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Oil on panel, “I Am He, Revelations 1:18” by Dan Wilson. Wilson won first place at the 30th annual “Spiritual & Religious Art of Utah” exhibition at the Springville Museum of Art.
Provided by the Springville Museum of Art
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Gloriana Miles and her mother Mary Jane Smith hold each other alongside their accepted work “I Am the Vine, You Are the Branches” for the 30th Annual Utah Spiritual and Religious Art Exhibition, currently on display at the Springville Museum of Art.
Provided by Mary Jane Smith
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Mixed technique, “I am the vine, you are the branches” by Mary Jane Smith and her daughter Gloriana Miles.
Provided by Mary Jane Smith
A visual conversation about faith and belief unfolds in the galleries of the Springville Museum of Art for its 30th annual exhibition of spiritual and religious art from Utah.
The juried art show screened 407 entries and ultimately accepted 169 submissions, all from Utah artists. The exhibition concept invited artists to explore spirituality and religious traditions from their own personal perspectives – perspectives that represent a non-denominational collective from a range of belief structures.
“It’s a really personal show and then the personal nature of it for the artist translates to the viewers because as the viewers walk through the exhibition they connect with things, they are put challenged by things, they respond to different pieces in different ways,” said Jessica Weiss, education manager at the Springville Museum of Art.
The silent discourse within the walls of the museum will have a voice on December 9 when the Springville Museum hosts a panel discussion with local faith leaders, exhibit artists and scholars.
Participants will be asked how art and belief intersect from their personal perspective during the panel, which will be moderated by Rita Wright, Director of the Springville Museum. Participants can also ask questions during the discussion and be part of the conversation.
The visual expressions depicted in the art beautifully show bifurcating an understanding of how the artists’ different belief systems are, while illustrating all that they have in common.
“You see common symbols moving around in (the works) where people use symbols in similar ways,” Weiss said. “You see the same common belief about truth, beauty and light flowing through.
“The show is really a statement about the diversity of religious and spiritual traditions, but there’s also this deep belief and this longing for something and this search for inspiration that is part of the human condition that we all share.”
‘I am Him’
A monumental masterpiece by Lehi resident Dan Wilson depicts a life-size resurrected Christ figure using classical realism painting techniques.
His oil on panel painting titled “I Am He, Revelation 1:18” is 8.5 feet tall and 4.5 feet wide encased in a gold leaf tabernacle frame.
Wilson said Christ’s figure and style compares to that of famed Danish artist Carl Bloch, especially with the draped robes and classic layers of subtle depth. The large, tall design of Wilson’s coin was intentionally integrated with a perceived message, he said.
“I wanted people to be able to interact with the painting and see it from afar and almost feel like they were looking at the real Savior,” Wilson said.
He said there is a certain spiritual power in seeing an original work of art, especially when considering the subject of Christ.
“I wanted to go for a respectful piece that was both bold and subtle. There are a lot of paintings of Christ where the scars on his hands, feet and wrists are so extreme that it’s almost all you can see,” Wilson said. “I wanted to be more subtle with it, but bold with the subject matter with the actual size of the Savior.”
Part of the reason the jurors selected the piece for the highest honor in the exhibition stemmed from the ambitious undertaking of creating such a large-scale figure, but also that the demonstration of the technical execution showed a certain sensitivity to the given subject.
“Everyone will find a moment in painting that feels so natural to them. It seems effortless, even though it’s painstaking work that he did,” Weiss said of Wilson’s article.
The award-winning artwork took about seven months to complete.
Illustrating his ministry
A mixed media piece by Mary Jane Smith and co-artist Gloriana Miles titled “I am the vine, you are the branches” features the life and teachings of Christ on an ornately decorated wooden table. Words and images of biblical scenes cover the entire surface of the table, including the four legs, the edges of the table and the top.
Miles designed the layout of the table surface while his mother, Smith, used a fine-tipped engraving tool to outline the scriptural scenes which were then painted over with color.
“The table has been quite a miracle in our lives. Our whole family participated in it, as I asked everyone for their favorite Jesus story, and I described every story they gave me on the play,” Smith said of his entry, which was won a jury merit award.
The narrative on the table begins with the birth of Christ in a manger, then continues with a scene of him calling his disciples. Viewers then see footage depicting the Sermon on the Mount, a woman touching the hem of Christ’s garment, the crucifixion of Christ, the tomb and his resurrection and finally ending with the scene of Christ appearing at the Temple of Bountiful.
“You can be deeply touched by every art form in so many ways,” Smith said. “Visual art is such a personal thing and everyone can be affected by it very differently. It has the ability to touch you and teach you.
Weiss said other accepted works shared ideas from Judaism, agnostic viewpoints, Buddhism, and other belief ideologies. She said the annual art exhibition has the ability to develop sensitivity and build perspective.
“We are really proud that the show is non-denominational so that it can be a place where people come together to talk about different ideas, to explore different ideas, to defend their own faith and also to better understand the faith of others. ,” Weiss said.
“Any art museum is really about helping people grow, build themselves and better understand themselves, understand the world and their place in the world – and this show does that.”
30TH ANNUAL UTAH SPIRITUAL AND RELIGIOUS ART EXHIBITION
Or: Springville Art Museum, 126 E. 400 South, Springville
When: Now until January 12. Tuesday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Mondays and public holidays.
Tickets: Free entrance
Information: (801) 489-2727, smofa.org