Iconoclasm is a genuine recognition of the power of the work of art. Nigel Halliday


KIRBY LAING CENTRE CONFERENCE IN JUNE – FIRST THINGS FIRST: SPIRITUALITY AND PUBLIC THEOLOGY, 11-13 JUNE 2024 IN CAMBRIDGE. The aim of the conference is to establish an annual gathering that embodies our ethos: community – with great food and fellowship – rooted in spirituality, with intellectual rigour coram deo. The launch of the book The Artistic Sphere. The Arts in Neo-Calvinist Perspective, edited by Roger D. Henderson and Marleen Hengelaar-Rookmaaker will be an important part of the proceedings along with other arts-related events. We have chosen these dates so that if overseas participants choose to come in earlier and leave later there is good time for meals and conversation.
The theme for this year’s gathering is First Things First: Spirituality and Public Theology. Our aim at KLC is to accompany the Spirit on his mission, and in order to do this we need to attend in an ongoing fashion to spiritual formation. The journey in – spirituality – opens out to the journey out – our vocations in the world, and both are essential if we are to be salt and light. The gathering will include times of silence and worship, listening to one another’s stories, time for our hubs to gather as desired, rigorous exploration of the nature of public theology, and more. 
We have booked a venue that can seat 75. In order to help us plan well we need a good idea of how many of us plan to attend as soon as possible. We will do our best to keep costs low and once we know how many will attend we will finalise the venue and accommodation. If you are serious about attending please register here and then once we know the costs we will alert you and ask you to register and pay online. More information and to register, see Events - The Kirby Laing Centre
THE ARTISTIC SPHERE OUT NOW!The Artistic Sphere. The Arts in Neo-Calvinist Perspective, Edited by Roger D. Henderson and Marleen Hengelaar-Rookmaaker, published by IVP- Academic. Among Reformed churches, the Neo-Calvinist tradition—as represented in the work of Abraham Kuyper, Herman Dooyeweerd, Hans Rookmaaker, and others—has consistently demonstrated not just a willingness but a desire to engage with all manner of cultural and artistic expressions. This volume, edited by art scholar Roger Henderson and Marleen Hengelaar-Rookmaaker, the daughter of art historian and cultural critic Hans Rookmaaker, brings together history, philosophy, and theology to consider the relationship between the arts and the Neo-Calvinist tradition. With affirmations including the Lordship of Christ, the cultural mandate, sphere sovereignty, and common grace, the Neo-Calvinist tradition is well-equipped to offer wisdom on the arts to the whole body of Christ. Read more

NEW BLOG ON ARTWAY – Book review of James Tughan: CONTACT: The Artistry of Jesus in Nine Faces. Oakville, ON: Nadir Publishing, 2023. ‘In his book James Tughan asks us to consider the idea that Jesus was first an artist before He was anything else. The premise of this book in its art and its words is that in all His interactions with His creation, and the persons in it, in all our successes and failures, His artistry is clearly evident. However, it is previously unlimited artistry that not only is humbled within human limitation, but which passes through the experience of trauma.  The biblical story is one of overcoming it to reinvigorate the creation and artistry itself.’ Read more

NEW EXHBITION BY BRIAN WHELAN. HOLY GROUND – BELIEVERS AND DREAMERS is a new exhibition at the popular ARTworks Gallery at beautiful St Paul’s on the Green in Norwalk, Connecticut. The show, entitled Holy Ground– Believers and Dreamers, will showcase paintings devoted to well-known narratives leading up to Easter Sunday. The subject painting above imagines a peaceful Holy City of all faiths during the upcoming solar and lunar eclipses. 

“[Brian Whelan’s] whimsical mix of the sacred and the mundane --the cosmic and the comic--appeals to post-moderns who prefer their religion packaged in a bit of irony. It can hardly be called trendy. Whelan’s style is as old as the medieval artisans who carved gargoyles next to saints and illuminated sacred texts with scandalous marginalia. Seeing a Whelan painting, writes one art critic, is like ‘looking at a stained glass window through the eyes of Bart Simpson.” — John Kohan (Brian Whelan: Sacred Art Pilgrim)

OPEN LECTURE: ART AND THE CHRISTIAN IN AN AGE OF MASS CULTURE. The Centre for Theology and Public Issues at the University of Otago has extended an invitation to an open lecture by Professor Ephraim Radner. The lecture will be on 'Art and the Christian in an Age of Mass Culture: A Theological discussion on a famous argument of Walter Benjamin regarding art and its reproduction'. Time: Tuesday 13 February at 5:15pm – 6.30pm (NZ time). Place: Archway 2, University of Otago, Dunedin, or livestreamed here.

