past exhibits

Sacrosanct Gallery excels in showcasing contemporary sacred art in America. Our monthly art exhibitions are curated for cultural art and theology.  Sacred Art Squad is an arm of the gallery that works to link artists, congregations, and communities in creative placemaking by marrying sacred artworks in public places and sacred spaces. We want to grow your interfaith art journey and to collaboratively define what is and what is not visually “sacred”. Inquiries to Shauna Lee Lange at 941.875.5190 or email

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.

019 What Have You Done
Wayne Urffer received a BS in Psychology from Messiah College in 1983, and a Master’s in Religion from the Lancaster Theological Seminary in 1989. His career as an educator has included stints in two different Friends Schools and a Mennonite historic organization, all in Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood. Since 1997, he has been an Associate Professor in the General Education Department at the Art Institute of Philadelphia. Urffer currently teaches introductory courses in Sociology and Ethics, as well as an upper level elective course in Comparative Religions. In addition to teaching, he also studies art history and design with several very talented colleagues at the Art Institute. Urffer’s work in mixed media assemblage and assembled sculpture derives from found or salvaged materials which he believes are “the dross of an individualistic, market-driven culture that promotes the spirit-killing values of over-consumption and disposability.”  Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).


Chris Dale, Feet First (2017), latex on hardboard, 24″ x 38″, Toronto, Canada. Web –  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 –   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 –  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).


Vincent Hawley, Wave Form VI (2017), sculptural form of copper and Vermont Verde Granite, 8.5″ x 8.5″ x 5.5″, Staten Island, New York  Web –   Instagram – @vwhstudio  Vincent Hawley is a Christian artist based in New York City who primarily works in metal creating sculptures. He is classically trained as a jeweler and silversmith which is referenced to create work. Hawley has done a number of projects for churches such as sacred vessels, pectoral crosses, processional pieces, and contemporary sculptural pieces.  Wave Form VI is an organic shape, hand formed from copper. It is sealed to keep the color and is a representation of a wave rolling in the ocean and is secured to a marble base. Hawley received his BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, he went on to graduate from the Gemological Institute of America in Italy as well as apprenticing in Florence, Italy. This work’s predecessor, Wave Form V, won the Jurors’ Choice, “Sculpture 2018” at New Hope Arts in New Hope, Pennsylvania.  Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).


Crystal Turk, Adoration for the Mudlark, 12” diameter framed, San Diego, California. Web –    Instagram – @crystalmcdeath  From the swamps she arose with trinkets of wonder. Once a empty swamp dweller now the queen of swamps. Representing survival at its best, what one person thinks is trash can be another’s treasure. We create the world that we choose to live in. We ourselves decide what is worthy of ordainment. Crystal Turk works in a studio and gallery of the bizarre. It serves as a makeshift portal from the outside world, transporting one into a world of medical and macabre items such as taxidermy, antique electrical devices, apothecary, embalming bottles, and a myriad of human and animal bones and skulls.
Turk’s schooling comes from The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Today she still uses only skulls that are found by herself or friends. Finding the skull gives more meaning to the piece and helps Turk create a new life for it. It wasn’t until a trip to Italy that she was inspired by a new (or rather antique) way to preserve and properly present each skull for display.  Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).


Jason John, Amanda and the Octopus (2017), oil on board, 37″ x 40″, Jacksonville, Florida. Web –     Instagram – @jcjohnpaint  Jason John’s figures with inscrutable expressions sometimes balance precarious cardboard headpieces and hold awkward poses as fruit, flowers, and abstract objects swirl around them. The paintings reveal John’s masterful realist technique broken by abstract fissures of dripping paint.  The situations are illogical.
John, an assistant professor of painting at the University of North Florida, describes his work as portraits of people in transition, with no relationship to allegory or narrative. Where his subjects have been or where they are going, he doesn’t know.  When discussing his work, John often focuses on three central themes-identity, space and composition. Objects that could be real or projections of the subjects’ thoughts drift through the paintings, hinting at the figures’ identities and creating depictions of space.
John holds a BFA in Painting from Kutztown University and an MFA in Painting and Drawing from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He also studied at The Waichulis Studio (now called Ani Art Academies) in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania.  In 2012, John was inducted into the Museum of Realist Art in Boston, Massachusetts. (Biography credit to MOCA Jacksonville.) In 2017, John’s work Don’t Worry Richter was prominently featured in the Interfaith Journal on Religion, Art, and Architecture: Faith & Form.  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 –   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).

