BETA

Remembering the great things of God

The reasons art is created can be as diverse as its many creators. Art can be crafted to instruct, encourage, discourage, clarify or confuse. At its best, it can inspire and testify. Art can help believers remember the great things of God.

A sculpted bust of Jesus Christ by Luis Enrique Rosado Montes.
A sculpted bust of Jesus Christ by Luis Enrique Rosado Montes. Photo: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

"To have art serve that purpose is one of the highest purposes that art can possibly fulfill," said Church Historian and Recorder Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the Seventy.

Elder Jensen presided March 20 at the opening reception of the Church's 8th International Art Competition appropriately entitled "Remembering the Great Things of God." The exhibition includes nearly 200 artworks from Church members hailing from dozens of countries. The display is varied in both medium and subject — yet all the pieces work together to celebrate the many wonders of the divine.

As a self-described "non-artist," Elder Jensen said he was moved by the collective talent on display in the exhibit.

For the first time, the International Art Competition is being hosted in the Grand Atrium Foyer of the Conference Center.
For the first time, the International Art Competition is being hosted in the Grand Atrium Foyer of the Conference Center. Photo: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
Hundreds tour the 8th International Art Competition opening at the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City.
Hundreds tour the 8th International Art Competition opening at the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City. Photo: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

"I stand in awe of those who have contributed to this competition," he said.

Held every three years, the international competition has truly become a global art event. Almost 1,100 professional and amateur artists from 44 nations submitted entries. More than a quarter of those participants came from outside the United States. Many enlisted their own regional traditions in their respective work. Visitors to the popular exhibit will enjoy the artistic influence and flavors of Africa, Latin America, North America, Europe, Asia and the South Pacific.

Church History Museum curator Robert Davis said the international art competition began 22 years ago in an effort to produce and support inspiring works of art. Many pieces of art from past competitions have been utilized in Church magazines, publications and lesson manuals to illustrate and enrich gospel teachings and principles. Several pieces that were first seen in one of the competitions now hang in print form in temples and meetinghouses throughout the world.

Mexican artist Erendira de Martinez Hernandez communicates the Lord's universal love for the children of the world in the oil on wood painting "With No Exception of Persons." The piece is reflective of the diverse style found in the exhibition.
Mexican artist Erendira de Martinez Hernandez communicates the Lord's universal love for the children of the world in the oil on wood painting "With No Exception of Persons." The piece is reflective of the diverse style found in the exhibition. Photo: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
Utah artist Adam Abram captures Christ's intense suffering in his oil painting "Gethsemane." Depictions of the Savior were among the most common subjects presented by the dozens of artists included in the exhibition. Other popular subjects included essential moments from the scriptures and the lives of women.
Utah artist Adam Abram captures Christ's intense suffering in his oil painting "Gethsemane." Depictions of the Savior were among the most common subjects presented by the dozens of artists included in the exhibition. Other popular subjects included essential moments from the scriptures and the lives of women. Photo: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

"We hope the [artwork] produces happiness and joy and perhaps clarifies understanding," said Brother Davis, adding that the gospel is advanced through such shows.

Exhibition organizer Ray Halls said the Lord's hand could be traced in each step in the latest installment of the competition. A team of jurors and advisors worked together to select the artwork that was included in the exhibit. This year's theme was deliberately general, offering the artists much latitude on how they visually articulated "the great things of God."

"Beginning of Enlightenment," by Melissa F. Clark, depicts the conversion of Alma the Younger.  The artwork was crafted from cut paper.
"Beginning of Enlightenment," by Melissa F. Clark, depicts the conversion of Alma the Younger. The artwork was crafted from cut paper. Photo: Photo by Scott G.Winterton

Depictions of the Savior and the lives of LDS women are the exhibit's most common themes. Other popular subjects include episodes from the scriptures, gospel teachings, pivotal moments of Church history and children. While oil paintings are the show's most prevalent medium, an impressive collection of sculptures, ceramics, stained glass and textiles are also on display.

The exhibition, said Brother Halls, "truly testifies of God's great work among His children."

