“Text as Spiritual Imagery”

Text as Spiritual ImageryMcGlade Gallery – “Text as Spiritual Imagery”

To be opened by:

The Hon. Virginia Judge M.P. B.Ed.

Member for Strathfield

Minister for the Arts and

Minister for Fair Trading

The Artists:

  • Haji Noor Deen
  • Leonid Denysenko
  • Jeannette Siebols
  • Liang Xiao Ping
  • Megan McDonald
  • Phaptawan Suwannakudt
  • Elaine Witton

Australian Catholic University, Strathfield

Wednesday 15th September 2010, 6:30- 8pm,

to Saturday 2nd October

Gallery hours:

11am to 4pm Monday to Saturday

McGlade Gallery

Australian Catholic University, Strathfield

Gate 3,

25A Barker Road,

Strathfield N.S.W. Opening Sept 15th 2010 6:30pm

The Exhibition: Text as Spiritual Imagery

Lachlan Warner- Gallery coordinator

Text as Art is nothing new in contemporary visual art practices. It has a long history within western modernist history, and still has some fine practitioners in Australian such as the word artist, Richard Tipping. Most of this work and tradition is defiantly secular, though it borrows from the Religious traditions. In this exhibition I wanted to highlight contemporary artists whose works inflects or joins these two histories as they explore the spiritual in art.

This exhibition had its beginning my exposure to the work of Haji Noor Deen, an artist who fuses both Chinese and Arabic traditions of calligraphy. Whilst traditional in form, he works speak volumes to notions of the interdependence of borders and importantly, spiritual outlooks.

In looking further at a variety of artists working with calligraphy, I selected a relatively small group whose works weave across traditions in both subtle and bold ways: traditions contemporary and traditional, secular modernist and mystical.

Jeannette Siebols, a local Strathfield artist uses calligraphic marking in large fields of gestural abstraction, evoking the tablets of the Ten Commandments, the Rosetta Stone and the Palimpsest of History. This is modernist that retains its striving for the numinous, the timeless and the unknowable.

Megan McDonald takes the 23rd Psalm into both calligraphy and sculpture. This is a metaphor of where these powerful words might be today: as a fragile graffed message pushed by the extremes of modern life.

Liang Xiao Ping is a master of Chinese Calligraphy. For this exhibition she has moved from rice paper onto canvas, linking the tradition to the work of the Abstract Expressionists. The marks on her canvases are not a purely intuitive gesture but carry meaning. In this case she visually opens up the character for a key term in Buddhist Philosophy, the Void.

Leonid Denysenko is a graphic artist whose spiritual quest has brought him to a style of imagery which he terms literography, images that are built on words, built on the first chapter of John: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Elaine Witton is an artist who uses both calligraphy and Illumination from both a traditional and contemporary standpoint. The Characters are drawn from Hebrew and Christian text.

Phaptawan Suwannakudt is a renowned Thai trained muralist whose series of paintings are based on the Three Worlds Sutra, three worlds of desire, of from and of formlessness. She counter poses the text with images of Australian modernity.

The Gallery:

The McGlade Gallery at the Strathfield Campus of the Australian Catholic University, works to answer the mission statement of the University and provide a pivotal support roll to the teaching and learning of Visual Art and Design.

The University in its mission, seeks to make a specific contribution to its local community as a Regional Gallery, by actively engaging in the social, ethical and religious dimensions of the questions it faces in teaching, research, and service. In its endeavors, it is guided by a fundamental concern for justice and equity, and the dignity of all human beings.

The McGlade Gallery, though small, seeks through the year to give representation to both traditional and contemporary visual practices that engage with the spiritual dimensions of life. It sits broadly in the field now characterized as

Relational Aesthetics


Relational art, placing art in its social context.

We seek to show that which is not normally shown in the established galleries. We look to the variety of traditions and innovations that manifest in our community’s visual culture.

The Gallery also showcases student works at a professional industry standard and exposes students, the University community and General Public to a wide range and high level of visual culture. It continues to develop a visual dialogue within and between studio practices and the wider Art and Design industries.

On the 14th of August 2009, the ACU Gallery @Strathfield was renamed the McGlade Gallery in honour of our esteemed patron and supporter, Brother Athanasius McGlade. Brother Ath., as we know him has been a great teacher in Visual Art at St Patrick’s College for many years and great supporter of the Gallery at ACU Strathfield Campus.