Students create responses to historical reliquaries for exhibitions at the Walters Art Museum and Current Space Gallery
Posted 01.18.11 by MICA communications
BALTIMORE--MICA students in the interdisciplinary sculpture course Relics, Reliquaries and Enshrined Materials create responses to historical reliquaries, culminating in two final exhibitions of student work. Relics and Reliquaries: Reconsidered will be shown at the Walters Art Museum (600 N. Charles St.; www.thewalters.org), Saturday, Feb. 26-Sunday, May 22. Enshrined Materials will be shown at the Current Space Gallery (421 N. Howard St.; www.currentspace.com), Friday, Feb. 25-Friday, April 1.
Employing a variety of media and techniques-from papermaking to brewing beer-the artists convey how themes central to reliquary traditions still reverberate today. The work is inspired by and explores themes put forth in Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics and Devotion in Medieval Europe, on display at the Walters Art Museum from Sunday, Feb. 13-Sunday, May 15.
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Reliquaries: Embodying the Sacred, an art history course taught by MICA faculty member Barbara Baxter, gave students a historical overview of reliquaries and other sacred objects from several religious and cultural traditions. In this 400-level seminar class, students conducted research and wrote essays on different aspects of reliquary traditions. They became familiar with sacred objects from European, African and Asian religious traditions, as well as with contemporary interpretations of reliquary concepts by artists such as Robert Smithson and Robert Gober.
In turn, students created artworks in Relics, Reliquaries and Enshrined Materials, an interdisciplinary sculpture class taught by Jann Rosen-Queralt. "Each student's approach is unique," Rosen-Queralt said. "Some are traditional, using contemporary materials, and others deconstruct ideas and reassess reliquaries reflecting personal experience."
The 11 emerging MICA artists mined forms and concepts associated with historical relics and reliquaries to explore ideas about religion and the sacred, as well as culture and personal identity. For many students, these courses also created an opportunity to explore a fascinating paradox of medieval reliquaries-that their ornate exteriors often housed ordinary remains.Image caption: Nick Clifford Simko, Sometimes I wish it were me instead of you (detail), photograph, 2010.
Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 65 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.