"CREATION LONGS" SOLO EXHIBITION BY JOSH TIESSEN. OPENING RECEPTION: February 16, 6pm - 9pm. Location: Wycliffe College, 5 Hoskin Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada. "Creation Longs" is an early career retrospective from international award-winning contemporary artist, Josh Tiessen. Select paintings from Tiessen's 15-year career will be on exhibition at Wycliffe College located at the University of Toronto, Canada's premiere academic institution. The theme for this show highlights Tiessen’s emphasis on beauty, particularity, and diversity in the natural world. More than mere aesthetic appreciation, the artist shines a light on the ethical dimensions of creation’s groaning for redemption, longing to be liberated from its bondage to decay, as articulated by the Apostle Paul in Romans 8. Tiessen explores humanity’s relationship with nature, often juxtaposing animals with abandoned remnants of human civilizations.

ICONS: A WAY OF TRULY SEEING . 3 FEB, 10:30AM-4:00PM. 2 CANTERBURY RD, OXFORD. This event will discuss the role of icons in helping us to see the world, how we perceive each other, and how icons are made orthodox. 

SERPENT SYMBOLISMS: FROM MYTHOLOGICAL RAGE TO BIBLICAL WRATH. 16 FEB, 6:30-7:00PM, 7:30-8:00PM. THE NATIONAL GALLERY. Wiebke Leister and Catherine McCormack uncover how contradictory snake iconographies have been used in both mythological and biblical paintings. 

HOPE COLLEGE ARTIST IN RESIDENCE PROGRAM. Hope College runs the Borgeson Artist in Residence Program, a twelve-week summer artist residency. The residency seeks to support the creation of new art through the provision of a stipend, studio and living space on Hope’s campus, along with engagement with the college’s art and art history departments. Learn more + apply by February 17. 

INTERVIEW WITH CALVIN SEERVELD IN PORTUGUESE. ArtWay has just published an interview with the philosopher Calvin Seerveld. The interview is conducted in Portuguese and translated by an interpreter. See the interview here

THE JOY OF EVERYDAY LIFE – The Joy of Everyday Life in the Netherlands and Denmark, The Nivaagaard Collection, Nivå, Denmark. Quiet moments and hard toil, exuberant company and rowdy parties, love and fighting – plus all the breaks in between. The prolific Dutch art world of the seventeenth century bore witness to a new trend, as painters increasingly began to depict everyday events and objects. During the Danish Golden Age of the nineteenth century, Danish artists followed suit and The Nivaagaard Collection has now gathered together some famous masterworks and hidden treasures from these two periods. The exhibition will include more than 100 works from leading museums and private collections in the Netherlands, USA, France, England, Sweden and Denmark. The Joy of Everyday Life in the Netherlands and Denmark focuses on what is known as genre painting – depictions of folk like in which ordinary people take on leading roles as narrative subjects within everyday settings. The scenes depicted are frequently sensuous and humorous, often peculiar and sometimes moralizing. And they are loaded with detail – from glimmering copper kettles to soft textiles and reflections in a beer glass. Even today, genre painting still manages to reach right our own life experiences and provoke feelings of presence, compassion, revulsion or perhaps even a smile as we come face to face with people from a forgotten time, depicted by some of the greatest artists in history. Read more

