A space…sides, a ceiling/roof, a floor/ground…can engender a mood and draw us into the spirit it generates. Sometimes cavernous, sometimes small and tight, certain places help move us deep inside ourselves; others open our being to the vastness of the universe; genuinely spiritual places often do both.
We have invited artists to share spaces they have encountered or created using photography or sculpture that evoke a sense of the spiritual.
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Welcome to Sacred Spaces/Holy Places here at St. Luke's Nails in the Wall Gallery. The snow certainly made it difficult for us to get to this place, but we are so happy all of us could be here today. All of us members of the Gallery Ministry, the Parish Sexton, Robbie Robins, the Parish Secretary Karina Davis, our wonderful art partner THE METUCHEN INN, and our Pastor, Fr. Ed Zelley all work together to make the gallery a reality. And today we are especially grateful to David Davis for creating such a wonderful sound environment for this event.
As we approach our mission here at St. Luke's Nails in the Wall Ministry, we bring together artwork around a theme that speaks directly to the human spirit, not particularly populist ideas or topics of current concern, but rather, we select themes that stand on the edge . . . to get to the center of life. In doing that, we call artists to look at their work in a fresh way and viewers to bring eye and mind and yes, a ‘third eye’ to what is included.
I’d like to take a few minutes now to share some of the ways the art here connects and contrasts around the idea of ‘sacred space.’
Beginning with shapes: doorways, arched windows, medieval Christian and Islamic pointed arches all immediately speak to us of “the holy”…our eyes and minds have been trained that way. I point out Martha Kerr’s work in particular, in that she is currently working on a project “Portals, the Spirit of Place”.
I was immediately struck by the quiet of the photographs that were submitted. Most were surprisingly B&W…there was a hush to them. Walter Oliver, for example, in his statement, acknowledges that he “consciously seeks images that instill a feeling of calm and beg for contemplation.”
I do point you to the Portfolio. I honestly have not seen such an interesting group of statements as we have for this show. I encourage you to read them…come back to the show…it is on until May 15…definitely spend time both with the work and the Portfolio.
From Ivia Sky with her freshly-minted BA from Bard, she explores light and the way the immaterial overlaps with the material—with that orange cross included, she seems to have us question: is it the light or is it the cross? Of course light is the issue for all photographers, isn’t it.
Veronica Gabet’s graffiti image speaks directly to that as do so many of those who included images of the outdoors.
One of the delights for me about this exhibit was the decision of some artists to submit human images as sacred spaces.
Norine Kevolic’s work, three powerful images of enlightenment and woder, that place the person as part of the space are particularly strong. I invite you to speak with Norine about her work as well as her mosaic process.
The mosaic masks of Ronald LaMahieu bring us to be aware of those people who create a sacred space for themselves through mask and ceremonial clothing…an inventive lot we are!
Christiana Saj’s glorious fiberglass sculpture of St. Francis presents the man whose very being became so sacred it was marked by the stigmata, the wounds of Christ. Christina presents Francis as bright and connected to all the things of the earth.
Sybil Archibald’s Teacher, a sculpture of Meister Eckhardt, too, reveals the person as sacred, a space ripped open to be filled with the Spirit.
Mark Harris’ photographs and Sally Dill’s photo montage both bring us to considering the specific sacredness of the feminine. Mark presents the pregnant image with elegance and respect while Sally places the “at rest feminine” in her words,” at the apex of hierarchical sacred space, bringing whol-i-ness and creating a wholly space.”
In similar spirit, we are honored to have Daniel Nelson’s Niche for Maryam included in this exhibit. Relating specifically to Mary of Nazareth, I invite Daniel to speak about the niche and offer the translation of the Islamic script around it. **
ow, just two other pieces I think it important to highlight: the first, the very interesting installation by artist Miriam Stern. Her work arrived from the Chicago Museum of Art. Miriam could not be with us today…and so graciously created a brief video explaining the work. **
As Miriam questions a practice in her own faith tradition, so Lisa Westheimer looks “with anxiety, sorrow and disgust” at the clergy abuse in her own Church and the way it has taken a sacred space and made it something quite other. Again, I invite you to speak with Lisa about her sculpture The Holy Innocents as well as her others, which have a slightly different cast.
Thank all of you for joining us…come back…bring friends…do sign the register!
Ministry Chair, Nails in the Wall Gallery: A Ministry of St. Luke’s
** CLICK HERE to link to the videos of these two brief presentations.
Saint Luke's Episcopal Church
September 25, 2016 – December 31, 2016
Sacred Spaces / Holy Places
an exhibit of sculpture and photography
About the exhibit
17 Oak Avenue
Metuchen, NJ 08840
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