Artist Mary Beth Kemper, CPPS: acrylic
The most recent art exhibit at Good Shepherd Gallery — Beauty Will Save the World — focused on the ultimate beauty of God. The exhibit opened with an artist reception on May 7, 2017. The exhibit featured the works of St. Louis Catholic Sisters and archdiocesan priests.
This was the second year the gallery featured the works of St. Louis women and men religious. Last year’s art exhibit “Laudato Si” featured seven artists. This year’s show featured 15 artists whose work included water color and oil paintings, photographs, sculpture and textiles.
Conversations with returning artists and others led to this year’s theme, which is also a tagline for the Good Shepherd Gallery: Fyodor Dostoevsky’s line from his novel The Idiot — “Beauty will save the world.”
Art exhibit inspired by Dostoyevsky
Sr. Glynis McManamon, founder of Shepherding Images Studio and Good Shepherd Gallery, curated the show. She said, “People usually forget that Dostoyevsky is referring in his novel to the redeeming Beauty of Christ.”
Pope John Paul II quoted Dostoyevsky’s line in his 1999 Letter to Artists, under the heading “The Saving Power of Beauty”:
People of today and tomorrow need this enthusiasm [of wonder] if they are to meet and master the crucial challenges which stand before us. Thanks to this enthusiasm, humanity, every time it loses its way, will be able to lift itself up and set out again on the right path. In this sense it has been said with profound insight that “beauty will save the world” (§16).
Pope Francis’s first encyclical in 2013, Lumen Fidei, could be said to follow Dostoevsky’s vision for the power of beauty with its engagement of classical, medieval and contemporary culture. Pope Benedict XVI, the primary drafter of Lumen Fidei, had turned to Dostoevsky in 2009 to emphasize the essential role of beauty in his “Meeting with Artists.”
Art pieces reveal beauty of Christ
The art pieces at Good Shepherd Gallery consisted of religious figures, humans and nature, all of which reveal the ultimate beauty of Christ, the beauty of the universe, according to Sr. Glynis, whose own work hung in the exhibit.
The show also included abstracts “because abstracts convey spiritual experiences that cannot be put into images or named,” Sr. Glynis said.
Artists who exhibited their work in the show were Corlita Bonnarens, RSM; Jeanne Derer, FSM; Josephine Niemann, SSND; Fr. Mark Dolan; Ann Francis Monedero, OSF; Sandra Krupp, ASCJ; Mary Beth Kemper, CPPS; Regina Kabayama, SSND; Glynis Mary McManamon, RGS; Fr. Tom Wyrsch; Mary Joan Meyer, FSM; Maria Liebeck, DC; Gabriella Rogenski, CDP; Elizabeth Slenker, OP; and Joan Warner, DC.
Sr. Sharon O’Grady helped Sr. Glynis curate the art exhibit. Sr. Mary Catherine Massei handled art sales in her role as business manager for Good Shepherd Gallery. Beauty Will Save the World ran through May 25. The next exhibit will feature the photographic works of Henry Chaney. The show opens on August 4, 2017.
Good Shepherd Gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. It is also open by appointment. For information on exhibits contact Sr. Glynis McManamon at email@example.com.