For the first time the Church's international art competition is being displayed in the Conference Center. Visitors can view the free exhibit in the Conference Center's Grand Atrium Foyer on the terrace (second) level through Oct. 11, 2009. Past exhibits have been hosted by the Church History Museum.

Twenty artists from the exhibition were honored with awards of merit. Another 18 received purchase awards. (See list on page 10.) Their selections will be added to the Church's permanent art collection. Later, three visitor choice awards will chosen by patrons of the exhibition.

Even as exhibition organizers catch their breath following the unveiling of the exhibition, work is underway for the 9th International Art Competition in 2012. Elder Jensen announced the theme for that competition will be "Make Known His Wonderful Works." Entry information will be posted on the Church History Museum Web site later this year.


Award recipients

Several participants in the 8th International Art Competition received special awards for their entries. Purchase Award recipients will have their artwork become part of the Church History Museum's permanent collection.

MERIT AWARDS

Adam Abram, USA, "Gethsemane," oil painting

Ruben Alfredo Cabrera, Uruguay, "Together Forever," carved wood

Jamie Davis, USA, "Schimmelbusch Family Quilt," quilted fabric

Jacob Elton Dobson, USA, "Articles of Faith 2 and 3," plaster and bronze sculpture

Tracy Ann Holmes, USA, "The Three Gardens," cast porcelain

Irene Monson Jenkins, USA, "Heirloom Blessing Dress," sewn fabric

Lurain Lyman, USA, "Garden Tomb," stained glass

Donna Moyer, USA, "Consider the Lilies," pieced, appliqued, quilted fabric

Nnamdi Okonkwo, Nigeria, "Love," cast bronze

Kathleen Peterson, USA, "The Child," oil painting

Walter Rane, USA, "Blessed Are They Who Are Faithful and Endure," oil on board

Kirk J. Richards, USA, "The Greatest in the Kingdom," oil on canvas

Todd Stilson, USA, "Salvador Mundi," oil on wood panel

Leroy Transfield, New Zealand, "Joseph and the Boy Jesus," terracotta sculpture

Lesa Udall, USA, "Whenever I Hear the Song of Bird," oil on linen

Rebecca Wagstaff, USA, "Passageway," oil on canvas

William Whitaker, USA, "Seven Generations: Rachel Wears Black," oil on panel

Sherri Williams, USA, "Behold Your Little Ones," polymer clay

Blanche Wilson, USA, "I Remember," woodblock print

Janis Wunderlich, USA, "Family Frenzy," built ceramic, multi-fired, glazed

PURCHASE AWARDS

Jubal Aviles Saenz, Mexico, "We Will See Each Other Again on the Other Side," oil on wood

Cassandra Barney, USA, "Atonement," oil on panel

Chin Tai Cheng, Taiwan, "Many People Shall Go," ink on paper

Rose Datoc Dall, USA, "Flight," oil on canvas

Ramon Ely Garcia Rivas, Ecuador, "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go," acrylic and latex on canvas

Filiberto Gutierrez, USA, "Come Unto Jesus," clay, wood, feathers, paint

Michael Malm, USA, "Saving That Which Was Lost," oil painting

Erendira de Martinez Hernandez, Mexico, "With No Exception of Persons," oil on wood

Emily McPhie, USA, "Windows of Heaven," oil on panel

Valentina Museeyenko, Ukraine, "As Sisters in Zion," gel pen graphic on paper

Louise Parker, South Africa, "Who Can Find a Virtuous Woman? II," pigment on paper

Emmalee Rose Glauser Powell, USA, "Joseph William Billy Johnson: Holiness to the Lord," oil painting

Claudio Roberto Ramires, Brazil, "The Spirit of Prayer," acrylic on canvas

Gaylynn Lorene Ribeira, USA, "Bring Up Your Children in Light and Truth," oil on canvas

Asi Meng Tsai, Taiwan, "Teach Me to Walk in the Light," ink on paper

Josephus Van Gemert, Netherlands, "I Am the Alpha and the Omega," screen print on embossed paper

Colleen Wallace, Australia, "Coming of Christ," acrylic on canvas

Elspeth Young, USA, "For Such a Time As This," oil on panel