World View: The Museum of Church History and Art’s Exhibit for the 2002 Winter Olympics
Latter-day Saint artists have sensibilities that are as diverse as their cultures and personalities. In an art exhibit currently on display at the Museum of Church History and Art called World View, gallery goers discover that it is not any more LDS to be of pioneer stock and live in Orem, Utah than it is to hail from Zimbabwe or Taiwan. Enjoy a stroll through the museum gallery from the comfort of your own home. Meridian Magazine would like to thank Ronald Read and the staff of the museum for their assistance in bringing this gallery of art to our readers.
Click any of the images featured below for enlargements.
Originally from Los Altos, California, David Linn recently received his MA degree in studio art from Brigham Young University, and currently maintains a studio in Elk Grove, Utah, producing art for exhibits and sales galleries. He specializes in monochromatic paintings of religious-symbolical landscapes which portray spiritual and extra- natural events. The meaning of the title, Ascent, was revealed by the artist in his statement: “Living the gospel demands that we help one another climb upward out of the darkness of the world into the light of truth. As the Lord’s Church, we form a living chain on the mountain of this mortal existence drawing one another toward the veil, and the presence of the Lord.”
b. 1943 United States
This is one of thirteen works of sculpture commissioned by the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the relief society sculpture Garden at the visitors’ center in Nauvoo Illinois. These works, all larger than life size, depict women and portray positive values such as charity, industry, and parenthood. Dennis Smith created eleven of the thirteen Florence Hansen the other two. This bronze was created from the small maquette done in preparation for the large garden sculpture.
Family Is Forever
Mixed media painting on panel, 1979
Baxter Queseda Apache
The ideas for this work are grounded in a passage from the Doctrine and Covenants, a sacred book of Latter-day Saint scripture: “But before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose”( D&C 49: 24). Members of the Queseda family live in an Apache-settled area of Arizona, which is represented by the rock forms at the bottom of the painting. The Indian family in the center heart and other symbols are important in both Apache and Latter-day Saint cultures, including the arrow standing for straightness and honor, roses representing the Lamanites (native Americans) blossoming as the rose, storm clouds representing nourishment from heaven, and the inscription in script stating “Family Is Forever.”
Gift of the Baxter Queseda Family
With an Eye Single to the Glory of God
Watercolor painting on paper, 1999
Chin-Tai Cheng b. 1948 Taiwan
The artist wrote that this painting depicts a devout old man eagerly and single-mindedly searching the holy scriptures, which are written in traditional Chinese calligraphy on a scroll. The work was a prize winner in the fifth international fine arts competition held last year at this museum, which displayed artwork relating to themes from the Book of Mormon.
Sister Allebes revealed that as sources for this quilt she chose a folk art style and sources from Scandinavian quilting. She said that it has been the pioneering work of women from nations throughout the world that peace continues to be maintained on earth. This is suggested by the expressive and joyful gestures of women across the quilt, from a farm woman before her home on the left, to contemporary women on with their residences. Birds are widely known as representations of peace. Hand embroidery work is the main tech-nique used by the maker as the picture elements have been created, while the quilting itself is done by a sewing machine.
The maker himself provided information about this attractive sculpture, which has been reproduced many times in different sizes, colors, and materials: “The family is the most important unity in the Church, as testified by the building of temples and for temple marriages and the families sealed for time and eternity. Families can be together through Heavenly Father’s plan.” He also cited the following scripture, which reads: “The Prophet Elijah was to plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to their fathers, foreshadowing the great work to be done in the temples of the Lord in the dispensation of the fulness of times, for the redemption of the dead, and the sealing of the children to their parents, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse and utterly wasted at his coming” (D&C 138:48).
b. 1959 United States
David Linn has created an excellent visual work portraying the first step of faith. He wrote of his ideas and motivations in producing this painting, which was entered in the Fourth International Fine Arts Competition: One Hundred Fifty Years of Pioneering: “What lies at the heart of the pioneering process? This is the question I chose to interpret in The Initial Act. Courage and vision to see with an eye of faith are, of course, universal attributes of the pioneer regardless of the destination. However, the pivotal moment for me is when the individual steps off the safe and well-worn path and moves into unknown territory, guided only by the light of faith.”
