood. They are malleable, therefore meaning is easily manipulated. Meaning changes but this differs from where love is what you feel for a new car or anger is when your sports team loses the game. This metaphorical confusion has spilled over to art. Dale’s work attempts to take images out of the momentary of assigned meaning. To re-focus on the moment before consciousness, where the viewer creates for themselves something new. Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).
- John M. Robertson, M.D., Regina Agnello (2007, 2012), mixed media assemblage with paper, toner, acrylic, compass, maps, crown molding, brass escutcheon, LED, microscope lens, typeset, 24.5″ x 27.5″, Houston, Texas. Web – jr2studio.com Instagram @drjohnr Regina Agnello is Robertson’s interpretation of the Parable of the Lost Sheep contained in the Gospel of Luke 15:4-6
The piece is basically a search for a single, lost sheep. The color red takes the viewer through the journey. The search begins with a population density graph of the world, focusing in on the United States. A population density map of the United States then centers the viewer to the state of Florida. A highway map and census data then point toward the city of Key West. A city tourist map leads to the specific pier upon which sits the “lost sheep,” a lone woman sitting on a pier.
- Underneath the photo is a piece of from an old hymnal called “I Love Thee” from an anonymous songwriter, published in 1805, revealing the reason for the search, “I love thee, I love thee, I love thee.” A name plate towards the bottom of the piece bears her name torn from a phone book, “Regina Agnello”. Translated, “Queen of the Lambs”. On the photo is painted her crown. She represents us. Robertson is a pediatric pulmonologist practicing in Houston, Texas. Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).
Sherri Silverman, Undersea Lotus (2011), pastels and pencil on paper, 7″ x 9 3/8″, Ross, California, Web – sherrisilverman.com Instagram – @sherrisilverman Sherri Silverman is mainly self-taught as a studio artist and has a PhD in Creativity, the Arts, and the Sacred & Application of Asian Concepts. In 1998, Silverman’s work was presented to the New Mexico Capitol Art Collection board by a board member and the curator. Out of thirteen potential artists, Sherri’s work was accepted by a unanimous vote of the board. The curator then pointed to the first of five pieces she had selected for possible inclusion, and again all the hands went up. Matthew #15 was installed in a silver-leaf frame with a silk mat and placed on permanent display outside the Senate chambers, where it is hopefully enlightening New Mexico legislators.
When it comes to recognizable imagery, flowers and plants seem to prevail. Their ideograms are Silverman’s favorite Chinese calligraphy exercises. In his book Hindu Iconography, sculptor/architect Ganapati Sthapati advocates not copying directly but capturing “their intangible qualities and significance…the essence of the forms rather than direct copies of their natural shapes…observed, understood, well-savored, and the response of the artist.” How very Taoist! Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).
Claire Jeanine Satin, L’Aqua D’Venezia (2016), one of a series of five, Artist’s images transferred to Lexan; “embroidered” with crystals, garnets. handblown glass; monofilament, 10″h x 16″w, Dania Beach, Florida. Web – satinartworks.com Instagram – @clairesatin Claire Satin’s piece explores visual submersions, cleansing, releasing negatives, revealing the good, beautiful, and spiritual. Satin holds a BA at Sarah Lawrence College and a MFA in Sculpture from Pratt Institute. Satin taught art for several years at high schools in New York City before moving to Florida. In the late 70s, while teaching in the Art Department at Broward Community College (now Broward College), she met the composer John Cage. She became a follower of Cage’s theories and his concepts of indeterminacy. In subsequent years, Satin’s work has been largely devoted to the concept of chance and indeterminacy, allowing this idea to take precedence over other pursuits of art-making in book works and related objects. To date, she has created over 100 book works. Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).
Chas Martin, Night Passage (2016), watercolor on 140lb cold press paper, 14″ x 20″, Portland, Oregon. Web – chasmartin.com Instagram – @chasmartinart Chas Martin has previously exhibited with Sacrosanct Gallery with sculptures and watercolors. This gallerist also recently wrote a review on Martin’s rising profile and success, attributed to work, work, and yet more work. Martin is a forward-thinking sculptor who is embracing non-traditional and non-mainstream materials to effect the intangibly ethereal. He writes, “Submerged might mean under water. It might mean in thought, in light, in love, in dreams. I am constantly aware of my other spirit. It is not bound by gravity, the past, or the future. It simply exists in timeless space, submerged in wonder.” Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).
