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.
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.
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.
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 Blog, Artefuse, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sacrosanct Gallery showcases contemporary & interfaith sacred art in America. Founder and Curator Shauna Lee Lange works exclusively in the fields of the meaning of sacred, art & theology, and sacred spaces & places in creative placemaking. 941.875.5190.