LATROBE, PA – The 8th Catholic Arts Biennial is opening on Sept. 6 in the Verostko Center for the Arts at Saint Vincent College and will run through Oct. 29, with an opening reception planned for Sunday, Sept. 12.
The reception will include a public lecture on contemporary Christian art from the juror for this year’s exhibition, David Brinker, at 1:00 pm at the Fred M. Rogers Center on campus. Mr. Brinker is the director of the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art at Saint Louis University. Following the lecture, attendees are invited to the Verostko Center for the Arts to view the Biennial exhibition.
The opening reception event on Sept. 12 is free and open to the public, and all guests must register at https://hipaa.jotform.com/212266403825149. Off-campus guests not attending the reception but still wishing to view the exhibition must make an appointment prior to in order to visit the Center. Appointments can be made by emailing email@example.com.
This year’s Biennial will feature the work of 49 contemporary artists, working across media to visualize the stories, beliefs and rituals of Christianity in new and interesting ways. Utilizing modern methods as well as traditional techniques, the artists have created images of Christ, the Virgin Mary, the saints, biblical narratives and the sacraments, as well as work that engages the contemporary world from perspectives of faith.
The work assembled as part of this year’s Biennial encourages reflection surrounding the cosmos, the interconnectivity of human and ecological life, racial injustice and the sanctity of human life, thus offering meaningful insights into what it means to be a Christian living in the second decade of the twenty-first century.
The 2021 Biennial specifically encouraged submissions from women and persons of color in an effort to amplify artists whose work has been overwhelmingly absent from America’s churches and largely omitted from Western art historical surveys, as well as to deepen the collective understanding and appreciation of the diversity of Catholic art being made today.
Mr. Brinker selected 49 works from 396 submissions completed by 159 artists working across the United States as well as internationally. The pieces chosen visually animate sacred stories, pose critical questions and encourage new understandings of our contemporary moment from perspectives of faith, which all serve as a reminder to look for God in both likely and unlikely places.
Brinker notes, “Representing a range of media and perspectives, this juried exhibition includes examples of traditional imagery and methods, works that dialogue with and reinterpret tradition, and other works that propose new conversations and perspectives. In their diversity they reflect the many currents that contribute to contemporary American Catholicism and offer insights into both the beauty and challenges of living out faith in our times.”
The first Biennial Juried Catholic Arts Competition and Exhibition was initiated in 2001 by the late Brother Nathan Cochran, O.S.B. Br. Nathan’s aim with the Exhibition was to help facilitate a dialogue between pastors, churches and the faithful who wished to commission new and original works of art for liturgical, devotional and domestic spaces.
Given the evolving situation concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, all visitors to Saint Vincent College are required to wear a mask while indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Guests will be required to follow all COVID-19 mitigation strategies set forth in the Saint Vincent Health and Safety Plan while on campus. For the latest information about these protocols, please visit https://www.stvincent.edu/resources/covid-19-updates/index.html.
Photo 1: David Miriello, Saint Francis and the Natural World, oil paint and gold leaf on wood with copper repossessed, 49.5" x 22"
Photo 2: Kay Vass Darling, Gold Madonna, acrylic on canvas, 14" x 11"