BEGGARS FOR HEAVEN: THE INHERITANCE OF JACQUES AND RAISSA MARITAIN. 13 March, 9:00am-6:00pm. Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, Cambridge. A landmark UK conference open to scholars, students, lay and religious; to appraise the spiritual and intellectual inheritance of Jacques and Raïssa Maritain. The conference aims to explore the legacy of the Maritains, and the ways in which their work still addresses the cultural, political, and theological spheres, in the academy, and the Church. The conference will be held on Wednesday. Tickets  
JONATHAN EVENS DISCUSSES ANTONY GORMLEY. Antony Gormley Explores Self-Awareness in White Cube Bermondsey – Revd Jonathan Evens on ArtLyst. Read More
SALISBURY CATHEDRAL LEVIATHAN EXHIBITION. Open now until 4 Feb 2024 at Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury.This solo exhibition by artist Shezad Dawood explores the interaction between migration, mental health, and climate change through thought-provoking paintings, textiles, video and sculpture. The magnificent setting of Salisbury Cathedral and Chapter House offers a contemplative space to reflect upon worldwide issues and ethical questions, something Dawood’s work seeks to encourage.  
“POETRY AND THEOLOGY: 1800–PRESENT” FEB. 2024. A joint venture between numerous departments at Duke University, the symposium features top scholars and contemporary artists in the fields of theology, literature, and poetry. The symposium will take place at Duke Divinity and will include paper presentations, public readings, and panel discussions. All events are free and open to the public. Learn more about the speakers and schedule of events.
EXODUS & EXILE: MIGRATION THEMES IN BIBLICAL IMAGES. The Ben Uri Gallery in London, UK, presents a new online exhibition which features a range of Biblical images from the Ben Uri Collection in order to explore migration themes through consideration of the images, the Bible passages which inspired them and the relationship between the two. This is because themes of identity and migration feature significantly in both the Hebrew and Christian Bibles and images from these Bibles are a substantive element of the Ben Uri Collection. The combination of images and texts enables a range of different reflections, relationships and disjunctions to be explored. The result is that significant synergies can be found between the ancient texts and current issues. In this way, stories and images which may, at first, appear to be describing or defining specific religious doctrines can be seen to take on a shared applicability by exploring or revealing the challenges and changes bound up in the age-old experience of migration. The Gallery writes: "We are delighted to present a new exhibition interpreting works from our collection titled Exodus and Exile. The survey has been curated by Revd Jonathan Evens who has a long-established parallel interest in art and faith and how they are mutually engaging. We are privileged to benefit from his scholarship and innate sensitivity and am sure you too will be inspired by his selection and commentary. See more here
REMBRANDT AND THE BIBLE. DIVINE ENGRAVING EXHIBITION. Until 17 March 2024. The Musée d’art et d’histoire of Geneva holds 220 etchings by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), which entered the Geneva collections from 1748. At the invitation of the Musée international de la Réforme, 61 prints of religious subjects are presented in the exhibition Rembrandt et la Bible. Gravure divine, complemented by the loan of 10 works from the Musée Jenisch in Vevey and one from the Krugier Foundation. The theme seemed obvious for the venue: what other artist than Rembrandt delved so deeply into the Protestant Bible? The exhibition Rembrandt et la bible. Gravure divine is held at the Musée International de la Réforme, Cr de Saint-Pierre 10, 1204, Geneva. .
WHY SHOULD CHRISTIANS CARE ABOUT ABSTRACT ART? Gordon-Conwell-Charlotte (USA) and online. This gallery opening, reception, and lecture will offer an opportunity to learn about why we should care about abstract art for theological, practical, missional, and relational reasons. Dr. Elissa Yukiko Weichbrodt and Dr. Jonathan Anderson will give lectures to open the exhibit. Feb 22, 6:30-9:00pm EST. See
NEW EDITION OF THE BIG PICTURE. This latest edition of the Kirby Laing Centre’s The Big Picture magazine explores the theme of Craft, and in it you will find, among others, articles on why art matters today; the ethics of craft; the beauty and power of photography; how paying attention and being handy can be transformative; on doing well whatever your hand finds to do; on the importance of resisting the global consumer machine and making things by hand; on traditional Japanese boat building; on books as sacred sites; on the biblical foundations of journalism; on crafting human hearts; on the craft of translation; on pursuing obscurity; and much more. Read online here
