2006-2007 Lecture Series #2
Gary Anderson, University of Notre Dame
The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Matriarchs of Israel
November 16, 2006
5pm, Minor Hall 125
University of Virginia

Gregory Wolfe, editor of Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion
Ever Ancient, Ever New: Contemporary Catholic Visual Artists

March 17, 2003, 5:30 p.m., Room 158, Campbell Hall, University of Virginia

On St. Patrick’s Day,
Gregory Wolfe, editor of the fine arts review Image, delivered a lecture on contemporary American Catholic visual arts at the School of Architecture. The lecture "Ever Ancient, Ever New" provided a survey of American contemporary painters whose work is overtly inspired by their Catholic faith. Some of the artists discussed by Wolfe are very close to such contemporary movements as abstract expressionism and the recent recovery of realism. This is the case of the late William Congdon, an "action painter" of the same generation as Jackson Pollock, who later emigrated to Italy, becoming part of the lay movement "Communion and Liberation" and making Christian themes central to his paintings. As Wolfe pointed out, Congdon's work retained the character of abstract expressionism, conscious of its medium, while at the same time incorporating a Christian sense of spirituality, redemption, and transcendence. On the opposite end of the abstraction-realism spectrum, but exhibiting the same Catholic sensibility is Melissa Weinman. Working within a hyperrealist outlook, Weinman reinterprets traditional Christian iconography by placing it in a modern context. A haunting image of St. Agatha, dressed in contemporary clothing, barely showing traces of blood on her blouse, and holding forth a plate with her breast on it, resonates with an array of contemporary social and moral concerns, while also suggesting the longstanding Catholic doctrine that in suffering, one becomes open to receiving grace. Collectively, the painters Wolfe introduced to his audience provide clear evidence of the capacity of American Catholic visual arts to fully engage contemporary aesthetic sensibilities and issues, while remaining firmly anchored in the tradition. Mr. Wolfe's lecture provided a lively end to this year's Institute series devoted to “Catholicism and the Arts.”
James J. Buckley
Theology Department, Loyola College in Maryland
"John Henry Cardinal Newman"
Fr. Gerald P. Fogarty, SJ
Religious Studies Department, University of Virginia
"Commonwealth Catholicism: A History of the Catholic Church in Virginia"
2004-05 Public Lecture Series: #6 of 6
Daniel Sulmasy, O.vF.M., MD, Bioethics Institute, New York Medical College
April 5, 2005: "Catholic Christianity and the Meaning of Healing"
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