The exhibition, Current, addresses a broad range of social issues in our local, national, and worldwide communities. People are not always satisfied with the general current of things but in our own ways we strive to scatter light, appreciate beauty, encourage worthiness and promote peace. In the midst of the strong muddy flow, the members of Christos Collective peer through a unique lens in attempts to seek a hopeful path to a redemptive future.
Beauty Trumps Chaos
Tara Lynnsmith McConnell
Race to Hope
Reaching for the Wind
Sandra Jean Ceas
Prayer + Wings of the Dawn
Sandra Jean Ceas
I Heart my Phone + Slipstream
Skin Deep II
Seed of Peace 1,2,3,4
Choice, Chance, Trust - Bridge Gallery
Choice and chance dance the tango within our lives: we blame one, praise the other; cling to one, push the other; worship one, reject the other. But where does trust fit into the equation? The artists of Christos Collective believe trust anchors the paradox of what we can control and what we cannot. This exhibition explores their attempt to make the choice, take the chance, and trust God.
And God saw that it was good
Tara Lynnsmith McConnell
The Good Hair Trust Experiment I & II
Sandra Jean Ceas
Sandra Jean Ceas
My Sheep Know My Voice
Sandra Jean Ceas
For Everything There is a Season
Reclaim - 970 Gallery
CHRISTIANS USE THEIR TALENTS IN ATTEMPT TO SAVE WORLD: RECLAIM EXHIBITION BY CHRISTOS COLLECTIVE HITS GALLERY 970 DECEMBER 31st – FEBRUARY 13th Reclaim examines different aspects of the word via diverse media, but all works cohesively claim Christ’s reclamation of our lives and world. Some artists delve into personal journeys while others address the Christian community, calling for action, calling for changes in perception. Additionally, a few members rework traditional icons, utilizing new forms of visual language, thus making biblical stories and themes more accessible to a contemporary audience. However, some also make connections to the reclaiming process taking place in the natural world. Christos artists are comfortable in paradox, and they work beautifully toward developing audience understanding of what it means when we say, “On earth as it is in heaven.” For this 970 exhibit, Christos Collective is extending its idea of reclamation to the tangible world by partnering with nonprofit organizations, Habitat for Humanity and A Face to Reframe. The collective will be encouraging exhibit visitors to donate to these nonprofits and a percentage of sales will go straight to these organizations. Reclamation is the main concept behind nonprofit organizations, for they recognize that the world is flawed, cruel, and unjust, yet worth the effort to improve. These specific nonprofits boldly persevere despite seeing homelessness increase and victims of human trafficking rise. Reclamation refuses to let go of goals that seem relentless and insurmountable; reclamation does not tire or grow weary; reclamation counts on death but fails in submission to it, for it relies on new life to take its place. Beth Bruno is the founder and director of A Face to Reframe, an organization who's mission is to prevent human trafficking through participatory arts, training, and community building. Along with her work in the nonprofit sector, Bruno is also an artist, social practice photographer, and she discovered her calling to combat human trafficking after seeing the documentary Born Into Brothels. She says this of the exhibit’s theme: “Reclamation is a bi-directional act of mutuality. In reframing the dignity of another, we discover more of our own.” See Reclaim at Loveland’s Gallery 970 December 31–February 13th, and please be our guest at the show’s opening on December 31st 6–9PM as well as the artists’ talk on January 23rd at 2:30PM. There is also a closing event on February 13th with details to be announced. The opening and closing events will feature musical performances by NoCo Artists, and all
Reclaim - Bridge Gallery
In the view of contemporary culture Christians don’t make good, or relevant, art. Christos Collective, a group of Colorado artists established in 2013, shatters this misconception, bringing not only advanced artistic skill but also conceptual, culturally significant depth to their work. These artists approach art authentically, showing humanity, brokenness, struggle, joy, love, and, ultimately, what it means to have an identity in Christ. God was never a conventional artist, and neither are Christos members; therefore, if you come expecting standard crucifixes and icons, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
Reclaim examines different aspects of the word via diverse media, but all works cohesively claim Christ’s reclamation of our lives and world. Some artists delve into personal journeys while others address the Christian community, calling for action, calling for changes in perception. Additionally, a few members rework traditional icons, utilizing new forms of visual language, thus making biblical stories and themes more accessible to a contemporary audience. However, some also make connections to the reclaiming process taking place in the natural world. Christos artists are comfortable in paradox, and they work beautifully toward developing audience understanding of what it means when we say “on earth as it is in heaven”.
