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Exhibit will connect art, religion, and worship

Nov 19, 2008
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary is expanding its vision and experience of worship through art. Two art exhibitions will be held on the campus, one each semester, to encourage the community to think about art, religion, and worship.

“Since the beginning of the academic year we have been engaging in a series of events that are intended to help us broaden our understandings of God, our life together, and faith through our worship life,” said Dr. Claudio Carvalhaes, Assistant Professor of Worship and Preaching and Coordinator of the Worship Resource Center at Louisville Seminary.

New Jersey artist, musician, and scholar Kevin Sparks will speak about his artwork this Sunday, November 23, at the Seminary. The event will also mark the opening of an exhibit of his work, which will run through December 5.

“When I saw Kevin creating his art as part of a worship service, I was deeply moved by his creative abilities, his passion, and his expressive gift. He encompasses this rare ability to be an artist who can help us think about the relationship between art and religion. We are very fortunate to experience his art on our campus,” said Carvalhaes.

Louisville Seminary student Marie McCanless is coordinating the exhibit and the event. An artist herself, she has enjoyed the process of designing the experience in the context of her theological studies.

“I have learned a lot more about the logistics of putting together an exhibition in a seminary context and how to create a space that will draw people in and help them focus on these art pieces so that they will get the full experience.”

In an effort to create something unique for the exhibit, Sparks will focus his presentation on the theme of the "inside-out studio."

“The ‘inside-out studio’ concept that Kevin Sparks is using will bring the observer into a controlled version of the chaos of an artist’s studio and move them to the gallery experience,” said McCanless.

“Mr. Spark’s exhibit takes you into the mind of an artist. With art all around from different series and some sketches the pieces communicate the past, present, and future. The paintings on wood are dark without frames as though they have no border or are unfinished, drawing the viewer into their mystery. The framed pieces from the ‘knowable unfathomable’ series have the same effect, leaving the viewer wondering whether the sun is rising or setting. Dr. Spark’s art has lots of depth, mystery, and meaning within it for the viewer to unlock,” explained McCanless.

Louisville Seminary will offer this art exhibition with the support of a Worship Renewal Grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. The grant is helping Louisville Seminary renew its commitment to worship and utilize the Frank H. and Fannie W. Caldwell Chapel in more expanded and diverse ways and help students connect their experiences to the life of the larger community of Louisville and beyond.

Born in northern New Jersey, Kevin Sparks obtained his Master of Fine Arts degree in Drawing and Painting from the University of Tennessee in 1989. Since then, he has exhibited, performed, and taught visual art within interdisciplinary higher education. In addition to teaching visual arts, he has been privileged to lead a number of interdisciplinary and honors seminars on critical thinking and creative problem-solving. Extensive engagements in music composition and performance have further enriched Sparks’ approach to visual arts and transformative instruction.

His studio work generally encompasses a variety of subjects, media, processes, and referents. One example is an installation project, which integrated notions of the subtractive oil sketch, the Rorschach test, photo-digital adjustment, and extreme-scale spray painting in order to engage something of an "infinite between" among knowledge theory, interpretation, and value. Though not withstanding his own faith, the ever-controversial crucifix series (“Verboten 00X,” etc.) involves a related set of experiments more so than a religious politic.

Sparks’ exhibit also will be accompanied by some of his recent music compositions; each piece is named for one of the Platonic dialogues.

The art exhibition is open to the public without charge.

Art Opening and Reception at Louisville Seminary
November 23, 7:00 p.m., Winn Center
Kevin Sparks will talk about his art at 7:30 p.m.

Duration of the exhibition:
From November 23 to December 05, 2008

The exhibition will be at the Worship Resource Center, located under the Chapel on the campus of Louisville Seminary Monday through Friday.
9:00 to 10:00 a.m.
12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
4:00 to 5:00 p.m.

* Commissions/prices for artistic work are available on request.

Louisville Seminary was awarded a $20,000 Worship Renewal Grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Grand Rapids, Michigan, with funds provided by Lilly Endowment Inc., to help the Seminary renew its commitment to worship and utilize Caldwell Chapel in more expanded and diverse ways. Dr. Claudio Carvalhaes is directing the grant project, working with a student chapel coordinator and several students, who serve as part of the Chapel Ministers’ Team.

For more information, please contact Josh Robinson (chapel@lpts.edu) or 502.992.9337.

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