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Images of Christ

Local exhibit shows diversity through images of Christ’s life

PROVO — At Brigham Young University, local artists currently are sharing wall space with some of the world's renowned painters.

The impressive and unique collection includes 170 paintings, prints, icons, illuminated manuscripts and sculpture from diverse times and creeds.

Local artists are Lee Udall Bennion, Brian T. Kershisnik, J. Kirk Richards, Laurie Olson Lisonbee, Bruce H. Smith, Ron Richmond and Kent Goodliffe.

They share space with Carl Heinrich Bloch, Albrecht Durer, John Rogers Herbert, Sir Edward John Poynter, Rembrandt, Ary Scheffer, Bernard Sleigh, Minerva Teichert and the Workshop of Titian.

Both Richards and Richmond have two oil-on-canvas paintings. The museum commissioned Richmond's "Exchange No. 8" a year and a half ago for its permanent collection.

"It was the only one commissioned for us," said curator Dawn Pheysey.

The other one, "Triplus No. 3," is on loan. Richmond uses reds and whites in his paintings as symbols of sin and redemption, he said.

The colors are based on an OId Testament scripture, Isaiah1:18, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."

Lisonbee describes her piece "Jesus Heals." "Jesus' power to heal is very real and personal to me. I love to think of his hands touching the blind man's eyes. This implies spiritual healing as well as physical healing. Are we not all blind in some sense?

"On another level I was painting a really gut-wrenching experience in my life. Through the experience I shed a spiritual blinder and gain greater clarity of perception.

"In my work I aim for an immediacy and reality, which I hope will draw the viewer right into the space to experience the event."

European artists during the Dark Ages produced many of the works under the control of the Catholic Church. Protestant reformers created others to teach their view of Christ, while still others came from exposure to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Most of the works came from the museum's permanent collection. Others are on loan.

"Our focus is to encourage viewers to look at the different conceptions ... for that which is meaningful and uplifting," Pheysey said.

Pheysey and BYU professors S. Kent Brown and Richard Neitzel Holzapfel have compiled a book on the exhibition, "Beholding Salvation: The Life of Christ in Words and Art."

Upcoming events surrounding the exhibition include:

At a teaching reception from 7-8:30 p.m. on Nov. 30, the Museum of Art education staff will introduce a variety of educational resources available for use with the exhibition, also free and open to the public.

Every Monday night during the exhibition the museum offers free docent-led tours. Other free tours are offered during regular hours. Call the Museum Education Department at 422-1140 to schedule a tour one week in advance.

A series of 14 lectures are scheduled Wednesday evenings beginning in January featuring speakers from the BYU department of religious education.

Other lectures on Thursday evenings also begin in January that address artistic styles and conventions used throughout the history of Christian art. See moa.byu.edu for specific dates and times.

If you go ...

What: "Beholding Salvation: Images of Christ"

Where: Marian Adelaide Morris Cannon Gallery, BYU Museum of Art, Provo

When: through June 16

Cost: free

Phone: 422-1140

Web: moa.byu.edu

E-mail: rodger@desnews.com