Blessed are the Artists: Spirituality & Religion in Contemporary Arts

I’m pleased to announce my participation in the exhibit, “Blessed are the Artists: Spirituality and Religion in Contemporary Arts” at Caldwell College in New Jersey. My recently completed thesis project, Biblical Lace, will be re-installed for the exhibit. I’m honored to be in such good company in the show – so if you are in the area, please save the date for the opening. :)

A note about the show from the curator:

This group exhibition will examine the role of religion in contemporary art.

How artists use the language of religious traditions: theology, symbolism, allegory, ethics.

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, the spiritual yearnings continued to be fundamental for many artists.

The search for transcendence, so often the motivation for great art, has been become more explicit amongst contemporary artists. Bill Viola, Peter Greenaway, Marina Abramovich (to name just some well known examples) evoke emotions that we normally identify with spirituality, such as deep emotional shock or exalted revelation.

Have the “religious” elements in contemporary art been hiding in plain sight all this time? We will look closely at the alliance of religion and art from the perspective of the major world religions.

The rhetoric around belief has escalated in the run up to the 2012 elections. 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.

My emphasis will be on artists whose work is intrinsically “spiritual” if not explicitly “religious”. They will be joined by artists whose work employs the scriptural traditions fundamental to our shared secular culture, as well as artists who view religion with a more critical eye.

In the context of Caldwell’s traditions and ongoing interest in theology, this exhibit seeks to encourage a better understanding of the importance of religion in our common contemporary culture.

Caldwell theology students and those in the fine arts will have a unique chance to creatively engage one another.

-Yulia Tikhonova

Exhibiting Artists: