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Contemporary Expressions of Western Christian Spirituality


The Center for Lifelong Learning is pleased to present the photography of alumna Katie Archibald-Woodward. Take a break mid-week to see a new art exhibit on campus inspired by the Lifelong Learning course, Western Christian Spirituality taught by professor emerita Catherine Gonzalez. Join us on Wednesday, March 20, from 4:30 – 5:30 PM for an artist’s reception to mark the opening of the exhibit.

Describing the exhibit, Archibald-Woodward writes, “My inspiration for the exhibit was fueled by a recent course in the Certificate in Spiritual Formation program at Columbia Seminary. The course title prompted me to consider how significantly I have been influenced by artistic expressions of Western Christian spirituality, particularly the artwork of the Byzantine and Renaissance eras.

Michelangelo’s frescoes of heavenly scenes spread across grand ceilings and walls, and exquisite Biblical characters chiseled magnificently in marble enliven my soul and awaken me to the divine.  Equally influential are the gorgeous illuminated paintings of Caravaggio. His masterful use of the chiaroscuro (lit. “light and dark”) technique make the Word come to life in his painting, The Taking of Christ, in which he captures the haunting glow of that dreadful night when Judas’ kiss sent Jesus to his death…although you will find no signs of plaster, pigment or brushes here, perhaps you will be struck by God’s glorious creativity captured through a camera lens, playfully painted in a Swiss sunset one September evening (ref. Holy Spirit).  And though there are no oil paints or canvasses here either, perhaps you will notice the chiaroscuro-like banter of light and dark in a peculiar portrayal of the nativity scene (ref. Come and See).

By no means is the title of this exhibit intended to limit these expressions as belonging solely to a western Christian, but rather my hope is these photographs reflect the experience of one contemporary Christian from the West.  You will also notice many of the photographs were not taken in “western” countries, but rather span a wide swath of locales, cultures, and expressions.  The images are intended to convey my impressions of the contemporary era in which we live — one with expansive access to the world and increasing opportunities to be influenced by and reconnected with the lands across the globe — all of God’s creation; God’s Word made visible throughout the earth.”

Katie’s photography is not only a joy-filled passion, but a form of ministry.  She hopes her photographs will help others experience the visible Word of God (visio divina) captured in the beauty and diversity of creation.  Katie also hopes others, like she, will be revived with a sense of wonder and delight for God's marvelous work and in turn become more connected to God, each other, and creation.

Visitors are welcome to view the exhibit between 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM, Monday – Friday.

For more information:
Call: 404-687-4577

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