Image: Life Away from the Garden by Chris Koelle
April 7 - May 12, 2019.
The definition of the English word illustration is commonly known as “an example serving to clarify or prove something.” To illustrate a point is a staple rhetorical device used in books, essays, speeches, and, in our context, sermons. We unknowingly use this in our everyday speech through similes, analogies, metaphors, and hyperboles. The act of illustrating helps us as humans make sense of our complex world. Similarly, the art of illustration uses images to further a storyline or to make something clear.
Illustration as an art is important for the church the same way storytelling is. Jesus was a master storyteller and rarely made His points in a straightforward way. By using storytelling as a primary mode of communication, God is inviting us into something deeper. Stories engage our imaginations, critical thinking skills, and sense of wonder. Especially in our modern day and age, our imaginations are needed to understand scripture in a fuller way. Unlike the original audiences, we cannot feel the dirt Jesus walked on, taste manna from heaven, or recall from memory the brutality of a Roman execution.
Being able to understand God’s Story with more breadth and depth helps us find our role within it. These illustrations invite us to fully consider the beautiful, painful, miraculous, and ordinary reality of God.
Image: detail of “I am commanding calm” by Jennifer Kramer
February 24 - March 31, 2019
From her artist statement:
“Between the years of 2011 and 2016, I got married, my mother died of cancer, I gave birth to a baby girl, and I got divorced. Each experience, whether joyous or filled with grief, caused monumental shifts in my life. As a trained artist and art therapist, I began turning more and more to my personal artwork in a desperate attempt to make sense of all that I was going through. Within the creative process, supported by many hours of prayer and wise counsel, I gradually found myself coming out of a haze of confusing emotions. This body of work stands as a visual record of all the lost hopes, sadness, fear, anxiety and grief that I walked through. It also reveals the calm, confidence, clarity, insight and empowerment that came as a result.”
- Jennifer Kramer
See more of Jennifer’s work at jenniferakramer.com.
Image: Shade by Aaron Tennessee Benson
January 12 - February 17, 2019.
“Veiled is a series that describes the difficulty in believing in something that you cannot see. I recently was standing at the edge of the Pacific Ocean staring out in wonder at its vastness. It dawned on me that thousands of miles across is the country of Japan. I have met many Japanese people. I have heard Japanese spoken. I have even seen pictures and documentaries about the country. However, I have never been to Japan. As I looked across the great ocean, I thought about the fact that even though I have never been to Japan, to deny its existence would be a grave mistake.
“My faith promises an eternity. I personally believe this is an absolute truth, despite the fact that I have not experienced life after death. This series narrates my thoughts about a truth I believe, but cannot prove. Each sculpture in the series has a veil either literally or figuratively that obscures the gaze of the viewer to see what is on the other side. The tension created when our senses cannot fully deliver the information we crave, to form our experiences, is both mystifying and alluring. While the open and minimal nature of the work resonate qualities of the eternal, working with clay, natural textiles, pigments, and metals allows for the elemental materials to echo what is earthly, human, and finite. The desire to understand, even what is apparently impossible to know through our senses, moves me to make, and in the making my senses appease my thoughts with impressions of the eternal.”
- Aaron Tennessee Benson
See more of Aaron’s work at aarontbenson.com.
by Susan Griffin Ward
December 2, 2018 - January 6, 2019.
Susan Griffin Ward spent a year looking for the sun, photographing and talking with the people met on the corner of Fourth and Muhammad Ali. Exhibited in Sojourn’s Gallery were some of those photographs and snippets of conversation that she compiled in a book, LOOKING FOR THE SUN at Merton’s Corner. To view and purchase her book, click here.
Photographs made near the corner of 4th and Muhammad Ali (formerly Walnut St.)
November 25, 2018 - January 6, 2019.
In 1958, Thomas Merton stood at the corner of 4th and Muhammad Ali (then called Walnut St.) and had a revelatory experience. Now, roughly 60 years later, Jay Keywood has looked at the people walking the streets surrounding this corner and invited us to also look. How will we see these total strangers in all their variety of glory, skepticism, struggle, and sweetness? Can we see the way Merton saw?:
“Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts, where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time.”
Shining Like the Sun by Jay Keywood is available as a photo zine here.
Image: “Jesus Warrior,” AL by Devin Lunsford
October 7 - November 18, 2018.
