We see within the abundant mysteries of the Genesis creation account the foundational nature of God as Maker, one who shapes meaning out of formlessness, makes ideas concrete and appreciates physical beauty. God’s character is fully manifest in this creation, the extravagant love and creative energy expressed in the language of material, form and space. All of which resonate deeply with the artist of faith, whose days are filled with speculative labor and uncertain possibilities, and in the service of motives often at odds with the larger culture. Making is always, it seems, an act of faith. It is good to be reminded of our foundations.
The 2017 CIVA conference at Azusa Pacific University is an opportunity for artists to gather and celebrate the full spectrum of ideas about Making Now, an integral aspect of our humanity as beings created in the reflection of God. In this act we find kinship with artists stretching back through time and across barriers of language and culture, a community of believers known by the work of their hands. It is a shared experience that shapes the artist as much as the object, and allows for expressions of meaning, the investigation of materials and perceptual viewpoints, and moments of aesthetic appreciation within our communities. Making interweaves the entirety of our theology, from its first words to its culminating promise of a new world yet to come.
To address these lofty and wide-ranging ideas, our June conference will be organized around a series of plenary sessions or hosted conversations. Here is a quick look at these sessions, including a list of participants in each:
Plenary 1 – Making the Un/Common: A discussion on the roles of the Artist, Curator, Writer, and Collector
Panelists present and discuss the recent retrospective exhibition Lynn Aldrich: Un/Common Objects. The artist, curator, writer, and collector are four integral roles that are critical to fostering a dynamic visual arts culture. With the exhibition serving as a point of focus, the panelists will discuss their perspectives on each of their roles as makers of contemporary cultural activity. How does a Christian worldview inform their participation? How do they navigate the current discourse and the constant changes in how art is viewed and distributed?
G. James Daichendt
Plenary 2A – Art as Act of Faith: Toward a Christomorphic Art
The act of creating always navigates the now and the not yet. One acts now in the hope of a future completion–whether that completion is as a finished object or action or as a set of future actions or responses. Is a Christian Art that which includes Christian content and themes or is there something more elemental to art and art-making that is fundamentally Christian? This session will explore the dynamics and dynamic understandings of contemporary Christian art.
Brent Everett Dickinson
Plenary 2B – The Street Art Era
Street Art has changed the way we engage the visual arts. Dubbed the art of the people, the international scope, popularity, and enthusiasm behind this movement has crossed all borders and become the most relevant visual art form since Pop Art. From alleys to art fairs, street art has transcended its purpose and possibly undercut its foundation to become a dangerous alternative to the art world. However, what role does Christianity and ethics play in an activity rooted in illegal activity. Join scholars G. James Daichendt and Shelby Moser along with artist Morley as they wrestle with the historical impact, leading figures, and trends that have made this a significant issue.
Plenary 3 – Art Prize
A sneak peak of a new film by documentary film by Jody Hassett Sanchez that explores the experience, aesthetics, and politics of the Grand Rapid Art Prize competition.
Jody Hasset Sanchez
Plenary 4A – Making Meaning: Excavating Technologies of the Soul – Making Practices/Spiritual Practices
In this current climate of change, environmental devastation, economic upheaval and social uncertainty, how is it that art making is, as Martha Nussbaum asserts, a necessity? This panel explores the premise that Arts practices and Spiritual practices are both active practices through which we come to knowing, that hone our capacity to listen, that scrutinize interior and exterior, teach us to pay attention and prepare us to navigate what is ahead. If we practice self emptying listening as our compositional and spiritual method, then perhaps we will receive a word, an image worth hearing, worth making, that might surprise even the maker, that might constitute new knowledge. Explore with us the surprisingly wide overlapping territory between these generative active practices.
Erica L. Grimm
Richard Ganz, S.J.
Plenary 4B – Shaking Things Up: Platforms for Visual Dialogue
What are the topics and issues curators are engaging now? How do curators tackle social-political issues and create a platform for artists to have a dialogue? In this session, curator panelists engage in a roundtable discussion that touches on the responsibilities and challenges of creating a forum that intersects relevant issues, the visual arts, and the public sphere.
Plenary 5 – MAKING NEXT
Making Next brings together a variety of practitioners in the art and faith conversation around central questions of who we are, what we are doing and what influences are guiding us to move beyond where we are now. Particular attention will be directed to distilling our experience at the CIVA conference and unpacking its implication as we move forward, both individually and collectively.
Michelle Westmark Wingard
Sunday Morning Worship – MAKING NEW
Morning worship and liturgy led by friends from the Brehm Center, Fuller Theological Seminary, and a homily provided by art historian and theologian Bill Dyrness.