Many art historians consider the shift of focus of Western arts from the sacred to the secular to be one of the most significant cultural features of the modern era. While some contemporary artists still make religious imagery the centerpiece of their work, today such artists are the exception rather than the rule, and their treatments of sacred symbols and saints tend to veer well off the mainstream. That is certainly the case with Seattle artist Lauren Grossman, whose show of sculpture opening tonight uses Christian imagery in highly unconventional and provocative ways. The lamb of God, the burning bush, and the texts from the Song of Songs are just some of the inspirations for these unusual works. KUOW art critic Gary Faigin has previewed the show, and he joins us with his thoughts.
It’s not news when a contemporary artist strives to invest their work with the glow of spirituality, attempting to wake the modern world from its materialist slumber. It’s what Dan Flavin is up to with his deceptively simple neon light shrines, or James Turrell with his sky spaces, art experiences that seeks to reveal the lurking transcendence behind the façade of the ordinary.