"Roadside Jesus is a collaborative photo project within the United States of America. Images of billboards, church signs, bumper stickers, etc. were submitted for the project, which I then curated. The goal of the project is to see the broad spectrum of signs across America that speak of the Bible, God, Jesus, Heaven, Hell and other American Christian topics. There is no predetermined message behind the project. Part of the beauty of collaborating with photographers across the United States is seeing the varying perspectives on this theme, which will hopefully lead to interesting conversations online and through the gallery exhibit."
- Michael Howard, curator
Photographers: Ashleigh Coleman, Jack Deese, Jeffrey Dietz, Amanda Driggers, Jesse Dvorak, Sam Fentress, Jacek Fota, Vincent Glielmi, Devin Lunsford, Juliana M, Lauren Mitchell, Joel Elliott Mooneyhan, Zachary Snellenberger, Ryan Steed, Sam Stone, Michael Wriston
August 19 - September 30, 2018.
"On the eve of my sixteenth post-college breakup, I decided to heed the advice of my family and married friends; I should meet a nice Christian man and consider “settling down”. This advice was most strange to me because I had not considered myself a Christian in over a decade. However, I was curious to learn if there was a difference in dating a Christian vs. non-Christian man.
I began to search conservative Christian dating websites during the same time I was watching the presidential debates in 2012. Romney and Ryan’s family values seemed to echo what my family and friends were advising me to consider. I emailed the few Christian single men I knew, I joined three dating websites and even went to a singles mixer at a local Lutheran church. I asked the men what they desired in a marriage partner, what expectations did they have and how did I (or could I) fit that expectation?
I sent the following message to 20 Christian men:
‘I want to know YOUR ideal vision of a future mate; the more detailed scenario, the better. I will act out that vision in either a video or a photograph. The camera will be used from your point of view.
Can you paint a scene for me? What would an everyday event look like? What would we be doing? What would I look like (what would I wear)? Feel free to message with any questions!’"
See more of Sarah’s work at thesarahmartin.com.
Image: The Prodigal Son by Edward Riojas
July 1 - August 12, 2018.
"The parable of the Prodigal Son is one of the most powerful and evocative stories Jesus told. Its universal themes of greed and regret, arrogance and repentance, sin and redemption, jealousy and acceptance, and most importantly, compassionate forgiveness resonate richly with each retelling.
This parable has inspired the work of artists throughout the centuries. In many times and places and using many methods and media, artists have sought to visualize this story. Yet despite the differences in their work, the message of the Father's love remains constant."
— Larry and Mary Gerbens
Images of the Prodigal Son from the Larry & Mary Gerbens Collection. On loan from the collection of Calvin College
For more information about the collection and resources on the Prodigal Son, visit this link.
May 13 - June 24, 2018.
“The work making up the exhibition, Bible Stories, came from a fascination with bulletins given to children at the church my wife and I started attending in Brooklyn, NY. Full of puzzles, mazes and coloring pages, these simple brochures told ancient stories and conveyed information in a very simple but profound way—encouraging kids to engage with the lessons and themes (while the adults sat and listened to a sermon). I find these brochures terribly interesting and also visually compelling. What are they telling my child about God and the bible? What do I want my children to know about God and the bible? Invariably, some the images found their way into my art, where I could wrestle with them, also in a visual way, as an adult. I find that the great themes of life and faith and love, however simply conveyed to a child or told through bible stories or church sermons resonate as much with me now as they did growing up.”
See more of Wayne's work at wayneadamsstudio.com.
Paintings by Maggie Hubbard
March 25 - May 6, 2018.
'“For almost five millennia, in every culture and every major religion, indigo has been one of the world’s most valued pigments. No color has been prized so highly or for so long, or been at the center of such turbulent human encounters. Indigo was a cornerstone of the transatlantic slave trade — one of the hidden commodities, like cotton, sugar, salt, and gold…'
- Indigo: In Search of the Color That Seduced the World by Catherine E. McKinley
How does a pigment of wealth, power, and colonization inform the white middle-class identity?
What is the white middle-class?
Who is white?
What does it mean to be white?"
View more of Maggie's work at maggiehubbard.net.
Image left: by Loren Myhre / Image right: by Stephen Watson
February 11 - March 18, 2018
"Can pattern paintings preach? These colorful, mathematical, decorative paintings are the product of three artists trying to answer that question. For years, I (Stephen) have tried to make artwork that is both seriously faithful and seriously contemporary, that could withstand the scrutiny of Christian theologians and art theorists alike. Working somewhere between those two worlds has been fruitful, but lately I've been intrigued by a third world that doesn't belabor theology or theory, a world that is occupied by the general public.