Thomas Murray, Narcissus (2009), oil on canvas, 36″ x 60″, McAllen, Texas.  Web –   Instagram @thomasmurray  Thomas Murray holds a BS in Fine Art at the University of Florida and a MFA in Painting and Drawing at the University of New Mexico. He is a full time lecturer at the University of Texas with a long history of professorial responsibilities in the arts at various educational institutions. He writes that painting, “……is the vehicle of choice for much of my work.  What others might see as a hindrance; the vast history of Painting, I see as freedom and opportunity in a contemporary theatre ripe with promise and possibility. Object making is the breath, the sustained exhale.  My process is a series of raveling and unraveling. Over the course of several paintings I allow the world to come in, to permeate my awareness. The breath in is invariably followed by another search.”  Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).


Joni Lynn Tomasetti, Emergence (2013), oil on canvas, 48″ x 48″, Littleton, Colorado.  Web –   Instagram @jonitomasettifineart When painting, Joni Lynn Tomasetti’s goal is to create vibrant and emotionally charged images by juxtaposing bold colorful shapes.  Using various mediums, watercolor, pastel or oils, she converses in colors, textures, and shapes as language of the visual image. Whether landscapes, architectural, figurative, or still life, she hopes to engage the viewer by inspiring a thoughtful dialogue that captures memories and reminiscences of consciousness.  Tomasetti considers the work expressionistic, bringing dimensions of abstract and realism into one unparalleled and synergistic work of art. Here, the antonym for submerge is emerge, the juxtaposition is in the emerging and submerging shapes, some fluid and dripping others thick impasto. New and glorious vignettes will show themselves each time you look at this piece.  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 –   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).


Marlene Burns, Tashlich (2018), mixed media acrylic, airbrush inks, metallic paint, 36″x36″x1.5″, Tucson, Arizona.  Web –      –   Marlene Burns recently completed this new work which describes submerging and burying our sins in a body of water. Traditionally, on Rosh Hashanah, Jewish people participate in an ancient ritual of Tashlich, where we cast off our sins into a body of water. It is the tangible act of shaking off our transgressions. Water is a universal symbol for purification. At this time of the New Year, we are cleansing our hearts and minds, bodies and souls, as we go through the process of Teshuvah. Water is also a symbol of the creation of the world and of all life. Near springs of water, Kings of Israel were crowned. The prophets Ezekiel and Daniel received revelation near a body of water as well.
In this visual expression, a strong, black line moves through the water to represent the casting off. It is intertwined with fringe to allude to the tzitzit of a tallit katan that are shaken during the ritual. In this painting, the Hebrew word Tashlich is shown in the upper right corner. Each letter is part of an incomplete circle. A fish is hidden in the word to reference using a body of water with fish. A complete circle rests at the bottom to exemplify not only the completion of this ritual but,  its integral role in the completion of our process of repentance during the High Holy Days.
“He will take us back in love; He will cover up our iniquities. You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”  Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).

Alfred Eaker, Black Madonna of Tindari (2018), acrylic on canvas, 16″ x 20″, Portland, Oregon.  Web –   Instagram @alfredeaker  Black Madonna of Tindari is from Alfred Eaker’s series, A Sea of Rosaries. Eaker attended the John Herron School of Art and majored in Fine Arts.  He holds a Bachelors of Theology from St. Mary of the Woods and a Masters of Theological Studies in the Arts from Christian Theological Seminary. In addition to painting, he is a performance artist with two characters: Brother Cobweb and BlueMahler, one stemming from the school of trench theology and the latter in existential theology. Much of Eaker’s art focuses on the sacred feminine and Marian symbology. He is a Catholic who has shown in galleries since the ’80s. This image depicts the metaphoric scenery of the Madonna from the Apocalypse.  Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).


