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Summer 2014: Images that Celebrate and Challenge

Featuring the art of the Rev. James P. Neilson, O Praem, and Luba Lukova

(left) The Worshipful Company of Upholders IV; (right) Leah and Rachel, Art © Luba Lukova

"Images that Celebrate and Challenge" is the Summer 2014 exhibit at the Mary-Frances and Bill Veeck Art Gallery, featuring the work of CTU alumnus the Rev. James P. Neilson, O Praem, and internationally renowned artist Luba Lukova. The show runs from June 8 to August 4, 2014. The gallery is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


James P. Neilson, O Praem
Artist Statement

My work is grounded in the Arte Povera esthetic and the overwhelming amount of FREE books that I’ve “rescued” from recycling bins (I actually LOVE books and only use books that have been deaccessioned from library collections and were destined to become pulp…again).
Books are anthropomorphic; they have spines and layers of “dermis”…they tell stories and have shelf-lives…they are handled-with-care, shared with strangers, inscribed and personalized (often sealed with the DNA of the reader), ignored and rejected…they are sometimes kept hidden, censored and burned, considered “too rare” to be touched and, sometimes, they change the course of an individual life or community.  Who wouldn’t want to use such CHARGED material/medium?!
I never add color or words to the book…I attempt to keep their essential character in place… I will, clearly, dissect the book, reveal the too-often “unseen” side of the book, illustrate its title, and alter its pages (therein hyper-responding to the very nature of pages in a book…they are intended to be touched).
The four chair-and-book works are new inquiries into homomateriality (the chairs and the books find their common/essential origin in wood)…these pieces are meant to excite conversation about the nature and function of chairs and books within a variety contexts (from formal esthetic considerations to conceptual musings about “critical sameness”).
I also like uniting materials from disciplines of religion and science, faith and reason; the combination of elements from (rejected) church architecture and medicine is my attempt to reconcile seemingly disparate schools of academic knowledge, equipment and symbols.
I was a student at CTU from 1989-1993 I am incredibly indebted to the faculty who consistently challenged me to artfully combine a wide range of critical methods, unconventional strategies and far-reaching locations in forming thoughts and ideas about Catholic identity, nature, history, heritage and beauty.  Whereas there were no “art classes” here at that time, the foundation for my later MFA (mixed-media sculpture) was created in the academic research and creative ministry I did in the company of so many wonderfully talented and brilliant teachers, guides, mentors, and fellow students (and a muse or two, as well!).

Luba Lukova, Women of the Bible

Internationally recognized, New York based Luba Lukova is regarded as one of the most distinctive image-makers working today. Whether by using an economy of line, color, and text to pinpoint essential themes of the human condition or succinctly visualizing social commentary, her art is undeniably powerful and thought provoking. Lukova's solo exhibitions have been held at UNESCO, Paris; DDD Gallery, Osaka, Japan; La MaMa Gallery, New York; and The Art Institute of Boston. She has received commissions from Adobe Systems, Sony Music, and Harvard University. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Library of Congress; and Bibliotheque nationale de France, Paris. Her numerous awards include Grand Prix Savignac at the International Poster Salon, Paris; the Golden Pencil Award at the One Club, New York; Honor Laureate at the International Poster Exhibition in Fort Collins, CO. The Huffington Post recently included Lukova's work as number one in their review "15 Women Artists, Who Have Left Their Mark On Modern Design." Her new book Graphic Guts (Clay & Gold), featuring her social commentary art, will be released later this year.
Lukova's work is currently on view at MoMA, New York, and Denver Art Museum.

Lukova's mastery of turning a few lines into the complex and sublime is shown in Women of the Bible, a stunning collection of 24 silk-screened prints. Bold and contemporary, beautiful and imaginative, the prints depict different women of the Bible, some of whom are little known. The passion and emotion of the Scripture come through in these deceptively simple images, telling the stories of women, who more often than not live on the margins of the texts.