Photo by Thecla Li/ THE CHIMES
(This story was originally published in print on Feb. 28, 2019).
Featured on the main floor of Biola’s library this semester, the Spirit and Story exhibition presents a variety of stories from student artists through creatively designed typography posters. Reflecting on the university’s chapel theme from this school year, the artwork invites Biolans to uniquely engage with the theme outside of chapel services.
Last semester, two typography classes channeled their creativity into crafting distinct interpretations of the Spirit and Story theme for this semester’s display. Sophomore studio arts major Lauren Cedar expresses the theme in her two posters, showcasing profile shots of a girl facing sideways and a boy facing forward. Behind the individuals, Cedar includes the subjects’ daily schedules.
“The two posters were based on a relationship with God and how every person has a unique schedule,” Cedar said.
Because everyone’s life tells its own story, Cedar invites viewers to reflect on the differences in others’ schedules. With people’s tendencies to rush from place to place, Cedar intends her piece to inspire Biolans to see inside the lives of others. Through her poster, she wants to display how the Holy Spirit diversely leads people.
Student artists also related biblical texts to their artwork. Displaying the phrases “share the story” and “know the story” across his poster, junior studio arts major Walter Park drew inspiration from a Bible verse about a new believer sharing his story with others after encountering Jesus. Paralleling Matthew 13:1-16 and Romans 5, one side of Park’s piece shows the story of a person’s spiritual walk, while the other side shows how that person can invite others into developing their own faith stories.
“From everyone listening to each other’s stories, they can grow and build upon their story, and they’ll be able to share similar experiences that they can tell to non-believers,” Park said.
Implementing both physical design and digital design, senior studio arts major Brad Hartman also reflected Scripture in his poster, giving his artwork a modern Swiss flair. Inspired by Ezekiel 36:26, Hartman wanted to capture Christ’s ability to transform hardened hearts into softened, sensitive hearts for God’s glory. He hopes that his piece allows passersby to dive into the deeper context of the verse, reflecting on their personal transformations through Christ. Additionally, Hartman hopes the entire exhibit reminds people that they can still relate to one another in the midst of its diversity.
“There are also a lot of similarities and things that people can resonate with even though there’s such a diversity of thought and expression,” Hartman said.
INVITATION TO ENGAGE
Jeff Rau, the curator of the exhibition, has overseen the different galleries that have taken place in the library over the years. Although the library has displayed reflections of the university theme before, this semester is the first to include artwork from typography classes. Because most people engage with stories through text, Rau considered typography to be a natural fit for this semester’s exhibition. Because the artwork rotates semesterly, Rau hopes the variety displayed brings unique flavor to the library.
“People visit the library a lot, so being able to have interesting and creative projects that change out periodically help to enliven that space,” Rau said.
With students drawing inspiration from biblical passages, song lyrics, statistics and other forms of literature, Rau encouraged art students to diversely interpret the theme all the while connecting their artwork to the central idea of Spirit and Story. Because each piece reflects the theme differently, Rau hopes viewers sit with the texts and find those connections.
“I hope that the work the students have done to reflect on theme can offer opportunities for thinking about the university theme in new and unexpected ways,” Rau said.