Jessica Ruta, Wave of Love (2018), acrylic on maple burl wood, 20″w x 14″L, Veneta, Oregon.  Web –   Instagram – @jrutadesigns  Jessica Ruta is an intuitive artista who uses wood as her canvas. A burning tool and some acrylics serve to create spiritually based pieces. The pieces are a reflection of Ruta’s current awakening. The artist feels as though the art is divinely guided. Although the works can be extremely IN YOUR FACE with a passion for femininity and sexuality, nature also plays a strong influential role and Ruta loves doing landscape scenes as well.  With Wave of Love, we are viewing Twin Flames immersed in the power of love. Ruta writes, “From my heart, thru my that makes you feel.”  Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).

Sam Gillis, Flight (2018), acrylic on hand-made paper, 20″x28″ (framed), Camarillo, California. Web –   Instagram – @wrinkle_artptionion  Sam Gillis has studied in some of the finest art programs including Columbia College Chicago and The Atelier Alternative. Gillis is a prolific artist who’s been featured in museums and exhibitions including the National Museum of Mexican Art and John G. Shedd Aquarium. He is engaged with both his local and global community and as such, is a frequent donor to non-profit organizations.
The environment and the creatures with their beauty have been on this planet longer than humans. They have evolved in unique ways to deal with us and other creatures who share the same environment. Wanting to survive, some animals including sea life use beauty to ward off predators that would harm them. As an artist, capturing the beauty of life is dear to the artist’s heart as he seeks to bring awareness to the plight of various species by documenting them in a unique creative process to tell their story.  Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).


Brian Donahue, Strength & Wisdom (2017), stainless steel and bronze, 25″ x 14″ x 15″, Sierra Vista, Arizona.  Web –      Instagram – @donahuefinearts  Brian Donahue does a lot of liturgical work for churches around the country, mostly traditional and representational, statuary, and liturgical furnishings. His gallery work is more spiritual rather than religious. He relies heavily on semiotics, using items of nature to express the ethereal. Early in his art career, Donahue worked as a scientific illustrator in the archaeology academia in Arizona, Hawaii, and California. During excavations he began to notice similarities in spiritual art and semiotics of the early indigenous peoples. This captured his interest and he began to study these two areas more in-depth.
In the meantime, Brian started to receive commissions for liturgical work. With an increasing demand for his sculptures, Donahue began an independent study program to better understand the complexities of the liturgical art genre and Semiotics. He took courses in Liturgical Art and Architecture from the University of St Mary of the Lakes in Illinois and he studied Religious Semiotics and Celtic Christianity from various sources.  Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).


George Lorio, Dead Water (2018), painted carved wood, 5” x 11.25” x 11.25”, Rockville, Maryland.  Web –  In several locations in fresh and salt water bodies, there are areas completely devoid of life. Some are permanent, others are periodic.  This occurrence of the loss of oxygen in the water is becoming more common and appears across the planet. The source is thought to be a result of agricultural runoff and industrial pollution.
George Lorio uses a narrative of social engagement to generate discussion. His images subtly arouse concern with visual prods into issues related to class, immigration, gun control, and ecology.  A childhood in New Orleans framed Lorio’s vision of life. It was and continues to be a place of extremes: beauty and decay, religion and ritual, custom and iconoclasm. From that experience, he acquired an excitement for visual matters: colors, forms and even artifacts. Having since lived on the border of Mexico for ten years has altered Lorio’s view of contemporary culture and our collective social responsibility. As a result, the expression of the imagery has become more topical. Lorio holds a BA in Arts Education from the University of South Florida and a MFA.  Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).


R. Scott Anderson, Fallen Angel (2015), this piece is in 2×3 RATIO and printed on acrylic media, Independence, Missouri.                   Web –                            Instagram – @andersonartwork  R. Scott Anderson’s image is from his “Below” series which grew from an overall concept about relationship of human beings to land, air, and water. Previous series featured humans at the interface of air and water. The “Below” series is about their full submersion in water, such as swimming pools or the ocean.  He hopes they portray our ancient desires for flight or perhaps, the fulfillment of our most weightlessly surreal dreams.
Anderson’s approach to photographing female models is an intriguing one.  He feels the female form is a compelling subject. The intent when creating art with women is to speak to that place in us where we understand her to be beautiful and desirable, yet not to have it be ‘personally’ about her. Rarely does Anderson have his art subjects look into the lens. The shots are about the beauty that existed in that moment, not about who was beautiful in that moment. Anderson would hope that he captures the essence of ‘every woman’ rather than just ‘one particular’ woman.  Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).