Paintings are naturally quiet, but they are all the more silent when you strip them of narrative and recognizable imagery. Can pattern paintings still preach? What good news, if any, can emerge from the silence of simple shapes? Consider this: I am encouraged by the fact that mathematics is a discovery, not an invention. The truths of geometry, for example, were woven into the fabric of the universe. They were here before we understood them, and they will remain even after we're gone. And among all the nothingness and silence of this show, perhaps this one whisper is surprisingly good news: If a few shapes can fit together, perhaps our lives might fit together, as well."
Image left: by Matthew King / Image right: by Holly Leonard
December 10 - February 4, 2018.
"Through a Mirror Dimly focuses on the tension between revelation and mystery in faith, using both the verses of 1 Cor. 13:11-12 and the themes found in the C.S. Lewis novel, Till We Have Faces. The complexities of faith seem to grow as we age; we exchange simplistic, pure childlike faith for a more nuanced version tempered by doubt and choice. Our works explore this tension through the use of accumulative mark-making and obscured figures. These texts give us hope for the day we “shall know fully,” and until then, this body of work is our effort to better comprehend the fact that faith necessitates a certain measure of mystery and unknowing."
Image left: by Fadi BouKaram / Image right: by Joe Cory
October 29 - December 3, 2017
"Out of the Depths is a collaborative traveling art exhibition that investigates the current migrant crisis from the perspective of a Lebanese street photographer (Fadi BouKaram, Beirut, Lebanon) and an American painter (Joe Cory, Birmingham, Alabama). In the exhibit powerful images of the middle east are juxtaposed with paintings based on filtered information mediated by American news sources. Motifs of water and navigational symbols further pervade the imagery, as viewers are challenged to rethink their assumptions about what it means to be living in the Middle East and a refugee. The exhibition is curated by Matt Schneider (Birmingham, Alabama)."
September 24 - October 22, 2017
In his artist statement, John Ryan writes,
"This project uses the unpredictable nature of the photographic process to suggest the experience of looking in multiple directions simultaneously. Each image is the result of four exposures, shot from a fixed vantage point, and captured on a single frame of film. The result is then printed across a series of smaller sheets and combined by hand to recreate the final piece.
Each photograph is informed by the unique architecture, culture, language, and visual characteristics of the city in which it was taken. Yet, they are not meant to be representations of particular places, as is so often the case in photography. Rather, they are intended to be vehicles for getting lost in thought or contemplation.
These pieces were made to serve as reminders that there is infinite potential in whatever course one chooses to pursue, and that at any moment there are a multitude of paths available."
See more of John Ryan's work at jrbrubaker.com.
Image: "Noah with the Angels and Animals"
July 30 - September 17, 2017
"This show brings together twenty-three paintings from one of America’s most amazing self-taught artists. His vibrant images, rendered in enamel and house paint with a shimmering glossy finish on cardboard and his flamboyant use of color put him in a category all his own.
Rudolph, who lives in Savannah, Georgia, says that his inspirations come from many sources, “especially the Bible and reproductions of the works of the masters such as Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.” Bostic’s work was featured in the 2005 inaugural exhibition of the Hurn Museum of Contemporary Folk Art in Savannah, GA, and his art is in the permanent collection of the High Museum in Atlanta, GA. Some of the most prestigious southern galleries of folk art represent Bostic’s paintings."
Image left: by Samantha Ludwig / Image right: by Jordan Lienhoop
June 4 - July 23, 2017
Evoking people and places, feelings and memories, home contains meanings that are deeply varied and complex—yet simultaneously encompassing—for each person. Tucked between those four letters are nostalgia and hope: a longing for the past, tracing all the way back to Eden, and for our future home—plus all the spaces here in the in between. In seeking home, we find a deeper need to have a place, to be loved, to belong.
In this exhibit, each work of art is an invitation into the artist’s personal interpretation of home, revealing the intricate and profound ways that home impacts us all.
Art by Wayne Adams, Stefani Allegretti, Matt Ballou, Ben Cowan, Gary Denmon Jr., Carl Dunson, Amy Galloway, Vincent Hawley, Brandon Hochhalter, Tessa Janes, Jayashree Jayapaul, Karah Lain, Holly Leonard, Leandro Lozada, Hal Moran, Elissa Morley, Barry Motes, Tim Robertson, Sintique Rodriguez, Rebecca Shewmaker, Jessica Taylor, Josh Tyson, Mandy Cano Villalobos, Ann Williams, and Curtis Wilks
Easter Sunday, April 16 - May 28, 2017
Opening Easter Sunday, the show invited artists to submit work that explored the theme "Alive." Final artwork was selected by juror Cameron Anderson, Executive Director of Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA).
