Living one’s faith comes in many forms – through devotional prayer, doing God’s work daily, and creative minds in artistic form. The St. Joseph Gallery at Holy Cross College at Notre Dame, Indiana, is excited to share visual expressions of faith by students, faculty, and members of the area community through the exhibit “The Art of Faith.” Visitors are invited to explore the exhibit now until December 16 with a gallery reception scheduled on October 6, from 3:30-4:30 p.m.
“I am a Visual Arts professor here at Holy Cross College and have been thinking a lot about how to use art as a tool for discipleship in the classroom. I have been integrating my faith into my artwork for a few years now and recently met a few artists that were doing similar things. These experiences led me to think about how amazing it would be to organize an exhibition of local artists that were inspired by their Catholic faith,” said Angelo Ray Martínez, M.F.A., Assistant Professor of Visual Arts, the Program Director of Visual Arts & Music, and Director of the St. Joseph Gallery.
“The Holy Family”
Acrylic on wood panel
By Stephen Barany, 2022
Stephen Barany lives in South Bend, Indiana, and attends St. Anthony de Padua Parish. He is a freelance illustrator, an adjunct professor of Visual Arts at Holy Cross College, and is currently working on his first self-published book, “Alphabet Mobile,” a wordless picture book teeming with alliterative drawings that help children learn the alphabet, build their vocabulary, and practice the art of careful looking.
The painting is based on a 2018 prototype by Mihai Cucu and recalls Andrei Rublev’s classic icon of the Holy Trinity. Gathered at the table with Mary and Joseph, Jesus raises his hand as a sign of blessing and invitation. He has left open the fourth side of the table; it is open for you.
“I decided to participate because it is important for Holy Cross students to see that they are part of a broader community of faith that includes the South Bend, Mishawaka, and Granger areas. And that they are connected to local parishes in some way. For students to see that at least 10 local artists depict their faith artistically in some way communicates that practicing Christians in this place make a full effort to live out, to make real and tangible their belief and fidelity to God,” said Barany. “My recent wedding inspired me to create this piece. My wife and I wanted to give our wedding guests a gift that would remind them of the sanctity and importance of marriage and family. This icon of the Holy Family will hopefully be part of many homes and many families and inspire them to love with the love of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.”
Egg tempura and gold leaf on wood panel
By Anastassia Tess Cassady, 2022
Anastassia Tess Cassady lives in South Bend, Indiana, and attends St. Matthew Cathedral Parish. She is a freelance artist and teaches at Trinity School at Greenlawn. She works primarily in private commissions, some of which include church murals, church gilding, portrait commissions, byzantine icon commissions, book covers, and most recently, illustrations for a children’s book of saints that will be published later this year. She has also exhibited her work at ArtPrize at the South Bend Museum of Art.
This painting is a depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (Matthew 27:32). The process used to create this work is based on the traditional methods of iconography.
“The Light Becomes Flesh”
Acrylic on canvas
By Megan Gettinger, 2020
Megan Gettinger lives in South Bend, Indiana, and attends St.Thérèse Little Flower Parish while also serving as their Communications Coordinator. She has a passion for integrating contemporary graphic design and traditional sacred art in her communications work at the parish.
“Angelo’s invitation to participate in the exhibition was such a pleasant surprise! Generally, I paint as a personal hobby and a means of prayer and self-care. While I have sold some pieces, I don’t consider myself a professional artist, so I was honored to be included. I am excited to participate in this exhibition in particular as its goal was to gather art relating to our shared Catholic faith. There is so much beauty and diversity to be found in the Catholic Church and this exhibition is a microcosm of that,” said Gettinger. “This was my first large abstract piece and so much of the process of creating it was truly an act of prayer. I needed to be reminded that in the midst of the fear and uncertainty of our fallen world, eternity has broken into the chaos in the person of Jesus Christ at the moment of the Incarnation; that Light cannot be overcome by darkness; and that there is power in wholeheartedly saying ‘yes’ to the Holy Spirit, as Mary did.”
“The Holy Family in a Siberian Forest”
Acrylic on canvas
By Mary Kloska, 2021
Mary Kloska lives in Elkhart, Indiana, and attends St. Vincent de Paul Parish. She is a Catholic author that has published seven books, many of which have been translated into multiple languages and distributed for free to persecuted Christians around the world. She started the non-profit ‘Fiat Foundation’ to help fund this mission work and has a weekly WCAT Radio program, “The Heart of Fiat Crucified Love.” Her artwork is primarily used for the covers of her books, and other images within them, but she has also distributed free copies of icons in Pakistan and Nigeria.
“I was so happy to participate in the exhibition because it is an opportunity to share the love and beauty of God through art with all who will see these works. Art is a language that speaks deeply to the human heart and religious art all the more so speaks with God’s voice to the hearts created by Him. By participating in this exhibition, we are cooperating with the Holy Spirit in His constant work of sharing life, light, and hope to His creation,” said Kloska. “I lived for several years in Eastern Siberia and it was in the midst of atheist Russia that I saw the presence of God so clearly calling to His children. My piece is entitled ‘The Holy Family in a Siberian Forest” and I marveled that the Holy Family who took refuge in the poverty of the stable in Bethlehem also finds rest in our poor hearts when we allow it. This mystery I witnessed so profoundly during the years I served as a missionary in Russia -God was truly present in the hearts of His people, even when some of them didn’t know His name. I wanted to share this mystery of His divine presence and love with those all over the world who feel alone in a wilderness of any kind.”