According to Carl Raschke, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Denver and internationally known author as well as arts promoter,“Reclaim reactivates in a new and powerful way the original impulses of modern art, the revelation of the spiritual—in this case the mystery of the Christ event itself—as a whole new way of seeing.”
Karin Soderholm - Ripped and Mended (an exercise of reclaimation)
I have long been attracted to the Japanese aesthetic of Kintsugi- the art of fixing broken ceramics with gold, which highlights (instead of hiding) the beauty of the imperfect. Using broken or ripped materials in my artwork, I love the aesthetic of the beautiful imperfect. In this piece, I used two contrasting fabrics- a dull, rough linen and a bright blue lace. The linen is ripped down the middle, mended and made whole again but not with something utilitarian or hidden. Instead the rip is highlighted with this delicately strong piece of lace. Just as the curtain in the temple in Jerusalem that was torn in half from top to bottom in the moment when Jesus died, changing forever the relationship between God and man, so the bold pattern of the blue lace is not only filling the space in the torn linen, it is also spreading on to the rough surface. The power of the lace is reclaiming the the rough and torn, just as the power of Jesus reclaimed the old ways of coming to God.
Garrett Larson - Fear of Art
This piece is a representation of the fear I have for starting a new work of art. The white on the canvas is the start of a blank white surface and the intimidation of making a wrong mark on this fresh background. The aerosol can is a representation of the artist’s hand, as well as the medium of that piece the artist is creating. The puddle of red on this piece is a metaphor for the artist’s passion for their concept for the piece they are creating by pouring their heart out into each movement creating that piece of art.
Harriet Maggi Olds - In Christ
This quilt is based on several sermons I heard in January 2013 at Foothills Community Church. It is God inspired beyond the embroidered references which call us to see ourselves as God sees us and to embrace the mission of Jesus. Discover some of the symbolism within the quilt with these hints: living water, the stripes endured and blood shed for us, the center and source of the believer’s life, the celebration of believers in heaven and the abiding branches.
Jennifer Bunge - Trinity - Acrylic and mixed media
My painting is loosely based on the Rublev “Trinity” icon from the 15th century, also known as “The Hospitality of Abraham.” In my painting, my Grandmother (standing) represents the “hospitable Abraham.” She is shown in the process of giving a blessing to my mother and me although we are clearly undeserving. In this scene, her action represents reclamation: recovering those things which have been discarded and restoring that which has been damaged.
Sandra Hopkins - The Pilgrimage of Denudation - Reclaimed textiles
Denudation is the process of water carrying mountains to the sea. Rain, rivers, frost and ice loosen soil and strips away the surface. Over time and generations, water moves the soil to the sea and beauty emerges. I am struck with how this process mirrors our Christian life as we are reclaimed and carry out the work of reclamation. The restoration of all things: the pilgrimage of our Christian life.
Tara Lynnsmith McConnell - Blessed and Beloved
What we believe about ourselves is sometimes derivative from the world around us, and how we perceive who society regards us to be. Often when the bombardment of cultural messages dictates our significance, it becomes difficult to sift through the prescribed categories and determine what is true. It can become normal to live with a limited perspective about our significance, resulting in limited behavior, or self-reducing beliefs. Conversely God, who created us as good, who embodies love in the world, tells us that we are blameless, precious, whole, loved, and blessed. The piece Blessed and Beloved explores the dichotomy between society-driven naming and God-driven naming and asks us to examine how that which we believe about ourselves informs our lives, but most importantly reclaims a freeing and powerful alternative to misperceptions from society.
J.I. Karner - The Lamb
In The Lamb, I wanted to portray an aspect of Christ we often underemphasize. We like the humble, gentle, meek servant Jesus–the Lamb Who Was Slain, but we get uncomfortable around the Jesus who overturned tables, and used a whip on money-changers, and said, “I come not to bring peace, but a sword.” This Jesus scares us. This is the Jesus who will judge the world. This fierce, untamable, utterly overpowering Lion is The Lamb we serve. This is the Lion whose death as The Lamb tore the curtain of the Temple and opened access to God to humankind. This is the Lion who subverts all religion and rule and institutions of Man. This is The Lamb we serve. Ultimate power restraining ultimate power–meekness perfected. The God-Man, the Lion-Lamb.
