Art exhibit highlights Christian symbol

From a sixth century coin, to pieces from the Middle Ages and  Renaissance, to modern American works, the Cross/ Purpose art exhibit displays how artists throughout history have depicted the crucifix and cross in various expressive ways.

The traveling show from Christians in the Visual Arts includes 49 artworks and is on view until Feb. 1 in the Baugh Center for the Visual Arts. An opening reception was held Jan. 10.

Professor and Chair for the art department Hershall Seals said the exhibit complements the university’s values.

“Since this is a Christian institution, we felt it was a really good fit to bring quality works of art that deal with our primary theological source, which is Christ,” he said.

Though it deals with a religious theme, Seals believes it can be of interest to a wide audience.

“The show is not only interesting to Christians who are more theologically  interested, but it’s also a show that appeals to fine artists who may or may not be that enthused about the subject,” he said.

“What’s so interesting is the variety of art in it and the quality of the prints and drawings and paintings.”

With pieces spanning so many time periods, the exhibit is also a lesson in art history and has received positive reactions so far.

“People who have seen the show love it,” Seals said. “I think they can get a miniature art history overview…. You can see by looking from picture to picture to picture where that thing came from,historically speaking, by the way that image is drawn, the technique. To me, the takeaway is the beauty of the differences in the art historical time frame.”

Sophomore graphic design major Brittany Davis found the etchings particularly  interesting.

“They had so much detail on such a small amount of space,” she said.

Sophomore fine arts major Sarah Wright was also impressed with the quality of the show’s pieces.

“I really enjoyed looking at the old lithograph pieces that incorporated a lot of figures, symbols and beautiful details of the moment Jesus was on the cross. I also enjoyed looking at the abstract versions of Jesus’s crucifixion as well. The impact of the harsh lines and the use of colors emphasized the pain and suffering He had endured,” she said.

Overall, Davis enjoyed the exhibit’s theme and the quality of the show and believes other students should take advantage of the opportunities to see such works.

“UMHB chooses art exhibits that have a lot of meaning,” she said. “All art is meant to communicate to the viewer. That’s the point of art, to evoke feeling and emotion, so the art chosen at UMHB really represents our school as a whole….”

Seals said the Cross/ Purpose exhibit, as well as other shows are part of the department’s efforts to create a well-rounded individual with a broad sense of the world in which they live.

He said, “It’s not that we’re trying to force culture down people’s throats, but we’re making more aggressively available to students objects of beauty here in the art department, and objects that make people think.”

Author: JC Jones

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