b. 1943 Czechoslovakia
The artist, Wulf Barsch, has been a mentor to a loose group of Latter-day Saint artists mostly working in Utah County, Utah, which has been termed the “Art and Belief Movement.” They employ a wide array of symbolical motifs in their mostly landscape artwork, to convey fundamental religious ideas and principles. The substance of sacred writings is conveyed in this painting through such motifs as arcs with numbers, circles, colors, such as the red line signifying the red cliffs of Adam, forms such as pyramids and twenty-four palm trees in a storm setting. The painting, The Choice is made in a similar way to “seeing through a glass darkly,” where spiritual direction is needed.
This poster was created when McRay Magleby was Art Director of the Graphics Department at Brigham Young University. It was produced to commemorate the forty years of destruction by atomic bomb of Hiroshima, Japan. the Shoshin Society’s Images for Survival campaign sponsored the commemoration. In a later international competition and exhibit in Paris, put on by UNESCO, this image took first place honors as the best poster produced during 1985. The artist explained in an interview that he “wanted to make people feel good, to feel that peace is something worthwhile, something to strive for. . . . Peace is such an important, worldwide thing, I had a feeling this poster would play some little part somewhere.
Gift of the artist
The Fruitful Seed
Oil painting on canvas, 1990
b. 1955 United States
This painting was a 1990 prize winner from the Museum’s Third International Art Competition: Themes from the Scriptures. The artist, who lives in California, said the woman depicted is Tongan, representing the Polynesians of the House of Israel. The seed pod is symbolical of the heritage of her people while the white tree trunk signifies the connection between heaven and earth. Several scriptures influenced the artist as this work was being created, including the following one from the Book of Mormon: “Yea, then will he remember the isles of the sea; yea, and all the people who are of the house of Israel, will I gather in, saith the Lord, according to the words of the prophet Zenos, from the four quarters of the earth”(1 Nephi 19:16).
The Last Supper of Jesus Christ has been rendered by artists for many centuries. This expressionistic version, acquired from the Second International Art Competition: Themes from the Scriptures, drew inspiration from medieval sculpture and folk art found in northern Europe. The “Pottery Group of Bremen”–Relief Society sisters from the Bremen Branch, Hamburg Germany Stake-worked together to create this sculpture. Ingetraut Riemer headed the group; other sisters who made equal contributions were Gerlinde Gessel, Brigitte Hrstel, Ilse Selvarajah, and Sieglinde Troche.
This fabric was entered in the Museum’s Second Art Competition: scriptural themes. A resource about Abraham is found in the Bible. One verse states: “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel . . . I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever” (Exodus 32:13). Another source is the book of Abraham from the Pearl of Great Price, a scripture revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith. “I, Abraham, saw that it was needful for me to obtain another place of residence; And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers. . . . and to be a greater follower of righteous-ness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations” (Abraham 1:1-2). This picture captures aspects of Abraham’s life.
In this painting there are several characteristics about the subject that are contrary to everyday experience. The massive horse with the stature of a Belgian draft horse, is carrying no less than four individuals in a sea of water with no sight of land. There is no saddle as well as no reins nor bridle to guide the horse. Elements of a simplified style, reminiscent of eastern European folk art have been utilized by Brian Kershisnik, whose ancestors lived in Slovenia. These qualities suggest that there is a higher force directing the family to their destination. The artist said he does not want to reveal to an inquirer what the full meaning of the painting is, but hopes he or she comes to their own conclusions. One thing Kershisnik has said about the painting is, “It occurs to me that billions of women and men have married, and every one is a pioneer.”
The 2000 International Fine Arts Competition at this museum featured artwork depicting concepts from the Book of Mormon. In this case the artist was inspired by great scriptures from the first book of Nephi: And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy. And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen. And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit” (1 Nephi 8:11-13).
2001 Meridian Magazine. All Rights Reserved.