A life-sized Islamic Prayer Niche…a sculpture conveying a Jewish woman’s experience with sacred space…a nearly 5’ ilphachrome color photograph of Bernini’s Canopy in St. Peter’s in Rome…evocative photographs of both outdoor and indoor spaces…an unusual combination? But all highlights in the upcoming exhibit at Nails in the Wall, the Gallery at St. Luke’s, the Metuchen exhibition space sponsored by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 17 Oak Ave., Metuchen, NJ. Sacred Spaces, Holy Places: an exhibit of sculpture & photography will begin the gallery’s 2016 winter exhibition season with the Opening & Artists’ Reception Saturday, January 30, 2-5pm. The event is free and open to all.
One of our goals at the gallery is always to bring together diverse voices from varied religious traditions around a common theme. In this instance, what makes a space sacred? What does a sacred space look like? Work representing 27 artists is primarily, but not only, from the tri-state area. The photography includes a wide range of haunting images, some almost abstract, others capturing very specific locations that carry a sense of the sacred for the artist. Notable among those is the over 4’ Ilphachrome color photograph of Bernini’s Canopy in St. Peter’s in Rome by Nancy Ori (Berkeley Heights). Perhaps one of the most thought-provoking pieces, “V’at Alit”, by Miriam Stern (Teaneck) includes a series of photographs and other materials highlighting her experience of sacred space as a Jewish woman. Several very local photographers have work included in the show: Mark Harris (Edison) with his elegant figures and the carefully viewed spaces of Robert Hopkins (Metuchen). Lauren Curtis will have two 35mm black & white photos taken in the famous Louis I Cemetery in New Orleans, LA. This above ground burial site is one of the most famous cemeteries in the US & the site where supposedly the infamous VooDoo Queen Marie LaVeaus is entombed.
The 13 pieces of sculpture are very diverse in scale and materials and include free-standing pieces as well as sculptural wall works. Included in this group is a 6’ sculpture by Christina Saj (Cedar Grove), which has an exhibition history that includes, among others, St. John the Divine, NYC and the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C. Towering over that piece is Daniel Nelson’s (NYC) “Niche for Maryam.” A life-sized Islamic prayer niche known as an mihrab, the piece was designed as a site-specific installation for the Church of St. Paul the Apostle, NYC, using the proportions of the sculpture of the Virgin Mary by Bela Lyon Pratt in the Church’s Altar of the Annunciation. Nails in the Wall is honored to have it on loan from St. Paul the Apostle for the duration of the exhibit.
Three mixed-media Mayan masks from Ronald LeMahieu (Princeton), along with a variety of the photographs, remind viewers that the sacred takes many forms beyond Church buildings.
Between 3 and 3:30pm, several artists’ talks will take place.
John Sharp, Gallery Board Member remarks, “I am amazed that despite our limiting the media accepted into this exhibit, we have been able to curate a show of such a diversity of scale and approach. It will truly be exciting to see which sacred space speaks to each visitor.”
Creating a sense of ‘sacred space’ through sound for the Reception itself, pianist, composer, and recording artist, John Bianculli will be performing. Refreshments will be provided by our ‘art partner’ The Metuchen Inn.
The exhibit will continue on view until May 15, 2016. For more information, visit http://www.nailsinthewall.com/ or contact Linda LaStella, Director@nailsinthewall.org.
The Facebook invite link is: https://www.facebook.com/events/159308764435405