Levi Nelson - Kintsugi - Acrylic on canvas
My work is about de-rationalizing ordered structures. The tearing away of surface elements allows for a simple faded structure to be informed by a violent and disruptive complexity. The work is a personal meditation upon brokenness as an inescapable state of perpetual reliance. Reality has a brutal tendency of exposing false personal narratives. The revelation of the damaged self feels incredibly violent and can only be offset by a larger and more meddlesome conception of grace. I see grace as a beautiful lived rejection of boring self-sufficiency schemes. A structure is sufficient until it becomes damn impossible to live out.
Sandra Jean Ceas - Return to Me - Oil on linen
The word “reclaim” came to me in a message from Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, asking me to reclaim His voice in art. In Latin the word is “reclamare,” and means to cry out against. I felt a call to create a work of art that reflects a powerful desire to retrieve, repossess and rescue what formerly belonged to Him. The dove symbol has many meanings to include a heavenly visitation, a sojourn of the soul and a peaceful restoration. In this piece titled, Return to Me, I envisioned God’s messenger sweeping the chaos of spiritual confusion to release a narrow passageway to His mercy, and a flight towards His realm of serenity and grace. For me, the subtle shades of white enact the ephemeral nature of the plea.
Jonathan Myers - Beyond the Breakers - Acrylic on canvas
Right before you do something meaningful you feel it hanging on with its weakening
You know that you gotta stand up.
You must push through.
It's worth it.
This is important.
You determine to move beyond the discomfort and the pain.
You step out in faith trusting that there is a next step where your foot is about to fall.
You push past the breakers and find yourself sailing on the open sea.
Katina Lowe - Eternity Entering Time - Oil on canvas
My alarm went off at 7am, early for a Saturday, but I wanted to do my Bible study before getting my chores done. I always drink Earl Grey in the morning, something about it is just perfect because, it’s like calming and energizing at the same time. After my study, I spent some time on Instagram, but it’s hard to get excited about much when you know the Romans monitor everything we do as well as the annoying Pharisees are always looking for a reason to stone a gal. At least we have the hope of the Messiah; he will set everything right… one day. Can it get much worse? Wait! What’s going on, that light is blinding!
Melissa Carmon - Spirit of Reclamation
When land needs to be reclaimed, it is usually because some force has overtaken it— whether a flood, or an oil spill, or erosion. This lead me to think about the necessary conditions that often precede personal reclamation. When parts of a person’s life need reclaimed, it usually means that some force has overtaken an area of one’s heart, mind, or body. In order to reclaim something, it takes determination, and if we need to reclaim something personal, it takes courage. It requires bravery and resolve to move against something that has overcome a person once already. This requires a certain brand of faith, which might more aptly be called moxy. There are costs involved in reclamation, and the attitude and strength of will required for the task
are what I chose to portray in this piece.
Presence - Core Gallery
The Christos Collective presents “Presence” a group exhibition at CORE annex gallery on Santa Fe Drive in Denver. May 28 – June 14, 2015. First Friday June 5, 6-9 pm, Artist Talks June 12, 7-8 pm.
"Presence is more than just being there." -Malcom Forbes
Searching, questing, and sometimes, questioning, "Presence," is a show that glows golden from within, exploring what it means to exist, and probing levels of human engagement. Both presence and absence are explored in the artwork, inviting the viewer to deeper contemplation of their own sense of attentiveness and identity. "Presence" brings together work in a variety of media from the Denver-based art cohort, Christos Collective.
Christos artists challenge traditional art genres such as icon and portrait painting, where forms are absent, disjointed, and hybridized. The result is a range of compelling depictions of intense, focused thought, alongside pieces that portray the idea that one can be physically in attendance without being mentally present. Some pieces explore a state of transition, where, like an old photograph, the visible form of the subject is fading from view.
The absence of presence is also explored in the form of distraction or confusion where the image itself is barely discernible. For example, photographers take photos of reflections of reflections, causing viewers to ponder the paradox of presence and absences along with their mysterious, yet welcoming, feeling of uncertainty. Additionally, these pieces raise the unanswered question as to whether presence should necessarily be synonymous with visual clarity. In other instances, the viewer is invited to engage physically with the work in order to perceive the work more completely, highlighting the viewer's active participation.
At times, the show brings recognizable figurations or expression of the human spirit into focus, and at others, one feels as though one is reaching for something, but hasn't found it yet. "Presence" explores the invitation to "be," even if one is still in a state of becoming.
Christos Collective is an international artists and scholars community that empowers contemporary Christian visual art to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of a Christian worldview.
