Art exhibit traces events of Jesus’ life

By Ramon Gonzalez
Western Catholic Reporter

EDMONTON (CCN) — Regina artist Louise Tessier has been creating ceramic art tiles since the late 1990s. But when she came across the writings of Rev. Thomas Stanley, a Marianist priest from Ohio, her work found a new, singular focus.

Stanley had taken the Scriptural Stations of the Cross and added his own meditations based on flowers and plants. That seemed a perfect fit for Tessier’s ceramic tiles which were already based on garden themes.

Stanley’s writings, entitled The Garden Way of the Cross, planted a seed in Tessier’s mind and heart. She felt a deep calling to this project through both her faith and her art.

After receiving permission from Stanley in 2009 to use his writings, Tessier spent two years designing and creating 15 ceramic art tiles that would accompany his writings. She worked simultaneously on a rug hooking project in honour of the Virgin Mary called Our Lady of the Prairies.

While working in these two projects, Tessier pondered what to do with them once completed. The answer seemed to be to create an exhibition about the life of Jesus and invite other artists to join.

That’s how the group exhibition, Moved by the Spirit, which is being shown in the Basilian Fathers’ Museum in Mundare until Nov. 5, came to be.

Along with Tessier, 11 artists from different faith perspectives are exhibiting works in ceramics, glass, wood, book arts, textiles, stained glass, jewelry, painting and iconography at the museum.

All the works express significant events in the life of Jesus, from his birth to his ascension.

“There are some beautiful pieces here,” noted museum director Karen Lemiski. “We are much honoured to have this exhibit. We want to give people who are interested in their church, in their faith, a chance to come out and look at these pieces and think of the episodes from the life of Christ.”

The birth of Jesus is depicted in a set of three hooked rugs by Regina artist Doris Fulmore. Jesus’ early years in the Temple are represented in two scrolls and a manuscript by artist Kristina Komendant of Blaine Lake, Sask.

Jesus’ baptism is portrayed through a glass and concrete bowl made by Janice Stefan of Regina and his first miracle at Cana through a clay pitcher from Cara Driscoll, also of Regina.

Regina artist Judy Zawacki made a silver neckpiece to represent the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount and Barb Goretzky of Lumsden, Sask., made a clay sculpture to show the feeding of the 5,000.

The Transfiguration is depicted in a wall hanging created by Anna Hergert of Buffalo Pound, Sask. A stained glass by Jose Ventura of Gibsons, B.C., portrays the triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Passion Sunday.

Jesus’ Last Supper, crucifixion and resurrection through the 14 Stations of the Cross are depicted in Tessier’s set of 15 ceramic art tiles.

His post-resurrection appearance to Thomas is seen through an acrylic painting on canvas by Regina painter Roberto Lopez Lopez and his ascension into heaven in glory is represented in a Russian-style icon created by artist Jenny Ward of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Lastly, Mary, the mother of Jesus, is honoured in a large rug hooking created by Tessier. Lemiski says Tessier’s tapestry is sure to draw people because of the prairies theme with the wheat in the background and the blue sky.

However, the piece that seems to be drawing most attention is Lopez’s depiction of the resurrection appearance of Jesus to Thomas. “There is something about this composition, the colours, I’m not sure, but people are drawn to this one,” Lemiski said.

POST-RESURRECTION — Regina painter Roberto Lopez Lopez’s acrylic painting of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearance to Thomas (left) is drawing considerable attention at the Moved by the Spirit exhibit at the Basilian Fathers Museum in Mundare. The exhibit is on display until Nov. 5.

Tessier said she hopes the exhibition will inspire teachers and students to create works of art that give honour to God and Bible groups to meditate on the art pieces.

“I encourage everyone to visit the Moved by the Spirit exhibition to use it as a means of spiritual enrichment both personally and within their church communities.”

Since July 2011 the exhibition has toured to 10 communities in the U.S. and Canada. Following Mundare, the tour will conclude with a visit to the Allie Griffin Gallery in Weyburn, Sask.

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