New scriptural art: 'Seek My Face' exhibit opens at Church History Museum
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Coinciding with the Easter season, the Church History Museum has opened a new exhibit featuring works of art from 29 LDS professional painters and sculptors focusing on Jesus Christ, His life and His gospel as contained in the Bible and the Book of Mormon.
"Seek My Face: Recent Artwork on Scriptural Themes" opened earlier this month and will close in June. President Thomas S. Monson on March 10 cut ceremonial ribbons at the museum for this exhibit and one on quilting.
Prominent artists such as Walter Rane, Brian Kershisnik, Jonathan Linton, Emily McPhie, James Christensen and Del Parson have their work featured in the new exhibit.
Among themes and subjects explored in the exhibit are Christ's influence in one's personal life, the parable of the 10 virgins, the martyrdom of Abinadi, the Second Coming, the divine condition, the theophany on Mount Sinai, Christ's healing hand, the childhood of Christ, the Savior's love for children, the visit of the resurrected Christ to the Nephites, the martyrdom of Christ, the Atonement and revelation about Christ.
The exhbit name, "Seek My Face," is taken from the title of one of the works, a vivid portrait of Christ by Gary Smith, and is drawn from an Old Testament passage, 2 Chronicles 7:14-15, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open and mine ears attent unto the prayer. ..."
The exhibit items are from a project organized by Artist Guild International L.L.C. a cooperative of 60 or so LDS artists. "Drawing upon both the written word and the artists' own experiences, the artwork is filled with messages of hope and love, testifying of the mission of Christ," reads one of the exhibit panels.
For example, "The Angels Ministered" by Walter Rane depicts the resurrected Christ embracing children one by one as the Nephite multitude presses toward Him with their young ones while the sky above them is filled with a multitude of heavenly beings descending in light and glory.
A grouping of bronze sculptures by Dennis Smith depicts the young Jesus being held by Mary, His mother; as a youth being instructed in carpentry by Joseph; and as a 12-year-old being "About [His] Father's Business" in the temple at Jerusalem.
Yet another sculpture by Brother Smith, "Behold I Am Jesus Christ," shows the resurrected Lord descending as some of the Nephite multitude gaze upward.
"Of Such Is the Kingdom of Heaven" by Michael Malm is a painting showing Jesus with children in a colorful flower garden, His disciples standing by.
"Gethsemane" by Gregory Mortenson, depicts Christ, as He bears the burden of the Atonement, being comforted by an angel, a painting reminiscent of a similar work by Karl Bloch.
Like the Gary Smith work referenced above, some of the works are simply new and striking portrait studies of the Christ, such as "Jesus" by Patrick Devonas, "Hope in Christ's Second Coming" by Del Parson,"The Foundation of Our Faith" by Ryan Brown and "Behold the Man" by Christopher Young.
Some works show Christ influencing the individual, such as "Help Thou My Unbelief" by Niki Covington, depicting the incident of Mark 9:24. Another painting, "The Master's Touch" by Gregory K. Olsen, shows Jesus as He might have appeared in mortality but sitting with a modern-day girl of teen years, tenderly touching and perhaps consoling her.
Not all of the exhibit items are representational. A few abstract works are included, such as "Revelation 19:13, the Word of God" by Todd Stilson, conveying the artist's interpretation of that passage of scripture, John's vision of Christ "clothed with a vesture dipped in blood," the armies of heaven following Him "upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean."
Andrew Kosorok's "Wheels of Ezekiel" and "Sons of Adam, Daughters of Eve" are created from etched pieces of colored glass bound and sewn together with twine and string, depicting Bible subjects.