Bilhenry Walker, Homeboys Flying Dying (2016), aluminum plate, 12″ x 22″ x 1″, Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Web – bilhenrygallery.com Instagram @bilhenrygalleryllc In a reality you cannot imagine unless you are living it, Bilhenry Walker brings us to the social issues of race and violence. Each sculpture has a story behind it involving death and tragedy and all came from Walker’s neighborhood in urban Milwaukee. Walker is focused on the topic of urban hopelessness among an unemployed male population and the grief and fear that pervades a community with every senseless killing. He has taken the point of view of remembering the “throw away kids” who died and reminding the suburban community that those lives were important even though they aren’t remembered anywhere.
Homeboys Flying Dying Tableau is an homage to the specific urban youth in Milwaukee who are dying in stolen car crashes throughout the city. This involves kids as young as 13 who have generally dropped out of school and opted for living in the fast lanes of our cities streets when no other options seem viable. Walker’s neighbor’s son revealed that six of his friends have already died in auto crashes; one died behind Walker’s studio on January 23, 2016. R.I.P. little DeAnthony, you just wanted the big boys to like you. Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).
July 1, 2018 – July 31, 2018 “Reliquary”
Sacrosanct Gallery‘s July 2018 theme reliquary was inspired by a wooden object fashioned to hold the arm of Saint Saens, an Irish-French saint of a sublime obscurity. In John Updike’s, “Just Looking” he writes,
“A reliquary enwraps the withered, desiccated, invisible actual within an aesthetic creation. We feel slightly squeamish, as whenever the boundary between art and reality is unsteady – for other instance, Faberge eggs, trompe l’oeil paintings, and George Segal sculptures. In a reliquary, form and content have a relationship that inverts that of traditional sculpture, whose content is brute stone or wood or metal, and whose form bestows meaning and life.”
We searched for pieces that depict relationship and dialogue between an exterior and an interior, and are pleased to bring you exceptional works from artists Sheryl Cozad; Sarah Rehfeldt; Claire Jeanine Satin; Laurie Maves; Jeanne Tremel; Josie Gearhart; Kenna Rentmeester; Robert Eustace; Brian Donahue; and Sammy Leon. We hope you will enjoy these insightful pieces of sacred art from contemporary artists in America. Inquiries to Shauna Lee Lange, Sacrosanct Gallery, 941.875.5190.
June 1, 2018 – June 30, 2018 – “Grotto”
We are thrilled to share our exhibition of artworks on the theme of “Grotto”. In originally thinking about small, picturesque caves or gardens in remote locations, we were surprised and delighted this month to see artworks that expanded our interpretation of the word. Vertical and linear approaches lined up with themes of depth and light.In the late 15th century, Romans accidentally unearthed Nero‘s Domus Aurea on the Palatine Hill, a series of rooms, decorated with designs of garlands, slender architectural framework, foliage, and animals. The rooms had sunk underground over time. The Romans who discovered this historical monument found it very strange, partly because it was uncovered from an “underworld” source. This led the Romans giving it the name grottesca, from which came the French grotesque. And while some interpretations of the works below may have elements of darkness, we hope you’ll join with us in celebrating the light-seeking accomplishments of Claire Jeanine Satin, Laura Trisiano, Chas Martin, Sherri Silverman, Eddie Steffani, Jonathan Mandell, and Linda McCray.
April 16, 2018 – June 1, 2018 – “Micromosaics”
We take a nod to our sometimes disconnected physical world by examining sacred works in the theme, “Micromosaic”. The inspiration primarily originates from the mosaics found in early Christian and Byzantine churches. Many of their pieces incorporated Greek or Latin inscriptions. Micromosaic speaks to works that are laboriously and painstakingly rendered in any media. In this exhibition, we were after the spirit of the handiwork, the image, and the final production in examining contemporary and visionary artists trying to assemble a whole from a sum of parts.
Curator’s Note: In Micromosaic we are exhibiting four American artists with works deserving a second-look or at minimum, a look with fresh eyes. Many submissions for this call simply did not fall within a broad interpretation of the theme, or were rendered either casually or contemporaneously, or artists were slow in response. Sacrosanct Gallery continues to search for artists with original voices, unique interpretations, and demonstrated commitment. The mosaic of our lives demands it, as does our relationships with artists and patrons alike.
Christine Hausserman is an abstract mixed media glass artist currently living and working in San Diego, California. She combines the luminescent and vibrant effects of fused dichroic glass with the tactile properties of acrylic paint in earth tones. What characterizes her art is the unique way in which she explores contrasts in color, light and texture.
