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The Jubilee Museum Contemporary Sacred Art Biennial 2014: Cain and Abel: Am I My Brother's Keeper?

December 6, 2014 - February 8, 2015


In order to communicate the message entrusted to her by Christ, the Church needs art. Art has a unique capacity to take one or other facet of the message and translate it into color, shapes and sounds which nourish the intuition of those who look or listen. - Saint John Paul II


The Jubilee Museum & Catholic Cultural Center is presenting its first contemporary sacred art biennial. The biennial is a juried exhibition and its theme this year is Cain and Abel, Am I My Brother's Keeper? On view at the museum from December 6, 2014 through February 8, 2014. (right: Gwen Meharg, Eve's Heartache, Acrylic on paper, 22 x 30 inches, copyright 2014)

The biennial is designed to bring together contemporary Judeo-Christian artists from a broad range of denominations who have a passion for the visual arts and have made their faith central to their work. The Jubilee Museum & Catholic Cultural Center hopes to contribute to a greater Judeo-Christian presence in the art world.

The juror for the biennial is Dr. James Romaine, Associate Professor of Art History at Nyack College in New York. He is a frequent lecturer on faith and the visual arts and has authored numerous articles in publications like Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion and The Princeton Theological Review. Dr. Romaine is the president and cofounder of the Association of Scholars of Christianity in the History of Art (ASCHA) www.christianityhistoryart.org.

The Jubilee Museum Contemporary Juried Sacred Art Biennial was open to artists residing in the United States and overseas. All together, the participating 25 artists represent a broad area of the United States: Texas, Wisconsin, Ohio, South Carolina, Missouri, California, Indiana, New Hampshire, Virginia, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Washington, Colorado, Maine, and New Jersey. Also participating in the exhibition is guest artist and Holocaust survivor, Alfred Tibor, internationally celebrated central Ohio sculptor. A diversity of artistic styles is represented in the exhibition, realism, expressionism, abstraction, among others. Each artist has invited the viewer to acknowledge and contemplate the close bond between art and faith.

The artists featured in this exhibition are: Marie App, Dawn Waters Baker, Michael Buesking, Zac Buser, Lisa K. Cowling, Gary Denmon Jr, George Geisler, Daniel T. Hall, Linda Hamilton, Gwyneth Holston, Linda Hoover, Gwen Meharg, Linus Meldrum, Robert Patricy, Lin Elizabeth Preiss, Stephen Rountree, Hector Manuel Sagunto, Cora Smith, Erin Sobony, Julia Stiles, Kathy Thaden, Alfred Tibor, Kirsten Van Mourick, and Jean C. Wetta. (left: Daniel T. Hall, Minkah: The Gift Offering, Oil and metal leaf, 16 x 20 inches, copyright 2014.)

Contemporary Sacred Art Biennial juror, Dr. James Romaine, awarded first prize to Texas artist Gwen Meharg, for her painting, Eve's Heartache. Ms. Meharg explains that "As an artist and mother of six, the cautionary tale of Cain and Abel wounds my mother's heart as I ponder what went wrong. I pray that Eve's Heartache is received as a story of hope in the midst of sorrow." First Prize award sponsored by the Jubilee Museum.

The second prize award was given to Daniel T. Hall from Indiana for his painting, Minkah: The Gift Offering. Mr. Hall was struck by the gift offering of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4, "Both the grain offering presented by Cain and the meat offering presented by Abel were considered (minha) Minkhah a gift or present to God. A gift is a powerful thing when given in the right spirit. It has the ability to transform emotions and illuminate the soul of an individual with love and joy. It lifts the countenance and somehow supernaturally exalts the receiver above their circumstances. The gift transcends what it is because the spirit in which it was given is more precious than the object." Award sponsored by David Meleca Architecture and Angela Meleca Gallery.

New Jersey artist Jean C. Wetta was awarded third prize for her painting, The Caretaker. The artist explains "Which is the caretaker? In this is portrait of my granddaughter and her miniature rat terrier the designation is unclear. Ollie was named after Oliver Twist because he was an abused rescue dog. A dog is supposed to be the protector. In this case, however, Rachel is both protector and caretaker. She is her 'brother's keeper.' Ollie is grateful, as is true in such grace-filled relationships." Award sponsored by Robin & Valerie Coolidge, Wyandotte Winery.

The Contemporary Sacred Art Biennial 2014 was organized by Graziella Marchicelli, the Jubilee Museum's Director of Museum Services and Special Exhibitions. The show is accompanied by an essay by Dr. James Romaine titled, Art as an Acceptable Offering. To view the works of all of the participating artists please visit the museum's website.


(above: Jean C. Wetta, The Caretaker, Oil on wood, 10 x 10 x 2 inches, copyright 2014.)



(above: Alfred Tibor, Cain and Abel, Pulverized bronze, 21 x 18 1/4 x 11 1/4 inches, copyright 1985-2014.)


The Jubilee Museum and Catholic Cultural center is located at 57 South Grubb Street, Columbus Ohio. Please visit the museum's website for hours of operation.


Resource Library editor's note

Graziella Marchicelli was formerly Curator of Fine Art at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art. To read Dr. Marchicelli's essays published in Resource Library please see TFAO's Author Study and Index. To read Resource Library articles about exhibitions curated by her at SAMA, please see the TFAO sub-index page for the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art,

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