Blessed are the Artists: Spirituality and Religion in Contemporary Art

With Lynne Avadenka, Siona Benjamin and Yona Verwer.

Caldwell, N.J. – Sept. 25, 2012 – The Caldwell College Visceglia Gallery and the Art Department will present “Blessed Are the Artists: Spirituality and Religion in Contemporary Art” this fall at the Visceglia Gallery and Jennings Library. The opening will be 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, and the event will run through Nov. 10. Admission and parking are free.
The group exhibition will examine the role of religion in contemporary art and how artists use the language of religious traditions: theology, symbolism, allegory and ethics. It will look closely at the alliance of religion and art from the perspective of the major world religions. “Blessed Are the Artists” will showcase the different ways that artists use the “blessing” of their talent to investigate the role of religion in our personal and public lives.
Historically, art has been the visual language of religion. Beginning with Dutch genre painting, art began to concern itself with everyday life and the art-making process itself. Modernism continued this secular tradition. At the same time, spiritual yearnings continued to be fundamental for many artists.
The search for transcendence, so often the motivation for great art, has become more explicit among contemporary artists. The show probes the question of whether religious elements in contemporary art have been hiding in plain sight.
Among the participating artists is Sister Gerardine Mueller, O.P., professor emeritus of art at Caldwell College, who founded the college’s Art Department in 1963. Under her leadership, Caldwell became the first college in New Jersey to offer a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Her work has been seen in churches, colleges, universities and museums around the world.
Artists also will include Lili Almog, Lynne Avadenka, Siona Benjamin, Edward Bekkerman, Alfonse Borysewicz, Mary Button, Dean Ebben, Rob van Erve, Rodriguez Calero, Cecile Chong, Sin-Ying Ho, Peter Hristoff, Haley Nagy, Ruben Natal-San Miguel, China Marks, Ariane Littman, Miriam Schaer, Robbin Ami Silverberg, Nyugen Smith, Angela Strassheim, Yona Verwer and Joanna Wezyk.
In the context of Caldwell’s traditions and ongoing interest in theology, the exhibit seeks to encourage a better understanding of the importance of religion in a common contemporary culture. Caldwell theology students and those in the fine arts will have a unique chance to creatively engage one another.

Caldwell College is located at 120 Bloomfield Ave., Caldwell, N.J. 07006.
exhibit on view till November 10; daily 9-5.

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