Robert Eustace, ‘The Cosmic Star Wheel’, no. 1 (2017), from a suite of experimental photographs from: ‘Mythologies’ (series), approx size: 11.5″h x 7″w (unframed), Edison, New Jersey.                                    Web –    Instagram – @roberteustace1512  Robert Eustace brings us to his experimental series of photographs. Representative of an overall series of 15 related images, this piece conveys a ‘short story’ on the falling from heaven and into a submerged state under the water. This particular series took its impetus from simply taking a stroll in a nearby town and making the pleasant discovery of finding an old rusted, dirt encrusted bicycle sprocket lying in the street. This particular item, was a beautiful answer to prayers as Eustace was searching for that ‘key component’ piece of metal that he could include in his current major art project – a sacred art ‘ikonic mixed-media construction’, that involves an interaction between earth and cosmos.  Eustace has found the practice of photography to be particularly liberating and freeing… a method of working that provides a healthy cross-pollination and inspiration to his work in mixed-media.  Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).


Linda McCray, Transformation (2013), acrylic paint and sand from the River Jordan on floating wood panel, 18″ x 24″, Clancy, Montana.  Web –   Instagram – @lindamccraystudio  Linda McCray, MFA, CSD, is a visual artist and spiritual director. Her paintings are in a number of public and private collections. Private collectors and organizations have commissioned McCray to create paintings that speak to their mission. McCray previous was an adjunct art professor for Loyola University Chicago and other institutions. She lectures on contemporary spiritual art and art as mediation.
McCray’s work is well known in the field of the sacred arts.  She translates universal spiritual truths into abstract paintings that speak to others, regardless of their traditions.
To form visible signs of invisible grace, abstraction is used to powerfully convey through light, color, and texture—speaking directly to the heart. To capture feelings of the warmth and peace of the Divine Presence, she uses a number of techniques including the old masters’ use of glazes to capture luminosity. McCray integrates found objects that abound with symbolism, such as sand from the River Jordan, ashes and palms. The torn-like edges symbolize that we are a part of something much greater—our collective Creator.  Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).


Homeboys flying and Dying

Bilhenry Walker, Homeboys Flying Dying (2016), aluminum plate, 12″ x 22″ x 1″, Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  Web –   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).


Robyn Ellenbogen, Pelagos #1 (2016), assorted metalpoint, wire brushes, metallic wool pads, and knit wire on red Plike paper, 40” x 23”, New Jersey. Web –                  Instagram – @robynellenbogen  “It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself.” –Rachel Carson, “The Sea Around Us”
Robyn Ellenbogen writes, “My work is inspired by myriad layers that speak to the complexity of our lives. The sea is a fundamental source of being, rich in emotion and metaphor. To be submerged suggests a powerful state of connection to the source of water…When I was a child, my internal dialogue often centered on loss, absence, the inevitability of dying and a sense of absurdity. Egg tempera paintings are often combined with the use of metalpoint. I rarely work from a sketch or a plan but more often a generalized feeling, thought, or emotion. Making art allows me to grasp the world as a paradoxical break with familiar acceptance.”  Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).


Keith Fields, Judgment of Man (2018), collage on paper, 11″ x 13.5″, Arlington, Texas.  Web –   Instagram – @keith.irl  Keith Fields is a writer and visual artist living in Texas. He received a Joanne Thaman fellowship for creative writing while attending the University of Texas at Austin. His work has appeared in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and has been featured by The Bello Collective.
He writes, “As I browse an old anthropology book about Pompeii, I feel the gulf of time between my life and ancient Rome, but also between me and the book’s intended audience (a person of the mid-20th century). I see reprinted a painting of Mount Vesuvius’s eruption, which submerged the city of Pompeii in ash and entombed its residents. This painting wears a history of its own: the way we used to style and frame images to understand natural phenomena. This depiction of a major first century historical event was created in the mid-19th century, and reprinted in 1978 for our observation in 2018. The nesting doll of centuries gestures forward and back. If there is a Fact, it is only that Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D.”  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.

