GOD ONLINE: Exploring media spirituality

Web sites, TV, films, books and the search for meaning.

Faith made sight

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Evangelicals are not known for artistry. Or so I thought. Then I came across Christians in the Visual Arts — founded way back in 1979.

CIVA is Christian at heart, housed as it is at Gordon College. It also encourages refined artworks: sensitive, intelligent, skillfully rendered.

Appropriately, its Web site does little talking and much showing, with several online galleries. Media include photography, acrylic, collage, metal sculpture, even a mixed-media work of music with sound and light sensors.

Some of the pictures are religiously explicit, like an oil painting of the Annunciation to Mary. Some are enigmatic, like a wall hanging of woven teabags. Some explore general human themes — like Mystical Marriage by Tanja Butler, shown here. One gallery experiments with the medieval triptych motif.

A minor gripe: The galleries could be easier to navigate. They’re numbered but have no thumbnails, and there’s no “Next” button on each picture. So you’ll have to remember which number picture you’re on.

CIVA acknowledges the hazard of visual art: People may see a variety of messages, and not necessarily what the artist meant. They’re willing to take that risk, says Sandra Bowden of the group, to “lead the audience to a place of introspection.”

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Written by Jim Davis

October 1, 2008 at 3:48 am

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