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Contemplating The Light of the World

Contemplating The Light of the World

 

mount taborRecently on display in the gallery of the villa Via Sacra in Barga, Italy is the work of two artists whose contemplation of the sacred is expressed in abstraction. The exhibit, Luce del Mondo, The Light of the World, presents the recent work of Florentine artist, Filippo Rossi and Kansas City born painter, Susan Kanaga. The two unite in their consideration of the Light of the World: the light of Christ which illuminates, the light of Christ which saves.

 

tenebrae Luce del Mondo is sponsored by The Mount Tabor Ecumenical Centre for Art and Spirituality, founded in 2013 at Barga, Italy. The new Centre is a mission of the Community of Jesus, a Christian monastic community in Orleans, Massachusetts. It promotes the study of three central aspect s of the Community’s life — monastic spirituality, sacred art, and ecumenical exchange—at the international level. The exhibit brings together two artists, Rossi, Italian and Roman Catholic, Kanaga, American and Protestant, both contemplatives, both rooted in their calls.

tenebrae2The pursuit of abstraction has always been about one kind of purity or another—pure form, pure color, pure paint. The establishment of the genre in the Early Modern era was accompanied by one artist’s manifesto after another, each declaring the transcendence of their ideal as they slipped the moorings of conventional content. Rossi and Kanaga both draw inspiration for their work directly from their Christian faith and employ the richness of their respective vocabularies of abstract form to plumb the depth of its expression.

kanage

While contemplation of The Light of the World may well be beyond traditional figurative reference and the “things of this world,” both artists maintain their connection to the world we live in through their exuberant attention to surface. The elaborate layering of both traditional and non-traditional material, the distillation of form, and the focused application of color and texture found on the surfaces of their work recalls the loving labor of Renaissance or Medieval masters.

 

The work of both artists invites the viewer to undertake the journey into the sacred, rooted in constructs of meaningful form and inspired to joyful abandon with radiant expanses of luminous gold leaf and uncompromising color. Rossi and Kanaga give clear reference to themes of hope and the celebration of the salvific intervention of created light into the pain and darkness of the world.
rossiRossi’s bright forms communicate his belief that through the light of Christ our lives become full of color. The light of Christ is pure and contains all color; it is the sum of all colors. Rossi’s polystyrene panels employ two and three dimensions to present richly textured layers of pigment and gold for our contemplation as we embrace and walk in the light of Christ. The work, Bright Start presents another aspect of the “Light of the World”. The golden hemisphere emerging from a surface permeated with color in a pure white field can be seen to represent the light and purity of Christ present from the foundation of the world: Uncreated Light creating the light that endures in spite of the brokenness it encounters.

In Fiat Lux: Let There be Light, Kanaga’s rich color and gold leaf are meticulously layered over a foundation of God’s Word; pieces of biblical text are both concealed and revealed by the sumptuously textured pigment and gold. Thus, this world’s darkness and imperfection, represented by the rough textures and scrumbled colors, is mediated and pierced by the Light-bearing gold forms whose energy and shape suggest the presence of angels.

The inaugural exhibit of the Mount Tabor Foundation, Luce del Mundo, has been on display in Barga throughout the summer. It travels next to the Church of the Transfiguration  at the Community of Jesus in Orleans, Massachusetts where it will open on November 28 in conjunction with the Lux in Tenebris  Artist’s Retreat.

Lux in Tenebris:  Advent Encounters With Art presents an opportunity for artists and art lovers alike to explore Advent themes with the investigation of sacred art experienced within the monastic context of the ecumenical Community of Jesus on Cape Cod, MA. Participants prepare for the coming of the Light of the World with Art Historian Timothy Verdon, Director of the Office of Sacred Art from Florence, Italy and Florentine artist, Filippo Rossi. Verdon and Rossi will both deliver a series of lectures on sacred art and the artist’s call. Verdon’s topics include: Art and Faith: Monasticism and the Arts, The Artist’s Faith and Creativity, Art and Life: The Incarnation and the Visual Arts, The Artist’s Life and Creativity, Art and Prayer Contemplative Art, The Artist’s Prayer and Creativity, Art and Communion: The Eucharist and the Arts.  Rossi will speak on The Sign of the Cross, Lux in Tenebris, and Magnificat. Interspersed with slide shows and lectures, the retreat will include quiet times for reflection, Monastic Vespers, graciously prepared meals, and outings to notable Art Galleries in the surrounding area.

