John August Swanson is returning for another round in the Gallery of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church.
On Sunday, Feb. 2, the Arts and Our Faith Committee presents Blessings of Life and Spirit: The Art of John August Swanson. This marks the second time that FAPC has featured the art of the Los Angeles-based artist, whose work appears in Kirkland Chapel, the walls of the church house and the Manse, and in a number of members' homes.
"John's work was last shown in the Gallery in the fall of 2009, as the first exhibit from the newly formed Arts and Our Faith Committee," says Nancy Moore, committee chair. "John traveled from California and gave a wonderful talk in Kirkland Chapel about his work. Several of the pieces in this second exhibit were donated to FAPC's permanent collection by Scott and Amy Black Johnston and by members of the congregation."
Among the works on view are JESTER (2000), the featured image in the 10-week sermon series, A Faith That Blesses, that also debuts on Feb. 2.
"I have long thought that being a Christian is like being a court jester," says Senior Pastor Scott Black Johnston. "Yes, a jester is a fool, but a jester is often the only person in the royal court capable of speaking truth to the king or queen. The Apostle Paul writes that Christians were thought to be fools by Greek society. He could have said the same thing about New York City. And that’s okay! We are fools who seek to open windows of truth, fools who long to bring light to dark places, fools who are forever trying to bless the world around us, fools for Christ."
Swanson's art reflects a heritage of storytelling he inherited from his Mexican mother and Swedish father. Through his stunning visual images, Swanson addresses himself to human values, cultural roots and the quest for spiritual transformation. Bible stories, social celebrations and scenes of everyday life are all part of an artistic narrative that embraces the blessings of life and spirit.
Festival of Lights (shown left), painted in 1991, is based on Swanson's observations of peace marches and liturgical processions in various parts of the world.
"My original thought was that this would be a procession of children from every city and town," the artist writes on his web site. "The children would bring light and peace to the world. They would gather from many places, joining an unending procession towards peace and nonviolence for all children of the world."
Blessings of Life and Spirit will remain on view through Easter Sunday, April 20. The exhibition is free and open during the church's business hours:
8 am - 6 pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday
8 am - 9 pm Tuesday
8 am - 1 pm Saturday
8 am - 2:30 pm Sunday
For more information about John August Swanson, to view more of his work or to inquire about a purchase, please visit johnaugustswanson.com.