Christine’s complex process involves adding and removing many layers of paint on the glass using an impasto technique to achieve a myriad of reflective qualities. The viewer’s perspective continuously evolves with the ever-changing quality of light, time of day, and the position of the viewer. The multi-faceted visual effects are mesmerizing.
She creates her works of art in a variety of sizes and proportions and mounts them on wood and aluminum. They reveal a dynamic contrast between organic and technological characteristics. Her circular compositions signify unity and the balance of masculine and feminine counterparts.
The artist’s creative innovation has attracted many different private and public collectors that include the USC Medical Building on the USC campus in the Los Angles area. She has received awards in many juried art shows that include Best of Show, North Park Festival of the Arts and two Second Place awards in Glass at Indian Wells Art Festival. She has also exhibited at the Beverly Hills Art Show. Her art has been featured in the Los Angeles Register, Art Catalogue by the Sea, and About Town Magazine, among others. She has made numerous television appearances with her art. Born in Wisconsin, Christine received her BFA with a concentration in New Genre from Sierra Nevada College in 2003 where she was on the Dean’s Honors List.
Curator’s Note: In addition to the detailed and fragile beading, what is compelling is the handiwork in the background. Here, we find a blend of opposites demonstrating full-range of thought in a piece that otherwise could have stood on its own without the added dimensionality.
Robert Eustace presents with his The Nurture, part of a series entitled ‘Tree of Souls’. When Eustace moved to central New Jersey, he lacked in the same day-to-day audio visual stimulation of his early experiences in NYC. Life in New Jersey eventually provided the meditative quietude and focus to begin to distill those initial life experiences into works of art. For example, the creation of abstract coded maps that serve to navigate unknown territories of the soul, ancient church floor plan configurations, ornate windows that act as a portal to mystery and grace, and the park as a model of paradise or Garden of Eden.
While attending a local congregation during his college days, a sensitive grad student reached out and gave him a well worn copy of H.R. Rookmaaker’s book, “Modern Art and the Death of a Culture”, (1970). Eustace was later to obtain a copy of Rookmaaker’s book, “Art Needs No Justification”, (1978). The overall message provided much liberation: That “Art is a God given possibility” – Art is not bound by notions of, functionalism, pragmatism and propaganda, (or ideas of: how can we use it? And: is it practical?).
Because of the Incarnation (or the Christ as man dwelling among us) and the Resurrection (or the Christ raised up to set us free from sin and death) the artist of faith is free to create within the larger framework of prayer through study, thinking, working – as it relates to life’s unfolding. For Eustace, the idea of beauty is something that should be honored, upheld, and restored to the dignity of its rightful place as it relates to art and the sacred. During much of the modern epoch in art and throughout culture, beauty has been met with mistrust, ugliness, and irrationality.
Curator’s Note: At least for the foreseeable future, Eustace will continue to craft his art and present it to the public from a largely “decentralized position” and with his fairly recent move to the hinterlands of northwestern Pennsylvania – an extremely “rural position”. This intricate and insightful work, reminded us so of the heart and hand themes stemming from the Amish and Mennonite communities there.
Karah Lain‘s work can be defined as collage, a compilation of disparate materials and images onto a surface. Yet unlike most collage, her work does not attempt to create a new picture of things as much as a new visual experience, channeling both formalist tools and object associations. At the foundation of the work are the materials that she has been collecting since childhood, which balance in a space of zero gravity on a blank sheet of paper, or stack atop one another in three-dimensional space. Color deviations are minimal beyond a neutral palette, and the materials used surround concepts of building, the artists hand, and bodily relation.
In a precarious balance, Lain holds the concepts of chance and choice, high art and low art, found and made, and the meditative and the mundane. Through the formal resolution of such disparate associations and mediums, the work becomes a statement to the faculty of balance, a force that is becoming ever necessary in the climate of political and intellectual polarization in the contemporary world. At the same time, the inability to connect the dots between disparate object associations disarms the viewer, a reminder that our infinite unknowns are often kept out of sight and out of mind, while they simultaneously make up the bulk of our internal world.
Curator’s Note: While the theme Micromosaic may inherently denote complex pieces of intricate parts, we could not turn from the disarmingly stunning organization of Lain’s collage works. Here, she demonstrates the balance, timing, and spacial orientation necessary to reach the “sacred”.