The retreat is available as a one-day experience, or a full five-day encounter, with accommodations provided at Paraclete Retreat House at the Community of Jesus in Orleans, Massachusetts.  For more information, visit www.mounttabor.it, contact art@mounttabor.it or call 508-240-7090.

Anna Mitchell is a Senior Designer for Paraclete Press and the Director of the Patmos Art Center at the Community of Jesus in Orleans, Massachusetts.

Auction 35 Interview with Roger Feldman

Auction 35 Interview with Roger Feldman

An Interview with Roger Feldman Roger Feldman offered a drawing of cement and charcoal for the 35th Anniversary Auction November 12 – 21, 2014. The drawing translates both structure and eruption. I imagine the materials both delineating a specific place and freezing an action. The drawing, “Elegant Position,” harks from an earlier point in hisContinue Reading

CIVA 35th Anniversary Auction Preview by Linda Møskeland Fuchs

CIVA 35th Anniversary Auction Preview by Linda Møskeland Fuchs

CIVA’s 35th Anniversary Auction will be held from November 14 to November 23, bid online here.  Buy some art, and support the work of CIVA! Highlights this year are diverse in media and sensibility, often provoking thought as much as moving the spirit. Let me introduce you to a few of my favorites: David McCoy’s ‘two matchedContinue Reading

Invitation to CIVA Symposium NYC

(Video) Wayne Adams (CIVA President of the Board) invites you to the How Art Works Symposium next weekend, October 11, in New York City. Join us! Learn more and register here.

Bursting Wineskins – African Christianity And African Christian Art

Bursting Wineskins – African Christianity And African Christian Art

By Diane B. Stinton (from SEEN Journal XIV.1, Unsettled Ground) A master artist with words, Jesus spoke his first parable portraying the gospel as new wine that required new wineskins. Otherwise, the dynamic effervescence of the new wine would burst the crusty, old wineskins (Luke 5:37-38). This graphic image not only depicts the gospel thatContinue Reading

Introducing Chris Anderson our Sourcebook Juror

Introducing Chris Anderson our Sourcebook Juror

In their day, CIVA’s founders saw the rift between visual art and Christian faith widening. This observation caused them to gather a community of the faithful to fill that gap. Thirty-five years later, CIVA claims members and friends around the world. As CIVA continues the important work of networking, connecting, and gathering this community, ourContinue Reading

Doing Good Well: Come to the Table

Doing Good Well: Come to the Table

Doing Good Well is CIVA’s leadership development for young women in the arts. This year, the conference will happen August 29-September 1 at the Grunewald Guild in Leavenworth, Washington. The Guild is a perfect setting for our weekend; nestled near the Wenatchee River, its grounds are a beautiful retreat. There are 23 women in ourContinue Reading

How Art Works NYC Symposium

How Art Works NYC Symposium

Join us in October for How Art Works, CIVA’s first Symposium in New York City. Bring a friend. Help us spread the word about this event. The formal press release can be found here, and the latest information is at the How Art Works page. What is an artist’s vocation, and how do we nurture and sustain it? WhatContinue Reading

What DGW means to me

What DGW means to me

What does it mean to be an artist? It is a question I have mulled over for quite some time now. There are days where I know exactly what that means, but more often than not I find myself wondering if I even fit the bill. Add to that questions of what it means toContinue Reading

Tom Hanks, Enchantment, and the Artist’s Vocation

Tom Hanks, Enchantment, and the Artist’s Vocation

By Cameron J. Anderson In the second scene of his film, Cast Away (2000), director Robert Zemeckis introduces us to Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks), a zealous FedEx executive. Viewers find Noland in Moscow where he, via his Russian translator, exhorts FedEx employees to increase their efficiency. Having completed his mission, Chuck hurries home to joinContinue Reading