Christ Chapel

Christ Chapel was dedicated on Christ the King Sunday, 2006.

The chapel is dedicated to the power of story and the good news of Jesus Christ, our Savior, who comes to us through the telling of his story.

We dedicate this chapel and our lives to the telling of his story.

The Artists and Their Stories

John August Swanson

JOHN AUGUST SWANSON makes his home in Los Angeles, California. He paints in oil, watercolor, acrylic and mixed media, and is an independent printmaker of limited edition serigraphs, lithographs and etchings.

His art reflects the strong heritage of storytelling he inherited from his Mexican mother and Swedish father. John Swanson’s narrative is direct and easily understood. He addresses himself to human values, cultural roots, and his quest for self-discovery through visual images. These include Bible stories and social celebrations such as attending the circus, the concert, and the opera. He also tells of everyday existence, of city and country walks, of visits to the library, the train station or the schoolroom. All his parables optimistically embrace life and one’s spiritual transformation.

His unique style is influenced by the imagery of Islamic and medieval miniatures, Russian iconography, the color of Latin American folk art, and the tradition of Mexican muralists.

His art is in no way "naïve." It is detailed, complex, and elaborate. Unlike many contemporary artists, John Swanson works directly on all phases in producing his original prints. His serigraphs (limited-edition screen prints) have from 40 to 60 colors printed, using transparent and opaque inks creating rich and detailed imagery. For each color printed the artist must draw a stencil on Mylar film. This stencil is transferred to the silk screen for printing the color ink on the serigraph edition. The resulting serigraph is a matrix of richly overlaid colors visually striking and technically masterful.

Mr. Swanson’s art is represented in the permanent collections of many museums, including three museums of the Smithsonian Institutions: The National Museum of American History, The National Museum of American Art and The National Air and Space Museum. He is also included in the print collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Harvard University’s Fogg Museum, the Tate Gallery and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. His painting The Procession is one of relatively few works by contemporary artists to be selected for the Vatican Museums’ Collection of Modern Religious Art.

Life magazine, December 1994, featured John Swanson’s painting Enter into the City for the article "Who Was Jesus?". This painting was purchased for the Center of Continuing Education building at the University of Notre Dame.

Christ Chapel features 4 serigraphs by John Swanson.  Three major pieces behind the altar make up the nativity triptych.  These are wonderful examples of John’s ability to tell story.  Pay special attention to the little things going on in the midst of this most significant event;  the ordinary,  the practical reality, and the sense of journey both ordinary and spiritual.

At the back of the chapel is John’s fourth piece, Fishes and Loaves.  Note the complexity of the piece, both in execution and story.  This serigraph required 58 separate printings.  I invite you to take a close look at John’s work.  There you will discover many wonderful surprises.  The detail on the right from Fishes and Loaves shows that what from a distance looks like a colorful dress is actually a story within the story.

A serigraph is created by placing multiple layers of paint on a canvas.  A close examination of his work  shows how John also layers stories within a single piece.  This detail of a camel’s blanket reveals the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

John often connects the Old Testament with the New by layering images upon images.

Likewise, John’s work connects the extraordinary with the ordinary.  In his Nativity piece, we find the angels dancing on the top while on the bottom we have the reality that even at this moment, the birth of the Christ, someone has to fetch the wood and keep the fire going.

 

Dr. He Qi

Dr. He Qi was a professor at the Nanjing Union Theological Seminary and a tutor for master candidate students in the Philosophy Department of University. He is also a member of the China Art Association and a council member of the Asian Christian Art Association He has been committed to the artistic creation of modern Chinese Christian Art since 1983. He hopes to help change the "foreign image" of Christianity in China by using artistic language, and at the same time, to supplement Chinese Art the way Buddhist art did in ancient times. In his works, He Qi has blended together Chinese folk customs and traditional Chinese painting techniques with the western art of the Middle and Modern Ages, and has created an artistic style of color-on-paper painting.

He Qi was the first among Mainland Chinese to earn Ph.D. in the Religious art after Cultural Revolution. He wrote his dissertation while studying at Hamburg Art Institute in Germany, where he was also able to pursue research in medieval art. His work has been well received overseas: He has exhibited in Kyoto, Hong Kong, Geneve, Hamburg, London, St. Paul, San Francisco, Berkeley and Madison. His art works have been introduced through some main medias such as: BBC, HK Cable TV, Asian Week, Far Eastern Economic Review, Christianity Today, Upper Room, Augsburg Fortress, Sing Tao Daily News, The World Daily.

What you will notice first in the Christ Chapel He Qi collection is the vibrant use of color. We have four pieces, each telling the story of a moment in the life of Jesus.

 

Donald Jackson

As Senior Scribe to Her Majesty the Queen’s Crown Office at the House of Lords, Donald Jackson had reached the pinnacle of his profession.  But for years he had an unrealized dream: to write the Bible by hand.

Saint John’s Abbey and University dared to imagine with Jackson an illuminated Bible for the 21st Century.  A Bible handwritten in English.  In his scriptorium in Wales, Donald Jackson assembled a team of scribes and artists who shared this vision.  In bringing it to life, they have used only materials associated with enduring manuscripts: carefully prepared calfskins, hand-cut goose quills, century-old inks, and precious metals.

The Saint John’s Bible is a calligrapher’s Sistine Chapel.  It is a bold and dignified witness to the enduring importance of the Word of God.

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