Sheryl Cozad, Mama’s Voyage, Box One:  Pregnancy and Birth (1995), Acrylic paint and metal on wood, Closed–17″ x 11.5″x 3″, Open–17″ x 23″ x 3″, NFS, similar objects are available, Inquire at Sacrosanct Gallery, Instagram:  sherylcozad55, www.sherylcozad.comNorman, Oklahoma  Sheryl Cozad feels that the “Pregnancy” box from her series “Mama’s Voyage” (which depicts stages of early motherhood) is a reliquary.  It is a painted silverware box with four images:  the front depicting a pregnant woman’s mid-section inspired by Vermeer’s “Woman Holding a Balance”.  The interior depicts a conception scene shown as a mystical magic show on the left side, with a full-term baby in utero on the right side.  The back side depicts a woman’s midsection as she nurses her baby in water, inspired by Cozad’s own water birth experience giving birth to an 11 pound baby boy.
For Cozad, pregnancy through raising children is a sacred activity.  Pregnancy in particular filled her with a sense of wonder at God’s creation and a deep awe in the process of metamorphosis.  But a part of that metamorphosis is developing into the person who will raise that child facing no less peril, wonder and awe during the journey.  This box holds the spiritual experience now long past but yet ongoing within her own life. Cozad is a retired Catholic college art professor who taught at a United Methodist university for 17 years and at a Catholic university for 15 years.  Her work consists of commissioned portraits, icons, illustrations, and murals. Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).
Sarah Rehfeldt, Found (2013), mosaic, beach wood; beach stones; shell pieces; and grout, with wood framing, 13” x 9”, Inquire at Sacrosanct Gallery;
or, Issaquah, Washington  Sarah Rehfeldt lives with her family in western Washington where she is a writer, artist, and photographer.  Her poems have appeared in Blueline, Appalachia; Weber – The Contemporary West, and Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction.  Sarah has published two collections of image poems – most recently From the Quiet Edges of the Forest in 2018. Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).


Claire Jeanine Satin, Chassis # 10 (year undetermined), Hamsa Rose, Printing on transparency; metallic overprinting in silver and red, Frame/text imagery, reassembled layering of John Cage writings printed in the negative, 14″h x 14″h x 1″d framed,, Dania Beach, Florida  Claire Jeanine Satin brings us collages whose content is the Hamsa (the priestly blessing icon image). Satin is currently on exhibition at the Hebrew Union College Museum in New York City.  Seven of Satin’s  bookworks are in the Rare Books and Special Collections of the Library of Congress, two of which are Hebraic  Bookworks. Other works have been acquired by MOMA, NYC; The V & A; The Getty Center; the National Museum of Women in the Arts and many others.  Satin’s association with the composer John Cage’s concept of indeterminacy plays an important role in her artwork. It manifests itself in the use of transparency and interpenetration.  The Hebraic works possess a mystery, and mysticism of a highly spiritual nature. Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).


Laurie Maves, Samurai Phoenix (2018), 42″ x 47″ mixed media on nylon, Sold., Instagram @lauriemavesart,
Sarasota, Florida  Samurai Phoenix executed on commercial grade printing nylon, is part of Laurie Maves’ ongoing series of large scale intuitive abstract expressionism paintings. Without any planning, the images come as the artist’s hand and materials allow.  Maves is a full time Contemporary Artist, Live Performance and Abstract Energy Intuitive Painter. She 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.
Maves 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. Her 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. Maves 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 how you experience them. She hopes that her audience finds these paintings as promoting positive energy, relationships and peace. Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).
Jeanne Tremel, Linea Diorama (2018), Mixed Media paint on yupo paper, stuffed fabric shapes, small branch, yarn, threads, vintage trims and beads, beans, sequins, found objects, antique quilt portion, 34″ x 46″,,, Brooklyn, New York  Linea Diorama by Jeanne Tremel is a site specific piece for the group show “Line of Vision” at In-Case Projects (curated by Jaynie Crimmins and Etty Yanniv, BFP Building, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY). The process of painting, gathering, and arranging are layered gestures that create a contemplative space and place alluding to the energy of life cycles and growth in outdoor nature and in human nature.
Jeanne is a visual artist who has shown her works throughout the NYC area, the US and in Germany. Born in Minneapolis, her formal art education began at St. Cloud State University, Minnesota (BFA) and continued in Chicago at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA). Later, at the School of Visual Arts in NYC, she earned a Certificate in Art Therapy. Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Time Out New York, and featured on many online venues such as Left Bank Art BlogArtefuse, Two Coats of Paint, Gallery Travels, and Woman Artist a Day. She was recently interviewed about her work for The Huffington Post. She considers herself an abstract painter at heart, switching between oil and mixed media flat work and sculptural wall & floor pieces, and installations, all made of collected materials. She has lived in Brooklyn for over 20 years. Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).


