Feb 16, 2022

Dordt Displays Works by Renowned Artists

Dordt displays the work of renowned artists

The Dordt University Art Gallery has the distinct honor to serve as the first institution of higher learning to host an art exhibit called “Heads, Faces, and Spiritual Encounter” which is open to the public through March 3 in the art gallery located in the Campus Center. Exemplary works in the exhibit include “David and Bathsheba” by Marc Chagall (1887-1985), “Visage” by Henri Matisse (1869-1954), and other original pieces from renowned artists such Pablo Picasso and Giovanni Castiglione.

The exhibit showcases 51 works that tell stories from the history of humanity, emphasizing that the face has never ceased to capture the attention of image makers from one generation to the next. Visitors will find a variety of mediums, styles, and techniques used by more than 30 artists testifying to the unique yet universal experiences shared as part of the human condition.

“To engage an exhibit like this brings the art museum right to the Dordt students,” says David Platter, gallery curator and associate professor of art. “In the midst of a period of time where we haven’t been able to travel, especially in larger groups to metropolitan areas that house priceless art in museum collections, this exhibit is a touchstone for our art students as well as the entire Dordt community.”

Platter wanted students and guests to be able to ask questions and engage in both faith and art.

Art has been tied to religious connotations for centuries as people sought to explore and express their inner thoughts and ideas of their faith, says Yovica Alethia, a sophomore from Jakarta, Indonesia, who is studying art and psychology at Dordt.

“However, this led to a line drawn between what is considered sacred and secular, which has fractured how we see art today,” she says. “This exhibit provokes these questions that are fundamental to our Christian faith. We are challenged to ask ourselves, ’What does ‘Christian art’ mean?’ and ‘How should we approach art done by non-Christians?’ We are confronted by the controversial questions of ‘What defines good art and bad art?’ and ‘How can we integrate art within our lives?’ Through the Heads, Faces, and Spiritual Encounter exhibit, we can do more than merely look at art. We can engage with our thoughts, ideas, and questions, and learn to see art in God's eyes.”

The exhibit also provides classes such as Core 160, Introduction to the Arts, content to examine and discuss as students think critically about the pieces. Faculty from other programs, such as language studies, have also made plans to study the exhibit. The Literacy and Cultural Readings course recently studied Hispanic artists, which included Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros and Spanish painter Pablo Picasso.

“It was incredible for us to see works of theirs in Dordt’s own gallery,” shares Dr. Rikki Brons, associate professor of language studies.

Additionally, several local high schools are bringing students from their art classes, with over 45 students who have visited so far.

The exhibit is located in the Dordt University Art Gallery in the Campus Center. It is free of charge, and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The gallery will be hosting a public closing reception on Thursday, March 3, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., with a gallery talk led by Platter at 7 p.m.

Heads, Faces, and Spiritual Encounter, is an exhibit established by Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA) in partnership with artist and art collector Edward Knippers.

To learn more about the Dordt University art program visit Dordt.edu/art.

As an institution of higher education committed to the Reformed Christian perspective, Dordt University equips students, faculty, alumni, and the broader community to work toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life. Dordt, located in Sioux Center, Iowa, is a comprehensive university named to the best college lists by U.S. News and World Report, Forbes.com, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, and Princeton Review. To learn more, visit dordt.edu.

A picture of campus behind yellow prairie flowers