“The Substance of Hope” comes to the Wilson Gallery

Huntington, Ind.—The Robert E. Wilson Gallery of the Merillat Centre for the Arts will host “The Substance of Hope,” an exhibit of sculpture by Lon Kaufmann, from November 4 to 29, 2000. A gallery talk will be presented on November 4 at 7 p.m.

The Robert E. Wilson Gallery is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery is located in the Merillat Centre for the Arts on the campus of Huntington College. For further information, contact gallery director Rebecca Coffman at (260) 359-4272.
Lon Kaufmann is assistant professor of art at Taylor University, Upland, Indiana. This collection of works incorporates a reliquary motif borrowed from the medieval European Christian tradition of preserving remnants of Christian martyrs or saints in small chests constructed of precious metals. While the practice may seem macabre today, Kaufmann believes that within the cultural context of the Middle Ages, reliquaries served an important function in strengthening faith. “Although likely abused at times through superstition, many of the reliquaries likely document the heroic faith of true believers who were faithful in their hope during severe times of adversity,” he says.

His sculptures are designed to serve a similar function, offering those facing difficulty a substantive point of reference for faith and renewed hope. The sculptures represent symbols of promise described in biblical passages – streams in the desert, songs of deliverance, incense of prayer.

“The biblical record seems full of the spiritual paradoxes between appearance and substance,” says Kaufmann. “Spiritual benefits are not always accomplished in obvious ways. In the same way that ‘the meek will inherit the earth’, or that Christ’s death and failure results in victory, blessings hoped for may be inextricably bound up in the elusive struggle to achieve them.”

“I’ve tried to address these thoughts in my work both through the borrowing of objects and materials mentioned in [biblical] passages related to hope, and in the paradoxical contrast between blessing and cursing that the materials symbolically represent.”

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