Josie Gearhart, Sea Monument (2015), Oil painting on canvas, 30×40 in a floater frame, Instagram: Josie Gearhart,  Cincinnati, Ohio  Josie Gearhart asks, What is art? Is it meant to teach? Are we meant to question it, grasp its meaning? Be captured by its charm? It offers us experience. Do we use that experience to create more experience? The act of doing art…creating…opens up your heart, lays bare your soul. Her goal as an artist is to create paintings that give the viewer pause; to represent the beauty of the world around us.
Gearhart is a painter and mixed media artist who graduated from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia and Rome, with both a BFA and MFA. She went on to teach art in the public school system. While raising a family, she created a decorative arts business, concentrating on mural work, landscape painting on furniture, and surface finishes such as Venetian plaster and wax, for walls , ceilings and cabinetry. Today you will find her in her Cincinnati art studio combining her love of surface finishes  with her desire create masterful paintings. She has participated in local and national juried shows, has won several awards and will be featured in the art edit section of House and Garden UK , in September, October and November editions. Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).
Sammy Leon, Coral Alchemy (2018), acrylic, polyurethane, black ink, marker, spraypaint, 20 x 16 inches, Instagram: @ouiouisammy,  New York, New York   Sammy is a Design System. Two thousand years ago, Epicurus said that the state of the universe is constant flux – matter neve stops moving. “Ironically,” Sammy says, “this is still true.” Albeit, today the world we are cognizant of transcends itself at an even quicker pace. The Sammy Design System runs as fast as today’s tech beat and aims to outpace it by way of Epicureanism: everything is always in motion, so let’s innovate accordingly. Visual meets physics meets logic, and the result is a belief that the only constant is change. Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).


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Brian Donahue, Spirit of the Deer Cry (2006), Bronze, 25″ (h) x 12″ (w) x 12″ (d), 
Instagram –  donahuefinearts,  Sierra Vista, Arizona  Brian Donahue does a lot of liturgical work for churches around the country, mostly Traditional and Representational, statuary and liturgical furnishings. His gallery work is more spiritual rather than religious. He relies heavily on semiotics, using items of nature to express the ethereal. Early in his art career, Donahue worked as a Scientific Illustrator in the archaeology academia in Arizona, Hawaii and California. During excavations he began to notice similarities in the spiritual art and semiotics of the early indigenous peoples. This captured his interest and he began to study these two areas more in-depth.
In the meantime, Brian began to receive commissions for liturgical work. With an increasing demand for his work, Donahue began an independent study program to better understand the complexities of the liturgical art genre and Semiotics. He took courses in Liturgical Art and Architecture from the University of St Mary of the Lakes in Mundelein, IL. and he studied Religious Semiotics and Celtic Christianity from various sources. Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).


