Saturday, August 10, 2013

Beyond Belief: An Exhibition of the Spiritual in Modern Art

                                                    Teresa Fernandez Fire 2005 SFMOMA
San Francisco is a marvelous city for discovering the idiosyncratic. A art exhibition at the Contemporary Jewish Museum assembles many artworks from SF Museum of Modern Art that reflect the uncanny overlap between spirituality and modern and contemporary art over the past 100 years. Having abandoned its association with organized religion at the onset of the Enlightenment, modern art has sought meaning in subjective spiritual experience and in the conveying of Divine presence in the material of the art. This exhibition does just that to the viewer, transporting us through  various qualities of the spirit: genesis, abstraction, presence, meaning-making and hiddenness. Schleiermacher, an early 19th century theologian, wrote an apology for religion to his Romantic artist friends in which he posited that  religion was grounded in feelings, namely, a feeling or intuition of utter dependence on something beyond oneself. Experiencing this exhibit at the Contemporary Jewish Museum rivets the soul with this sense of dependence on the infinite and complex expressions embedded in great art.
                                      Ana Mendieta Tallus Mater/Stern Mother 1982 SFMOMA

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