ANNE EMMONS | Emptiness/Purity $2400 Clay, gold on gessoed board, 48’x22” Barely visible lines etched into white signify the limit of the form. Gold fused into a clay base, signifies the alchemy of one material to its opposite. Decisions mark boundaries in the future, define the movement from one state of being to another, the limits and the potential of personhood. Resolutions
DUSTIN GROENEMAN | Untitled $125 Acrylic, ink on paper, 15.75”x19.75” The world is a far more complicated place than we give it credit for. As individuals, we have the power to simplify our own perception of things to as narrow a field as we find manageable. Doing this can bring a measure of comfort, or a sense of control, but really it just distorts reality. As an artist, my task is to expand my own vision to be as large and complete as bravery will allow. Then, I offer others what I have found. If what I offer lies outside the viewer’s defined reality, they have the opportunity to open themselves to a wider world.
GARRETT LARSON | Der Augenblick NFS Enlarged polaroid, 13”x17.5” Life happens in the blink of an eye. This polaroid captures that blink. In this piece you are able to read the portrait’s contentment through its posture and facial expressions. The white fade is the representation of the eye blinking, which creates the meaning of the phrase in the blink of an eye.
HARRIET MAGGI OLDS | Eden Revisited $600 Photography, 11”x18” Wonder. “I’ve never seen anything like ‘it’ before...?” It is so easy to get preoccupied with ourselves, the words we speak, the plans and projects we conceive, that we become immune to the glory of creation. We miss the experience of awe, reverence, and wonder. God intended for us to discover His loving presence in the world around us. We need to know that God exists, but our “everydayness” is interrupted by the experience of His presence. “How do we live in the presence of the living God” In wonder, amazed by the traces of God all around us. In the grasp of wonder, I am surprised, I am enraptured. God’s loving presence and power are even more real. “Each day I do not ask to see the reason for it all; I ask only to share the wonder of it all.” Excerpts from “The Ragamuffin Gospel” by Brennan Manning.
SANDRA HOPKINS | Onion Study No. 1 $550 Reclaimed mixed fabrics, buttons, 14.75”x20.5” My onion study sessions are an exercise in seeing inspired by Robert Farrar Capon’s second chapter, “The First Session,” from his book The Supper of the Lamb, A Culinary Reflection. Seeing what is truly there, not what I want or expect to see, not what something could be in relation to me, but rather, to see something as it truly is. True place is discovered through these direct confrontations as we look at things as they are. This first session explores some of the fundamental colors and line found in an onion.
SANDRA JEAN CEAS | One#1 $800 Acrylic on canvas, 14”x58” I began a new white-on-white series to experience the evanescent space between presence and absence, fragments and wholeness, whispers and silence, and pandemonium and peace with an intention of ceremonial reverence leading to a spiritual affirmation of unity.
CASTELLA | Glory in the Depths $1200 Photography Exploring the beauty of the earth’s surface and heavens astounds me daily, but entering the earth literally, such as within caves, leaves me in awe. This photograph was taken under ground. The colors take me back to reading in Revelation of the Foundation Wall in the New Jerusalem adorned with twelve brilliant precious stones.
SUNNY RASCHKE | Devastation 2 $250 Mixed Media on Canvas, 12”x12” Art is a discipline, but it is first and foremost a spiritual discipline. The work of art is a revelation of spiritual truth, but it is also a personal struggle to achieve that truth. As an artist and a “creative”, I struggle with my obsessions, illusions, and addictions. So do most other people like myself. Most people think of addiction as being hooked on certain substances. But as I have discovered, in exploring 12-Step programs, that is also about character defects which impair judgment. In this genre called “recovery art”, which now occupies much of my professional work, I try to bring viewers, as well as other artists, into a state of awareness about the very difficult struggle to achieve meaning and purpose in life. But - even more importantly - it is to recognize that the struggle is not about finding fault with others or the world around us, but understand and embrace both our limitations and our God-given talents. In other words, it’s about honesty, with ourselves and with our art. My discovery that this was the primary mission of my art came in often painful stages. I realized slowly that there was a Higher Power – call it God, the force, or whatever - that was guiding and shaping my life, showing me how to play masterfully the hand I had and put the pieces of the puzzle that was me together. When you play the game of life, you don’t always get dealt a great hand. But you’re making progress. You’re on a journey. Perfection is not the goal, only the realization that you’re traveling the right road. “Progress, not perfection” is my motto.