Kenna Rentmeester, Instant Bonds: Angie, details forthcoming.  Instant Bonds: Angie, is an acrylic painting on panel of a woman’s “toe thumb”. The inset of the panel contains a plaster cast embellished in gold leaf of her thumb.  It is painted in vibrant and unique color combinations to show how we sometimes feel like we stand out because of our idiosyncrasies. The gold leaf cast symbolizes a reliquary, stating that our oddities are worthy to be cast in gold. Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).
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Robert Eustace, Auracourt (2003), Ikonic Mixed-Media Constructions/ Combined Process on Wood with Metal and Objects, 25″h x 20″w x 3″d, Edison, New Jersey  The qualities found in the work of Robert Eustace can be attributed initially to the time spent in traditional Catholic church. There he found wonderful architectural symmetry, art and statuary adorning the stone walls and crevices at every glance, symbols and rituals of meaning, rows of candles providing an unearthly illumination, shadows and fragrances of mystery, along with the slow turning of the seasons and the festive celebrations of light.
Eustace also spent much time in all weathers, roaming and playing in the interconnected parks (or former primeval wilderness) that hug the northwestern rim of Manhattan Island. Today, it is simply known as Inwood Hill Park. To the immediate south lies Fort Tryon Park, while to the immediate north Isham Park can be found. Looking out from the edge of the forest and down towards the broad, shimmering Hudson River, one’s mind can drift and visualize all sorts of played out scenarios of a time long ago: Of majestic wooden clipper ships exploring the untouched, pristine coast around Manhattan – always a sacred visiting place to the Native Americans who tended to dwell in the outlying lands that surrounded the island. Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).

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.

Claire Jeanine Satin, Tetrahedron Columns II, powder coated aluminum screen; brass wire; gold and silver metallic links, handwritten text, 70″h x 18″d., Dania Beach, FL. Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).
Laura Trisiano, Forest Temple 2018: The Altar and Temple Series, mixed media assemblage sculpture; wood, paint, metal, stone, grass cloth, moss, faux flower; 15″h x 13″w x 4″d,, Califon, NJ Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).
Chas Martin, Sedona Window, watercolor on paper, 14″ x 10″,, Portland, OR Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).
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Sherri Silverman, Patmos Ladder to the Sky (1984), black and white photography, gelatin silver print, 6.25″ x 4.5″ image, 
Greek island of Patmos, Monastery of St. John the Divine,, Ross, CA. Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).
Eddie Steffanni, Church Interior with Fan (2017), Etching and Aquatint, 18in X 24 in,, Dayton, OH. Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).
Jonathan Mandell, Western Wall Mosaic (2003), Madlyn and Leonard Abramson Center for Jewish life in Horsham PA, 99″L x 30″H, ceramic tile, glass, and lapidary. This mosaic was designed to be interactive. The grout joints are left open between the stones of the wall so that the residents can insert notes into the mosaic which are then transported to Israel on a regular basis., Bala Cynwyd, PA. Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).
Linda McCray, Come Out Lazarus! (sold), acrylic paint, cloth and sand from the River Jordan on floating wood panel. 24” x 24”,, Clancy, MT. Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).

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 (details forthcoming) Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).

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.

Nurture Right
Robert Eustace, The Nurture (2012), Ikonic Mixed-Media Construction/ Combined Process on Wood with Metal + Objects, 26″h x 20″w x 3″d Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).

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, Swim (2017), mixed media on paper, 18″ x 24″ Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).

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, March of the Flamingos (2017), Mixed media on canvas, 60”x48” Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).

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.

Featured Artists

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.”

Chas Martin, Blue Mesa Leap (2015), Wood, wire, fibers and acrylic polymer with acrylic paint, 20.5″x12″x 6.5″.  Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery (2018). Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery : Contemporary Sacred Art in America (2018).

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.”

Candace Primack, Beatitudes (2015), 2015, mixed media (plaster, acrylics, charcoal), 30”x 40”x2.5”. Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery (2018).

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.

Alfredo Arreguin, Migration (2016), Oils/canvas, Migration, 60″X48″. Courtesy of Sacrosanct Gallery.

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.


Adrienne Moumin, Glow, Silver Gelatin Print, Selenium Toned, 16-3/4″ x 12-3/4″ image on 20″ x 16″ paper.  Reference No., printed 6/08
Edition of 15. Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery (2018).

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.

James Walker, All We Have is Now (2017),
mixed media: acrylic, aerosol, colored pencil, copper leaf, water color,
18″x22″   Courtesy of Sacrosanct Gallery (2018).

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.

Debra Cootware, Out of Darkness (2018), acrylic painting on wrap around canvas, 24″x 24″.  Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery.

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.

Ricky Havens, Spiritual Warfare (2007), Oil Painting, 48”x36”.  Courtesy of Sacrosanct Gallery.

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.

sacred intention #3
Marlene Burns, Purim: Feast of Lots (2010), mixed media, 36″x36″.  Courtesy Sacrosanct Gallery.

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.

Closing Thoughts

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.


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