“Matter and Spirit,” a travelling art exhibit, is currently on display in the Swearingen Hall Art Gallery at Samford, having arrived earlier this month. Curated by professor Rachel Hostetter Smith, the Gilkison Distinguished Professor of Art History at Taylor University, “Matter and Spirit” is the third show of its kind sponsored by the Nagel Institute.
The international art project began by bringing together 10 artists each from the U.S. and China. During the summer of 2018, the group met in China and spent almost three weeks there, during which time they learned about the arts in their respective countries, discussed faith, education, and art, went to galleries, museums, temples and churches, and learned about and from one another. The artwork in the multi-medium exhibit was made in response to this immersive experience, with each piece of artwork taking a different approach to exploring the themes of being an artist and a Christian in increasingly secular societies.
Assistant Professor of Art Lauren Evans, who also serves as the Gallery Coordinator at Samford, described the exhibit’s initial arrival and installation process. The exhibit first arrived at Samford packed inside numerous crates filled with the artwork from the show. So many, in fact, that not all the work would be able to fit inside the gallery. Curators first had to select which works would be included, a tough process, they said, given the quality of all the artwork. After deciding on what works would be displayed, Evans set to work moving it all into the gallery with two fellow members of Samford’s Department of Art and Design: Scott Fisk, professor and Chair, who was also one of the featured artists selected for the project, and Natalie Harrison, the Program Coordinator and Instructor who “helped keep everything rolling” as they installed the exhibit over this summer.
Having the Matter and Spirit exhibit “feels huge to us,” Evans said.
Not surprising, since the travelling exhibition has been making its way all across the U.S. throughout its tour. Samford is the sixth spot on the exhibition schedule, with plans to visit a slew of other places before eventually finishing its four-year tour in 2023. The exhibit will be up through Oct. 7, and students are welcomed to come by and see it for free at the Art Gallery in Swearingen Hall. For more about the Matter and Spirit exhibit, visit the online exclusive article to read about Professor Fisk, one of the show’s featured artists.