Reverberating Echoes: Contemporary Art Inspired by Traditional Islamic Art
Curated by Carol Bier
January 31 – May 26, 2017
Berkeley CA – The Spring 2017 exhibition at the Graduate Theological Union’s Doug Adams Gallery, “Reverberating Echoes: Contemporary Art Inspired by Traditional Islamic Art,” highlights the work of seven American artists of diverse interests, backgrounds, and training. Inspired by traditional Islamic art, their works echo historic aesthetic concerns, often advancing human knowledge and understanding by experimentation with new technologies. Traditional concerns focused on the spatial dimension and the effects of light on form, the association of Arabic language and script with revelation, and patterns in the plane, exploring the nature of two-dimensional space.
Drawing upon a shared Islamic visual heritage of calligraphy, floral ornament, geometric pattern, architectural forms and figural imagery, contemporary works selected for this exhibition include both traditional media (such as glazed ceramics, woven textiles, works on paper, and carved wood) and new technologies (dye sublimation and 3D-printing, digital imagery, computerized design, and LED projection).
Just as in the past, each of these artists seeks to make meaning through art, exploring forms and relationships through craft and technology to inspire awe and wonder. We are privileged to view the results of their efforts to which each of us brings our own interpretive lens.
The opening reception will feature music by Dror Sinai.
The Doug Adams Gallery is located at 2465 LeConte Avenue. For more information, visit care-gtu.org.
About the Doug Adams Gallery:
The Doug Adams Gallery, part of the Center for the Arts & Religion (CARe) at the Graduate Theological Union, presents exhibitions that examine themes of religion and spirituality, broadly defined. The exhibitions and related programming are open, free of charge, to the public as well as to members of the GTU community.
About the exhibition and events:
“Reverberating Echoes: Contemporary Art Inspired by Traditional Islamic Art,” January 31 to May 26, 2017. Opening reception: Tuesday, January 31, 5-7pm
About the Artists:
Hooman Koliji is the author of “In-Between: Architectural Drawing and Imaginative Knowledge in Islamic and Western Traditions” (2015), Hooman uses his architectural eye to explore possibilities playing with light, shadow, and geometry.
Nazanin Hedayat Munroe is an expert in textile design and art history, particularly in the Persian tradition; her work in "Reverberating Echoes" includes textile installations that connect with the 14th-c. poet, Hafez.
Chris Palmer has traveled the world studying geometry and pattern from different artistic and cultural traditions. The inspiration of traditional Islamic art is clearly seen in his folded and pleated silk panels as well as his own "muqarnas" made from laser-cut plywood.
Manzar Rassouli draws on the rich Persian visual heritage; some works referencing daily life, while others meditate on the power of "silence."
Mamoun Sakkal is a graphic designer who has designed numerous fonts using Arabic script and developed on-line products that reflect utilitarian aspects of the arts in a globalized world.
Nathan Voirol was inspired by a chance discovery of books depicting Islamic patterns; since then, his beautiful work in textile design has been influenced by the Islamic visual heritage.
Phil Webster's training in math and cognitive science is evident in his interest in fractal dimension and its relationship to Islamic tilings. For "Reverberating Echoes," Phil shares with us digital prints on aluminum and 3D printed works.
About the Curator: Carol Bier is an historian of Islamic Art; she is Visiting Scholar with the Center for Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union and Research Associate with The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. where she served as Curator for Eastern Hemisphere Collections from 1984-2001.
About the Graduate Theological Union
Founded in 1962, the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley is home to the largest PhD program in religious studies in North America. As a consortium of independent theological schools, the GTU includes eight seminaries—two Roman Catholic, five Protestant, and one Unitarian Universalist—as well as a variety of academic centers and affiliates, including the Center for Jewish Studies, the Center for Islamic Studies, the Center for Dharma Studies, the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, and the Center for the Arts & Religion.
Elizabeth S. Peña, Director, Center for the Arts & Religion and Doug Adams Gallery