Saturday, March 08, 2014

Member News: "Stations of the Cross" at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral

A Lenten Art Exhibition

Virginia Maksymowicz, Artist

Exhibition Dates  March 3 – April 18

Artist Reception Friday, March 14   5 - 7 pm

Viewing Times  Mon - Thurs 11 am – 2 pm

Other times by appointment.

As a long-time resident of the city, artist Virginia Maksymowicz is proud to have her Stations of the Cross exhibited in Philadelphia and delighted that the venue is its Episcopal Cathedral, which has developed an excellent reputation as a center for the arts.

The exhibition is especially appropriate in that the work was originally commissioned by a congregation of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania—Saint Thomas Episcopal, in Lancaster. It was completed in 2005 and installed for the Lenten Season; for many years, it was on display only during Lent. Because the set of Stations to be installed at the Cathedral will also be on display for the Lenten Season, the artist hopes that it will serve a devotional—as well as an aesthetic—purpose.

In envisioning a contemporary interpretation of the Stations of the Cross (an artistic form that dates back to the 13th century) the artist decided to work with her most familiar technique, casting from life. For both aesthetic and conceptual reasons, she felt it imperative to work with a variety of models—a total of eleven—culled from a wide range of ages and ethnicities. This allows the narrative of Christ’s passion and death to be represented in a way that is tensioned between the “specific” and the “universal.” The mixture of models and the anonymity implied by the fragmented figures push the imagery toward representation of the human community in its universal aspect (often called in theological terms “the mystical body of Christ”).

Each of the fourteen reliefs incorporates elements cast from life into a hard off-white plaster and is 24" square. Two sets of the Stations were made: one resides permanently at Saint Thomas Episcopal. Before coming to the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, this other set has been exhibited at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA; the Narthex Gallery at Saint Peter's Lutheran in NYC, at the National Museum of Catholic Art and History, and at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC.
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