Image: Paintings by Jaylin Stewart
February 19 - April 9, 2017
During 2016, in our small neighborhood of Shelby Park, 6 people died as a result of gun violence. Across the city in 2016, Louisville experienced more homicides than any other year on record. And across the U.S. in 2016 there were a total of 15,010 deaths from gunshots.
In this exhibit, artists have responded to violence and the gun with a variety of approaches.
Image: "Saint Sydney"
February 19 - April 9, 2017
In his artist statement, Leandro writes:
"I've asked our church community to trust God and each other in a very tangible way: by sharing with me some of the most difficult aspects of their life and as they do so, to allow me to photograph them.
These stories and portraits are a display of trust; they are able to share in such a way because they trust to be loved and known by God and by others. But they are also an invitation to trust; to trust God and others with your whole self, not just with a polished version of yourself."
See more of Leandro's work at www.facebook.com/mightysaints1.
Image: "Feeding the 5000"
December 24 - February 12, 2017
"The Emmaus road series is a year long collaboration between Ken Webb, the pastor of Christ's Fellowship Church (Valdosta, Georgia), me, and the one in whom we place our faith and hope, the God of all creation. Through the act of drawing, one drawing per week for forty-four weeks, I have sought to bring a form of visual communication that would buttress the pastors heart felt intentions as he delivers a sermon every Sunday morning. I am invited to give a quick artist statement for each piece at the conclusion of each Sunday morning service to summarize my thoughts and intentions for each creation. Each drawing is created live in tandem with the delivery of the sermon, approximately 45 minutes."
See more of Craig's work at craighawkinsart.com.
Biblical Text and Art Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of Martin Luther
November 20 - December 18, 2016
Christendom will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. Sola Scriptura: Biblical Text and Art is a visual testimony of how the Scriptures have compelled artists who cherish the Bible to incorporate its text into their art. The exhibition is comprised of three sections: Translating the Bible, Illuminating the Bible and Picturing the Bible. This is a touring exhibit on loan from Bowden Collections.
Image left: by Daniel Graham / Image right: Darrell Kincer
October 16 - November 13, 2016
Darrell Kincer’s Unforeseen Visions series is made of photograms - unique darkroom photographs made by exposing light-sensitive paper without the use of any lens or negative. The florals of his images are placed directly on the paper and exposed to light. After creating the image, Darrell then uses chemistry to lift the photographic emulsion off the paper and then manipulates it by hand, creating painterly effects.
Daniel Graham’s work intentionally wanders from traditional printmaking to furniture and everything in between including performance and installation, and kinetic sculpture. Here we show some of his two dimensional artworks.
Image left: by Tyler Butcher / Image right: by Jeremy Botts
Art by Jeremy Botts, Tyler Butcher, Don Clark + Luke Stockdale, Sarah Hall, Brandon Hochhalter, Tracy Pennington, Mandy Cano Villalobos and Michael Winters
August 21 - October 2, 2016
The theme for this group show is mosaic, an art form distinct in its harmonized patterns of fractured stone or glass. While most of these pieces are not actual mosaics, they reference the visual and thematic possibilities of mosaic in their process, composition, and message. The poignancy of mosaics resides in their being composed of what was previously broken and disparate; as such, the focus on this theme offers the opportunity to explore such concepts as dissonance and harmony, dispersion and reunion within individuals, families, the church, and the world.
Sin dislocates our identity as God’s image-bearers, resulting in personal and structural disunity. And yet, it’s less common to recognize that there’s also pain involved with healing, with the interaction of two or more broken people or institutions seeking resolution, unity, and rebuilding. The art in Sojourn’s Mosaic Body Exhibit explores the various ways that pain and alienation are experienced as the precursors to ultimate reunion.
Image left: by Steve Halla / Image right: by Steve Prince
June 26 - August 14, 2016
In this exhibit we share wood block prints by two Steves - Steve Halla and Steve Prince.
Steve Prince's prints from the series Old Testament explore the emotional terrain of couples carving out a space in a contested world, attempting to maintain a covenantal love within the context of the complications of home. The linoleum cut prints in this series reflect various themes derived from the Old Testament placed in a contemporary framework.
Steve Halla's meticulously made prints explore the meaning of place to personal history. His wood blocks are made with simple hand tools, but achieve a photographic quality reminiscent of black and white half-tone printing.
May 1 - June 19, 2016
Meet the Artist Sunday May 15, 4:30-6p.m. with an artist talk at 5:00 p.m. (15 minutes)
"...tenderness depends on how little the world touches you."