TARA MCCONNELL | Structure $550 Watercolor, 17”x35” In the world that surrounds human beings, structures of various forms and purposes exist that often establish a regimen for how we choose to (and are or are not permitted to) move through our world. Alongside my increasing interest in the notion of play within my work, I am curious about how playful activity can serve to question the establishment of structures, their purposes, and the regulations and guidelines that the presence of these structures enforces; both implied and direct. To me, a tire swing on a light post under a large open sky is a reminder that amidst the urban environment with its ubiquitous regulations, we are still part of a natural, freeing big-ness that can be found by questioning the structures around us and by seeking the opportunity to creatively play among them.
ISAAC KARNER | Logos $800 Assemblage with gold leaf, oils, and LED, 12”Hx7”Wx5”D The second king of Israel, David, wrote, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” I believe that within every person there is a secret yearning for Truth. Absolute Truth. We all want something that will guide us through the ups and downs of life–answering the question: “How then, shall we live?” How do we find peace and joy? How do we handle tragedy? How do we improve our world? These questions are indicative of a desire so deep and strong that it calls to our consciences and informs our ideals. However, this yearning for Truth is often so hidden, so secret, that one is often unconscious of its existence. In the Judeo-Christian context, this Truth exists outside of Self, but is wholly accessible and immeasurably valuable. The ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, first used the term “Logos”–most often translated to “word”–to designate the divine reason or plan which coordinates a changing universe. Logos is a representation of the common yearning within our hearts, and the words of Truth that I keep in mine.
JENNIFER BUNGE | Sower $600 Watercolor and pen on paper, 15”x21” In this watercolor piece, artist Jennifer Bunge fuses the familiar image of Jean-François Millet’s “the Sower,” painted in 1850 (and which was copied by Van Gogh many times) with the actual Biblical passage on the subject to search for some ways in which sowing and reaping are present in our daily lives. Woven within the painting are small drawings of individuals in various stages of life interacting with the types of soil in which they live.
KARIN SODERHOLM | Map Fragment $530 Hand embroidery on recycled cotton fabric, 16”x24” This object, this fragment of a map, is an artifact of time, journey and movement. Each simple stitch in the fabric is evidence of a hand at work, full of memory. It has presence. Just like my hand moved with each passing of the needle, so do I believe that the hand of the creator moves in time and journeys with us.
KATINA LOWE | Birmingham Church I $325 Inkjet print, 27.5”x21.5” *(Series includes Birmingham Church II, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for pricing on series, series purchase comes at discounted rate.) My faith has looked like impenetrable walls, flimsy cheesecloth, bright lemon juice, and dying leaves. I was at a point in my late 20s where my past spiritual knowledge was just milling about inside my mind, processing the new information: God didn’t require relationship based on a point system or a reward/punishment exchange. This was a new feeling for me, and I didn’t quite know how to proceed with my life. Yet the time was exquisitely beautiful, like colors bouncing off of colors and reflectios on reflections and sparkle on sparkle. My faith looked like this photo, for it was both there and not there—it was a pure representation of a new spirit formed from enigmatic light.
LEVI NELSON | Shattered $550 Acrylic and ink transfer, 26”x36” Presence is not enhanced by striving. It is being comfortable in one’s own skin regardless of past failure or looming potential for future failure. My work is a meditation and reflection upon the damaged self as an acceptable state of being in opposition to the crushing burden that comes with the false idealized self born from progress or personal improvement narratives and shame-fueled retreat. It began as a way of coping with my divorce and has developed into focusing on the visceral life found not in denying failure, but receiving grace for myself and others.
MELISSA CARMON MYERS | Portrait of Steven $900 Acrylic Wash with Paint Pen on Colored Paper, 19.5”x24” “The quietness of thoughts, books, histories a mind that treads those Roman Roads and finds the Way in the Wilderness a heart that is measured and sure when it finds the thing worth seeking weighs grain from those fields of theories and knows that opalescent gleam that pearl of great rice when it’s shining in his eyes.” MCM In the series to which this piece belongs, I wanted to combine subtle lines and careful attention to detail with bold, Warhol-like colors. My aim was to bring together a Renaissance-era regard for drawing with color choices informed by Post-Impressionist era color theory. Studies on the theory of simultaneous contrast, first articulated by the French scientist, Michel Chevreul, and studies in color relativity, following the work of Joseph Albers, are two of my primary influences. As a writer and an artist, I find that sometimes paintings and