PORTUGUESE TRANSLATION OF THE ARTICLE “IMAGES FOR GOD THE FATHER” BY MARLEEN HENGELAAR-ROOKMAAKER. “God is spirit. God is a mystery. He is awe-inspiringly exalted and at the same time unimaginably loving. How can we ever comprehend Him with our small human intellects? How can we ever get to know Him and learn to live with Him? That would not be possible without the Bible, where God reveals himself to us in stories and images…” In this article, now available in Portuguese, Marleen Hengelaar-Rookmaaker discusses ways in which God the Father has been depicted in art, and considers the Bible as a profound source of images. Read the Portuguese translation here, and the original English version here
THE MOUNTAIN RETREAT, REST, CREATIVITY, GOOD PEOPLE, AND YOU. AN EXPERIENCE OF HIMALAYAN REST, CREATIVITY, AND CONNECTION FOR CREATIVE PROFESSIONALS IN INDIA. Art for Change runs a series of weeklong and weekend retreats for you to immerse yourself in nature, find rest, create and connect with like-minded others, and discover a renewed sense of purpose. Curated by Art for Change with over 14 years’ experience running artist residencies, each Mountain Retreat is open to cohorts of 3-7 creative professionals based in India. Set among stunningly beautiful views in the exclusive Landour neighbourhood of Mussoorie, the Mountain Retreat is a transformative experience designed for you to step away from the busyness of life, experience creative community, reflect and learn from nature, and find creative ideas and solutions for life and work. Think of the retreat as a creative vacation that honors the needs of mind, body and soul. Apply online here.
ARTWAY BLOG. Jonathan Evens interviews David Miller on his work and the “interrelation, symbiosis and overlap” between writing and visual art. Noted UK poet, fiction writer, painter, and musician, David Miller was born in Melbourne, Australia, but has lived in the UK for many years. His recent publications include Time, Wisdom, & Koalas (Chax Press, 2023), a work of fantastic fiction, and (close) (Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2023), a deeply moving sequence of poetry and prose. A prolific writer, other recent publications include: Afterword (Shearsman Books, 2022), circle square triangle (Spuyten Duyvil, 2022), An Envelope for Silence (above/ground press, 2022) and Some Other Shadows (Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2022). Read more 
JONATHAN EVENS ON ARTLYST – Paula Rego And Lord Harries Respond to Art And Religion. ‘When she died, Paula Rego left a considerable legacy of religiously inspired art. While that was by no means an unusual legacy for a modern artist, Rego brought a particular perspective to her religious art – that of the female perspective on the tradition and stories. Rego’s work represents one way of responding to the Western tradition of art and religion; Richard Harries’ book ‘Majesty’ represents another. ‘Majesty’ spotlights 50 iconic paintings from the Royal Collection and a variety of renowned museums throughout the world, including The Met, MOMA, National Gallery, Vatican Museums, The Hermitage and more. With a commentary on each artwork by the former Bishop of Oxford and House of Lords life peer, the book juxtaposes important artworks – Caravaggio to Van Gogh, Raphael to Rembrandt – with quotes from Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s beloved Christmas broadcasts and words of wisdom from the Gospels. Through the interplay between the Queen’s Christmas messages and paintings from the Royal Collection and beyond, ‘Majesty’ offers a new and more intimate way of knowing her faith and life through the power of art.’ Read more 
BIOGRAPHY ABOUT GWEN JOHN JUST OUT – God’s Little Artist by Sue Hubbard is a biography in verse of Welsh painter Gwen John (1876-1939). As with many female painters of the time, John’s work was often overshadowed by that of her male contemporaries, especially her brother Augustus John. God’s Little Artist is a celebration of her passionate life and work, illustrated with precision, authenticity and the keen painterly eye of the poet, novelist and art critic Sue Hubbard. In her introductory essay, Sue Hubbard discusses how the loss of Gwen John’s mother when she was a child could have impacted her later life. She was an intensely private person, with a tendency to become fixated on people and relationships, as shown in the two thousand letters she wrote to Rodin over thirteen years, and, later, in her intense commitment to her faith. For John, God and art became inextricably linked and saintliness an obsessive goal. Read more 
PODCAST OF INTERVIEW WITH CANADIAN ARTIST BETTY SPACKMAN – In this interview in Radix, Betty shares with us some of her thoughts on the importance of art in general, common misconceptions that are held about it, what it means to be creative (and she thinks we all are), as well as some ideas on how Christians can meaningfully assist in helping the arts to flourish. Also—and this is important—Betty believes in the power of kindness and hospitality, and you’ll hear it come through in the interview. Read more