As a child, I would often sleep with the TV on so that when I woke I wasn't startled by darkness. I could see the room, make sure I was alone. The fuzzy faces on the screen provided some strange comfort. What I experienced at night put everyone in shadow and I questioned the intent of those I encountered. A child is at the mercy of what surrounds them.
How does a child cope with a world they feel is inherently unsafe? How does it form who they become?
See more of Emil's work at emilhandke.com/.
Laura Wennstrom’s exhibition of fabric sculptures utilizing secondhand household textiles examines the complex nature of decorating decisions, being a neighbor, gentrification, and neighborhood crime statistics.
See more of Laura's work at http://laurawennstrom.com.
January - February 2016
"Because of the deep importance of spirituality in my worldview, I often feel inadequate to verbally communicate its nuance and range of meanings. Acting as a facilitator, my book-related work is a personal creative means of entering into the subject of spirituality. The long history of books as elements in ritual and religious practice makes them an ideal form for investigations of spirituality. In my recent work, handprinted, handbound books act as conduits, providing the viewer with a familiar form through which to encounter or consider the spiritual. The unique context of each viewer’s personal histories and spiritual experiences allows for varied individual experiences of the work."
See more of Katherine Miller's work at katherine-miller.com.
October - December 2015
Tim Robertson’s exhibit Shelby Park Dreams started with Tim’s desire to get to know his new neighborhood. After moving to Louisville from Cambodia in late 2014, Tim began walking around Shelby Park making pictures and asking people he met to share a dream they’d had. By asking neighborhood residents about their dreams, he hoped he could recognize themes and look for related content in the waking world. Tim took those conversations as inspiration for making the photographs and mixed media artworks found in this exhibit.
See more of Tim's work online at timothyirobertson.com
July - September 2015
“Meaning is a bit of a dangling carrot for me,” answered Matthew Linden King in response to a question about the meaning of his abstract paintings.
Dangling Carrots is an exhibit of abstract paintings made by four artists who identify themselves as Christians. Many Christians making visual art today choose to make work abstractly, without recognizable imagery or symbols. Why is this?
The four artists in this exhibit choose to make work abstractly for reasons unique to their own purposes. Brittany Jennings says painting abstractly “feels like home.” Matthew Linden King writes “I ventured into abstraction to see if I could develop a voice in it.” Wayne Adams says working abstractly “allows me to get at an idea in an indirect way that often speaks more directly to it than I could by talking through the issue out loud.”
May - July 2015
LIGHT IN LYON draws attention to Christians making art in Lyon, France. The exhibit is composed of two distinct projects.
THE GUIDING PRINCIPLE by Majestart
“The Guiding Principle: A God who seeks to meet man” is a new set of prints by the French artist collective Majestart. The artists of Majestart made a series of posters related to the major movements of biblical history. Taken in together with the descriptive title cards provided by Majestart, the posters express the group’s belief that the Bible “addresses the major existential questions in a relevant way for today.”
Majestart is an artist collective of over 20 member artists based in Lyon, France. Their commonly held Christian faith and street art aesthetic unites them as a group. Together, they create street art projects and gallery exhibits across Europe. Learn more about Majestart at majestart.com.
QUE LA LUMIÈRE SOIT (Let there be Light) by Michael Winters
“Let there be light” is the first quote found in the Bible. It’s what God says to usher in the creation of the universe. In French, the phrase is often translated “Que la lumière soit.” Michael Winters used block letters to write this phrase across a map of Lyon and then in December 2014, he visited Sojourn Church members living there. During the day, Michael walked the streets systematically locating the numbered squares he’d placed over a city map. A photograph was made in each of the numbered locations. By selecting locations for picture making this way, the photos depict side streets a tourist would not usually visit, giving a broad impression of the place and revealing subtle differences between the physical makeup of Lyon and the photographer’s native Louisville, KY. The photos will be displayed according to their mapped locations, creating a photographic map of the area.
Michael Winters is the director of Sojourn Arts & Culture. You can view more of his photographs at michaeltwinters.com
March - April 2015
"Through my work I attempt to use my God-given abilities to express my faith and point people to Christ.
It also helps my understanding of Bible stories by re-imagining them with my friends, family and students as the main characters. I paint them in contemporary settings with surrealistic elements to accentuate the mystery of God’s interaction with His creation.
By using traditional painting techniques, I strive to create believable images with symbolic meaning and psychological resonance."
– Barry Motes, Professor of Art at Jefferson Community & Technical College in Louisville
See more of Barry's work at jbmotesart.com.