Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Finding Redemption Through Art

Holly Scoggins' 'Light From Its Load, The Spirit Flies'
PANAMA CITY — Redemption is more than just a counter where you turn over your collection of tickets from the arcade games in exchange for cheap plastic trinkets.

Or at least, it should be.

The Visual & Performing Arts Division of Gulf Coast State College will allow visitors to explore artists’ interpretations of “Redemption” through the remainder of the semester. An art exhibit on this subject opens next Friday, Nov. 15, in conjunction with the premiere of the college’s stage production of “Les Miserables.”

Victor Hugo, writing about his novel on which the musical is based, said “Les Misérables” is about “a progress from evil to good, from injustice to justice, from falsehood to truth, from night to day, from appetite to conscience, from corruption to life; from bestiality to duty, from hell to heaven, from nothingness to God.”

He continues: “The starting point: matter; destination: the soul. The hydra at the beginning, the angel at the end.”

(Which is, in my opinion, just as good a description of the artist’s visceral drive to create art as it is of one’s attempt to redeem one’s soul.)

Throughout the story, characters struggle with their perceptions of themselves and the most extreme of circumstances, and they pray to be redeemed from the lives and choices they have made for themselves and those closest to them.

“Redemption” will feature work by seven artists from across the United States who have, according to promotional materials, “contemplated the idea of redemption through painting with results as diverse as the people who made them.” Participating artists are Dina Brodsky, Gary Chapman, Megan Ewert, Richard Heipp, Logan Marconi, Kymia Nawabi and Holly Scoggins.

“While some address redemption in its most literal, theological meaning, others take a broader approach and focus on the idea of a journey, transformation, or self-actualization and self-perception,” according to a description of the show prepared by GCSC.

The exhibit will open with a reception, free and open to the public, from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 15. The work will be on display in the Amelia Center Main Gallery (Room 112) until Dec. 5. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and admission is free. For more details, email professor and ceramics artist Pavel Amromin at pamromin@gulfcoast.edu.

In some views, redemption must be earned through self-sacrifice. Others see it as a gift freely given to those who truly seek it — redeemed by grace, not works, as the Good Book says.

However, these particular works promise a wealth of redeeming value. Give them a look, and let me know if they transport you to a better place.


Peace.

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