SXU Gallery Presents "Into the Light: A Gathering of Religious Artifacts from the Permanent Collection in Celebration of the 175th Anniversary of Saint Xavier University"
In celebration of its 175th anniversary, Saint Xavier University (SXU), founded in 1846 by the Sisters of Mercy, will host "Into the Light: A Gathering of Religious Artifacts from the Permanent Collection in Celebration of the 175th Anniversary of Saint Xavier University" in the SXU Gallery. A special viewing and reception will be held Thursday, September 23, immediately after Spirit of Mercy Day Mass at noon.
The artifacts on display include sculptures, mosaics, watercolors, drawings, screen prints, painting and official documents. The documents date back to the founding of the Saint Francis Xavier Female Academy in 1846, and though most of the artwork is undated, many were created by the Sisters of Mercy.
There are a number of unique and extraordinary pieces in the collection, though some stand out. "The Four Evangelists" is a painting done by Barbara Goshu in an Ethiopian style on wood panel, purchased by Sister Christian Molidor, RSM, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in October 2001 and later donated to SXU. Also featured in the collection is a beautiful original charcoal portrait drawing of a beatific young woman.
"This drawing is in the tradition of the 17th-century Italian painter Caravaggio, who took chiaroscuro to the extreme, often blacking out large portions of the background and brightly illuminating large foreground subjects. This combination of using high contrast with a single focused light source had an incredibly dramatic effect," said Catherine Ruggie Saunders, art and design professor and director of the SXU Gallery.
Though religious art was a common theme two centuries ago, it's not quite as prevalent now, conferring a degree of rarity upon the collection, which also contains media, such as mosaics, that were more commonly done in previous eras.
"I hope visitors to the exhibition will have a meditative experience viewing the artifacts and art, perhaps even a prayerful one. The University has an artistic legacy of import and value, and this collection attests to the significance that the Sisters of Mercy placed upon the arts in a liberal arts environment. I hope this archive continues to be augmented and cherished," said Ruggie Saunders.
The exhibit will be on display in the SXU Gallery through October 18, 2021. The SXU Gallery is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call the SXU Gallery at 773-298-3081.