Tarble Arts Center
Eastern Illinois University
Altars & Icons: Installation/Sculpture by Cristina Emmanuel and Nancy Josephson
January 22 - February 27, 2000
Renowned Puerto Rican artist Cristina Emmanuel will open the exhibition "Altars & Icons" with a gallery talk at the Tarble Arts Center, Eastern Illinois University. Emmanuel's talk is scheduled for 4pm, Friday, January 21. Admission is free and the public is invited. The exhibition will continue through February 27, 2000.
"Altars & Icons" presents art by Emmanuel and Nancy Josephson, two prominent artists who deal with the spiritual in their work, embodying Latin culture and African-Catholic religions. Says Cristina Emmanuel, "I...focus on aspects of the creative process and spirituality...Articulating the difference between spirituality and religion is of great interest to me, and also the function of ritual acts as a way of focusing the mind."
Emmanuel will be in residence at the Tarble Arts Center January 18-21, 2000 to create her installation for the exhibition. Her altar-like installations, which fall somewhere between sculpture and still life, often combine autobiographical materials (photographs, mementos) with romantic and religious kitsch to create evocative works that can be interpreted on many levels. The theme of the Tarble installation is "Milagros" (miracles). The inclusion of parts of the body in this installation relates to healing and suffering, suggesting devotional miracle shrines of the Americas and Europe (such as Lourdes in France). But rather than physical cures, Emmanuel focuses in on spiritual regeneration.
The exhibition also includes the sculpture "Mystere Pou Gran Bois" by Josephson, a Chicago artist and a serviteur of vodou. Two related exhibitions open at the Tarble on January 22 -- "Radio Ancestrale," an installation by Chicago artist John Unger, and "O Pelourinho! Popular Art from the Historic Heart of Brazil," a traveling exhibition of contemporary painting and sculpture on loan from Wayne State University. The visiting artists for "Altars & Icons" and "Radio Ancestral" are funded in part by the Arts & Humanities Excellence in Fine Arts Visiting Artist Series. Both Josephson and Unger will present artist's talks in February.
Emmanuel's art has been exhibited throughout the U.S., included in three traveling exhibitions: "The Role of Paper: Affirmation and Identity in Chicano and Boricua Art "sponsored by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center of San Antonio, Texas, "Objects of Personal Significance," sponsored by ExhibitsUSA, Kansas City, Missouri (organized by Dr. Janet Marquardt- Cherry, an EIU Art Professor), and "Ceremony of Memory: New Expressions in Spirituality Among Contemporary Hispanic Artists" sponsored by the Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico. The artist's work has also been published in the book "Mixed Blessings: New Art in a Multicultural America" by Lucy R. Lippard.
Cristina Emmanuel is a pioneer in the revitalization of contemporary Latino visual arts. " In the process of creating my art I initially work from the unconscious," states the artist. "The images 'come' to me and I give them form. As I go through this process I begin to see at a conscious level what the connections are. It is always a process of great revelation because it reveals to me how deep and all-encompassing is that part of us that 'knows.' Its capacity for synthesis is far greater than our ego mind. I understand it to be akin to the dreaming process. Upon awakening, if we write down our dream, we begin to make connections with the most profound parts of our being, as the personal and universal manifest in archetypal form."
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