Acrylic on canvas
By Angelo Ray Martínez, 2022
Angelo Ray Martínez lives in South Bend, Indiana, and attends St. Anthony de Padua Parish. He has exhibited in numerous museums and galleries, including the Akron Art Museum, Currier Museum of Art, Oklahoma Contemporary Art Center, and South Bend Museum of Art.
Within his artwork, Martínez utilizes images of fish, which were used by the early Christians to symbolize their faith, to create aquatic scenes that explore themes of Catholic identity and spirituality. This painting, Conversion II, is symbolic of his own spiritual conversion, as it was created while the artist was converting to Catholicism and completing the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). It is also a metaphor for the daily conversion of a Christian, the leaving of one’s worldly self in pursuit of the transcendent essence of Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:24-26, Galatians 2:20, and 1 Corinthians 15:31), which is symbolized by the pixelation of the second fish.
“The Five Wounds”
Digital photograph & archival inkjet print
By Melonie Mulkey, 2022
Melonie Mulkey lives in South Bend, Indiana, and attends St. Anthony de Padua Parish. She is an Adjunct Professor of Visual Arts at Holy Cross College and has exhibited in numerous exhibitions, both nationally and internationally, including the Filter Photo Gallery in Chicago, JanKossen Contemporary Gallery in New York, Ft. Wayne Museum of Art in Indiana, Millepiani Gallery in Rome, Italy, and the CICA Museum in South Korea. She has also been the recipient of several awards and has been included in publications such as Loosen Art, Manifest, and Studio Visit Magazine.
In her photograph, she uses place as a metaphor for contemplating the Last Supper and Jesus’ crucifixion. In the New Testament, according to John, blood and water poured out of Jesus’s final wound as he was hanging on the cross (John 19:34). The symbolism in the image invites the viewer to contemplate the incarnation and sacrifice of the five piercing wounds that Jesus suffered during his crucifixion: Two in his hands, two in his feet, and one on his side.
“I had a recent two-person exhibition at the University of Notre Dame this past summer and Angelo saw the work and inquired about putting this piece in the show he was curating at Holy Cross,” notes Mulkey. “The piece in the show is from a larger body of work titled “Chambers of the Heart,” which is Inspired by mystical theology and texts regarding stated of the soul and its longing to connect with the divine.”
Acrylic on canvas
By Stephanie Nuñez, 2022
Stephanie Nuñez lives in South Bend, Indiana, and attends St. Adalbert Parish. She is currently a Visual Arts major at Holy Cross College and aspires to pursue a master’s degree in fine arts (MFA) after graduation. She has exhibited her work locally in the St. Joseph Gallery, South Bend Museum of Art, and was recently featured in Today’s Catholic for her mural of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the HCC campus.
Within her artwork, Nuñez explores the intersection of faith and culture. This painting of a home altar is a reflection of the cultural practice witnessed by the artist in many Hispanic households.
“Come Holy Spirit”
Mixed media on wood panel
By Teresa Phipps, 2022
Teresa Phipps lives in South Bend, Indiana, and attends St. Joseph Catholic Church in Mishawaka. She is a retired high school art teacher and full-time artist. She has exhibited her work at numerous art centers and galleries, including the Arkansas Art Center, Buchanan Art Center, Figure One Gallery, and the South Bend Museum of Art.
“Angelo Ray Martinez asked me to create a show for Holy Cross College last fall and it was my first solo show. I spend several months working on a collection of work that explored icons and images in a more contemporary style. The work was centered around a drawing entitled “Three In One.” When I was invited to be part of this collection of artists I was most eager to accept and had no idea what I wanted to create and felt rather stuck. The only thing I could think of was “Come Holy Spirit” and direct me,” said Phipps. “The painting was done with a free and loose brush stroke and with each stroke, I would speak “Come Holy Spirit.” The act of releasing my concern about what to paint became a direct prayer to the Holy Trinity and it was a totally freeing experience in my soul. That is why the painting is entitled, “Come Holy Spirit.”
“Woman, Why are you Weeping?”
By Gabe Rauch, 2022
Gabe Rauch lives in South Bend, Indiana, and attends St. Anthony de Padua Parish where is also the director of communications for the parish and school. He also worked as a drawing instructor at the South Bend Museum of Art in 2020 and 2021.
This digital painting, “Woman, Why are you Weeping?”, is inspired by the account of Mary of Magdala when she peered into Jesus’ tomb. Scripture states that she saw two angels in white, “…one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been.” (John 20:12). This image imagines what Mary beheld, and by the presence of the angels and their words to Mary, “Woman, why are you weeping?” (John 20:13), it also recalls the light that darkness could never extinguish.
“Ecce Agnus Dei”
Charcoal on paper
By Cecilia Simerman, 2022
Cecilia Simerman lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and attends St. Aloysius Catholic Church. She is currently a Visual Arts major and minoring in Spanish and Theology at Holy Cross College. She aspires to work as a graphic designer in Fort Wayne after graduation, possibly for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.
“My drawing is intended to represent the concept of the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I was inspired by the moment in John 20:24-29, when Jesus appeared after his Resurrection and showed his wounds to Thomas, saying, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed”. Though we do not see Christ in the same way as Thomas did, he is every bit as physically present for us to behold in the Eucharist, inviting us to believe,” said Simerman.
Martínez noted that many of the artists in the exhibit never met one another and through this collaboration, he hopes to foster the beginning of a local community of Catholic artists. He hopes each artist becomes even more inspired to share their faith through their artistic talents.
“I hope that visitors are able to appreciate the diversity of Catholic expression. Some of the works are more traditional and some are more contemporary, but they all address aspects of Christian faith and spirituality,” said Martínez. “I also hope that by contemplating these artworks, viewers are inspired to reflect on their own unique journey of faith.”
Photos by Evan Cobb.