Now through April 30, an exhibit of artworks by Robyn Stoller Awend, Renanah Halpern, and Diane von Arx, titled “Sacred Script: Letter, Word, Language,” will be on display in Terrence Murphy Hall on the Minneapolis campus.
Gallery hours are from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.
A reception with the artists will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, on the second floor of Terrence Murphy Hall.
Historically, visual artists have been inspired to lift the sacred languages of Jewish and Christian devotional texts to a plane of beauty and insight. In Jewish tradition this flowed from the practice of hiddur mitzvah, or beautifying the commandment.
A separate tradition, with roots in Jewish mysticism, found metaphysical meaning in the elements of sacred language itself, the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
Contemporary artists have continued in this tradition, playing evocatively with shapes and the formation of letters and words.
This exhibit was co-curated by David J. Harris, interfaith art consultant for the Jay Phillips Center, and Mark E. Jensen, University of St. Thomas, and it combines the work of the three artists.
Awend, inspired by her Jewish heritage, delves into the mystical possibilities of language.
She creates an imaginative bridge between the physical elements that make life possible and the letters of Judaism’s holy script that build a world parallel to the one conjured by the laws of chemistry, biology and physics.
Halpern, noted Minnesota-based Jewish calligrapher and visual artist, creates eloquent letter-based landscapes, using both the traditional genre of ketubot (wedding contracts) as well as free form explorations to unlock the power of the Hebrew alef-bet.
Von Arx has participated in countless exhibitions and workshops exploring the soul-expanding possibilites of calligraphy. She is a contributing artist on the team creating the remarkable illuminations of The St. John’s Bible.
Free and open to the public, the exhibit and reception are sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning and “interfaith art pARTners,” a collaborative festival of Twin Cities institutions.