Laurie Maves Guglielmi rendered this work just prior to Hurricane Irma while she was in Florida. A full-time Contemporary Artist, Live Performance and Abstract Energy Intuitive Painter, Maves firmly believes she is here on this planet to make your painting. Her most recent series of organic abstracts focus on positive energy, light, and a sense of healing. She paints with an intuitive hand and brilliant color palette, allowing the paintings, whether they be about life change and transition to physically healing from mental and physical stressors, to paint themselves.
Maves’ works are meant to be meditative in nature, organic reminders of perfect wholeness in the universe. The circle form, which is readily seen in Laurie’s paintings represent an ancient symbol and can be seen in every culture, in every person, in every life that comes full circle. She most often works motivational words into her imagery, sealing the thoughts into the message of the painting in hopes of inspiring those who view her work. She invites you to view her abstract energy paintings and share your experience of them. She hopes that her audience finds these paintings as promoting positive energy, relationships and peace.
Curator’s Note: Maves has taken a nod from aboriginal and pointillist works in Impressionistic form to give us a work inspired by flamingos. Just as in real life mosaic, the more one looks, the more one sees. We are delighted to include this brightly associative painting in large-scale format.
Sacrosanct Gallery Grand Opening: March 16, 2018 – April 15, 2018: “Votive”
Votives are interfaith tools of utility and intent, providing light and warmth upon illumination. A votive offering may be ignited or consecrated in fulfillment of a vow. For what purposes are we burning our candles? What are our secret prayers of intent? How does our faith and spirituality pay reverence to idols, statutes, gods, and the sacred? Can a votive be more than a candle, can it be a state of being? Below are the premiering, curated artists who displayed not only exceptional commitment to craft, but also the light of original voices illuminating the future. Our Grand Opening exhibition of “Votive” includes eight living, working American artists with four men and four women out of a field of more than 60 professionals who expressed artwork with elements of sacrality. We know you will love their work as represented here as well as the work on their web pages. Sacrosanct Gallery stands ready to facilitate any dialogue you’d like to have and we are anxious to share with you our plans to incubate these and future artists as relationship developers.
Chas Martin is Portland, Oregon’s next rising legacy sculptor. He writes, “The images we hold in our mind’s eye are essential for understanding our true place and purpose in the world. They define the realm of possibilities we perceive. My images are inspired by books, dreams, and observation. I explore primal images that speak through gesture. Several years ago I began an exploration of petroglyphs. These archetypal symbols quickly informed me that they needed to be three-dimensional. After 30 years of working on flat surfaces, I am once again exploring form and space. My characters represent concepts that unify rather than divide us – experiences that transcend cultural, spiritual, and social boundaries. Creating my characters is an interactive process of sketches, wire frames, photos, watercolor, acrylic, collage, and more. Visualization becomes realization. I am living, breathing, manipulating, and becoming the image – drawing its energy from concept into reality.”
Curator’s Note: In Blue Mesa Leap, the ethereally translucent human figure appears to flicker on the precipice of a cliff’s edge. Much like the flame of a votive candle, switching positions with a mere breath’s exhale, or the gust of a wild wind, the flame’s heat and sustainability are uncertain. Has he or she landed or are they taking flight? Added to the motion of catching an imaginary asteroid (or is there a child) seemingly plummeted mid-air, we have a breathtaking stylistic sculpture that highlights an often overlooked material use.
Candace Primack said, “Having studied art history and church history for many years, I am drawn to antiquity, loving that which is ancient and worn with layers that evoke a bit of mystery. In my paintings, I build up many layers, sometimes as many as 15. Working intuitively, I add and subtract these layers throughout the painting process so that at least a hint of the earlier history is revealed. The scratching, mark-making and symbols create a bit of a raw and organic effect, while at the same time pulling the viewer into a place of quiet reflection. The large, vibrant, hand-mixed color fields are meant to give the eyes a pleasant place to rest. No matter the painting, I strive to work from a place of gratitude, longing, and inner peace, feeling always that painting is not just a choice, but rather my calling. I have shown widely throughout the United States and my work appears in many private collections in the USA and abroad.”
Curator’s Note: In Beatitudes, we get a sense of the condensed, rushed, impulsive, intensive, free-flowing way in which one might expectantly approach a votive prayer in today’s fast-paced life. So much need and so little time…our prayers and intentions gush out of our neatly compacted compartmental worlds in words and sentences we may not even understand. Added to the design aesthetic of the red, white, and blue color fields (standards colors for votive glass) we have an added sense of patriotism, nationalism, and Americana; scarred yet hopeful – just like us.
