Christ on the cross, a woman reading a magazine and an aerial view of Old Nauvoo, as expressions of religion and spirituality, have been brought together in Springville to celebrate the holiday season.
Springville Museum of Art is hosting its 26th annual Spiritual and Religious Art of Utah exhibit, open now through Dec. 27. The exhibit was open to any artist who wanted to submit their work. There were no guidelines for the medium of the art, nor the religious aspect, as long as it was spiritual.
Museum curator Ashlee Whitaker said although many of the 341 submissions were aesthetically compelling, the committee chose 179 which had the greatest representation of spirituality.
“We want to make sure that we have a good array of different types of ideas, different ways of seeing religion or spirituality, different styles, different media,” Whitaker said. “We took all those into consideration to make it a show that guarantees that there will be something that resonates with everyone.”
Because of its location in Utah County, a predominately Christian area, the majority of the submissions are Christian-based. However, with the Hare Krishna temple so close, Whitaker said they also receive Hindu, Buddhist and other non-Christian art every year.
“This year, we have a really wide spectrum, and I like that,” Whitaker said. “Even among the LDS subjects that we might be more familiar with because of the culture and community we live in, a lot of interpretations of those subjects are fresh.”
The works in the exhibit span many mediums, from dioramas to oil on canvas. Artist Trevin Prince used his own blood and resin on plexiglass to create his piece, “Serrano de Christo.” Joe Norman created Ammo Table, a table filled with ammunition, with Christ’s image in the ammunition.
This was Mark Stahmann’s first time submitting a painting for this specific exhibit, but has worked with the museum for other special exhibits. He submitted “The Worth of a Soul,” a piece depicting Christ on the cross. Stahmann cited the painters Nicolas Moreau and Diego Velazquez as inspiration, as well as “Wings,” a well-known photo of Michael Jordan, as the picture that made him think about turning a painting of Christ to be more of a portrait.
Although the painting has been well-received, Stahmann did not paint it with the intention of turning it into the museum.
“I painted it more for myself, I just really wanted to portray the reality of the Atonement,” Stahmann said. “Basically I was bearing my testimony visually.”