Monday, November 16, 2009

Learning from Art

If I ever feel like I need a quiet, contemplative moment I now know the place to go. Just a two minute walk from my apartment, The BYU Museum of Art has a great exhibit right now called Types & Shadows: Intimations of Divinity.
Check out the website here.
Essentially, the exhibit is about metaphors of Christ and how we react to Him. The best part about this exhibit is that I've been three times and attended a lecture on it and each time I learn something new.
Dr. H gave a lecture on the exhibit pretty close to it's opening, however his lecture was less on the pieces in the exhibit themselves and more about how everything is a type or shadow of Christ. He gave really great Biblical references to this. Then he reminded us not to "look beyond the mark." While there are types and shadows in all things, not every connection is going to be the best or truest connection.
I only remember two references to specific pieces during the lecture. The first was him briefly mentioning a cat. (I think the piece was called Cat Gift.) And the second was his reference to a painting called Man of Sorrows. You could tell that this piece and the wooden bench facing it had an impact on Dr. H. When we were able to go through the exhibit I made sure to see this piece. (If you ever have the chance, I highly recommend you see this piece in person.)
Enough about the lecture night though. The next time I went to see the exhibit was in preparation for a Great Works Response paper for my writing class. This time I spent a lot more time walking through the exhibit. I was able to stop in front of more pieces. Admittedly, there were a few pieces I did not understand, or particularly try to understand. I was looking for THE ONE. The one I loved and would right my paper on. Well, I didn't find a new THE ONE, so I went back to Man of Sorrows. There is so much to that simple painting, I could write another entire blog about it. Some day I might.
Anyway, last week we got to go to the Types and Shadows exhibit as an American Heritage class. The best part about this visit was that someone who knew what they were talking about took us through the museum. We only managed to look at six or so different painting and pieces, but we were able to analyze them in so much depth. The great part was I got to see things differently. There is one painting of a scripture story that I've seen all my life, but we were able to analyze how it was a reflection of Christ. Or some of the painting I had looked at before and ignored because I didn't understand them I was now better able to understand. And now I know how to go about analyzing these paintings.
I'm looking forward to the next time I go to the Museum of Art.

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