Alfredo Arreguín has a long and distinguished list of accomplishments. In 2007-2008, he was invited by the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery to show his work at the Portraiture Now: Framing Memory exhibition in Washington, D.C. In 2008, the University of California at Riverside honored him with the Tomás Rivera Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2011, he received a Timeless Award from the University of Washington’s College of Arts and Sciences, during the commemoration of its 150th anniversary. In January of 2013, the State of Michoacán, Mexico, through the State Department of Culture, organized an Homage to Alfredo Arreguín “to recognize his distinguished trajectory in the arts and his dedication as promoter of Mexican culture at the international level.” The homage included an exhibition of his works organized by the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo ‘Alfredo Zalce’ at the Centro Cultural Clavijero. In 2014, Arreguín was invited to participate in a collective show, Imagining Deep Time, hosted by the National Academy of Sciences, in Washington, D. C., and also had three solo shows in Spain; first at the Palacio del Conde Luna, in the city of León; next at the Museo de América, in Madrid; and at the last one at the Museo de Cadiz. In 2018, Arreguin was the second person to receive The Keys of the City of Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico. The first one to receive this honor was Pope Francis in 2017.
Curator’s Note: An exhibition theme sometimes must be interpreted broadly. In this nature-inspired piece with Mexican, Native American, and possibly Japanese leanings, we think of the sun and moon and the migration of birds and fish as representational wishes and prayers in flight before the great orb. If ever there were a votive, certainly those celestial objects are the votive of our lives. This intricately painted nod to the sea, the air, and earth reminded us that all our prayers and votive intentions are transitory and constantly changing in a great tapestry.
Adrienne Moumin‘s Glow is a representation of her photographic Storefront series. Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1961, she received her B.A. in Documentary Visual Studies and Society from The State University of New York at Empire State College in 1999. Moumin has exhibited nationwide, including Central Booking in New York; David & Schweitzer Contemporary in Brooklyn; and The American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center in Washington, DC. Her work has been reviewed in Hyperallergic, and featured in the Sun and New York Gallery Guide. In 2016, Moumin received a grant from the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County, MD to create several large-scale photo collages. She is a Design Consultant for the Wheaton, MD Town Square Redevelopment Public Art Project and lives and works in New York City, NY and Silver Spring, MD.
Curator’s Note: The light is not only intent in the electric bulbs of the candelabra, and in the street light and hairline reflected in the window shop glass, or off the intricate garment beading and fabric folds, but is so intense that it sparkles and shimmers off the focal point of the mannequin’s extended false eyelashes and cosmetic makeup. Adrienne has captured what it is to be lit (figuratively, colloquially, and literally) in the presence and absence of artificial lighting. She has also demonstrated the fact that light always overpowers gaudy embellishment or casual gaze.
James Walker never made a conscious decision to become an artist, it is something he has done for as long as he can remember. It is his way of being enveloped as completely as possible in the present moment and a method to collect reference points along the way. With a background in photo-journalism, Walker takes a documentary approach to almost all of the work out of his new Denver, Colorado location. In the late 80’s, he discovered punk rock music and skateboarding and since then, the original do-it-yourself aesthetic of these two art forms has continued to influence his creative process. Walker does not create “projects” instead, the art is a direct reflection of what is currently happening in life, one long autobiographical adventure. After earning an MFA in photography, he continued pursuing a love of art in multiple artistic disciplines. Walker’s belief is that photography depicts a so-called reality, and painting, drawing, etc. projects the dream behind that reality. Presently, he enjoys blurring the lines between different media types. Recent works consist of oil paintings, water colors, printmaking, photography, and mixed-media.
Curator’s Note: A faded memory of a skateboard ride and the alight of an inked street pigeon are set in the fore- and background of stenciled letters in a pasted billboard styling. As we light candles before a statue or sacred image, we do not honor the statue or the image itself, but whom that statue or image represents. In this work, completely full of urban heart, we have the elements of what the artist is carrying in personal votive as sacred in his life.
Debbie Cootware‘s Out of Darkness, from her Prophetic series, stems from a call to ministry with a completion of a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Theology. As an ordained minister, she continues to share her love of God in her artwork. It wasn’t until Cootware became a mother that she began to paint. She spent mom’s night out in painting workshops at local art stores where she began working with oils. She achieve some proficiency but switched to acrylics after a few paintings were reworked by tiny fingers. Debra continued learning in workshops and from any art book she could get into her hands. One book taught that artists depend on 2 percent natural ability and 98 percent practice. She took that to heart and continues to practice while homeschooling her four children. She also operates Sleight of Hand, a small business selling paintings, murals, and portraits.
Curator’s Note: Just as most traditional votives have votive holders, we as carriers of the light also have a holder. In this compelling portraiture, we are taken with the flesh and veining of the male holder’s hands in contrast with an exposed pale female neck, both set against a field of darkness. Since the earliest days of faith, when services could only be held at night for fear of persecution, votives were practical usage for lighting during worship. The light shed by the candle (female figure) symbolized the light of the divine, just as the holder (male figure) symbolizes the experiential carrier. We view this piece both as highly humble and inspired AND as critically, politically, and contemporarily controversial.
Ricky Havens executed Spiritual Warfare after he began his artistic endeavor in the mid ’80s as a sign-writer, painting his works on everything from motorcycles to billboards. It wouldn’t be until the late ’90s when he would leave the industry and focus on his own art and begin to teach himself to use oils. From abstracted views with subliminal imagery to realism exposing spiritual beings, his works come together after hours of study and painted layers. His surrealistic dreams weave an emotional web across the canvas in a array of masculine colors. Not only revealing the purity of the feminine spirit, but as well, the spiritual warfare that exists in every soul.
Curator’s Note: Votives are traditionally either short and stout, elongated tapers, or large-diameter waxed candles. In Havens’ oil, we see the representation of forms similar to warheads or humans. A second look made us think of ancient etchings or faces. A third look brought us to trees and stained glass. Truly a complex offering of color and composition, this piece is one we can view and come back to with relative certainty we will see something completely new each and every time. To us, that also represented the spirit of the votive candle, a concentration that never truly is stagnant.
Marlene Burns offers us an abstract entitled Purim: Feast of Lots. As told in the Megillat Esther, the story recounts a time of persecution of the Jews. Following the destruction of the first Temple in 423 B.C.E., Jews were exiled to Babylonia. Some 50 years later, Persia conquered Babylon and King Achashverosh established his kingdom in the city of Shushon. The villain in this story was Haman, who convinced the King that the Jews needed to be exterminated. Lots were drawn to decide the date of the annihilation. Working together, our heroes Mordechai and his niece Esther (who hid her Jewish identity and became the new Queen) were able to save the Jews. When the Book of Esther is publicly chanted on the 14th day of the month of Adar, the crowd drowns out Haman’s name with the sound of groggers. Purim is celebrated with costumes, drinking and merriment, as one of our most joyous holidays. We make Hamanatashen cookies, to remind us of Haman’s triangular shaped hat. The central shape in the painting is a triangle that moves clockwise to form a Star of David, a symbol of our faith. The location of this story is alluded to with the Persian arched portal serving as a backdrop, as well as the decoration that frames the base of the design. God is represented by the color red. Not only does He anchor the story, he is woven through it to remind our people that God is always with us, even during our exiles.
Curator’s Note: For love of blue, and for inter-faith works that are cross-representational and cross-cultural, we see an artist living in Arizona, who is not held by traditional regional themes, palettes, or styles. Additionally, Marlene’s works can be produced as embellished giclees, on paper, as greeting cards, or as fabric pillows. We were taken by the architectural construct of two columns meeting, or two columns forming from one source. This is indicative of votive light and intent everywhere.
Sacrosanct Gallery is exceptionally pleased at the quality and range of artists curated for “Votive,” a challenging and abstract theme. More than 60 individual artists submitted works for broad interpretation. These artists spanned a cross-range of disciplines, including abstracts, photography, representational, pop-surrealism, drawings, collage, wood mandalas, cubism, oils, color field and more. In addition, although we set out only to show two-dimensional works, we made one singular exception with a deeply committed artist out of Portland, Oregon.
We are particularly encouraged at the entries from international artists who seek to break into the sacred and spiritual realm and its showcasing opportunities, even given that our concentration is on American art. Amazing entries came in from Lebanon, France, Canada, Australia, Poland, London, and Switzerland.
We thank all who expressed a desire to partner with us, and invite all to not only submit to the next show “Micromosaics” but also to take a moment to reflect on the light of the artists featured above who personify and exemplify what it is to burn brightly.