This spring, explore the contemplative nature of art with two events organized by West Chester University’s Center for Contemplative Studies (CCS). Both are free and open to the public.
On Saturday, Feb. 9, WCU artist Kristopher Benedict will explore the connections between art and mindfulness in a talk that includes a brief drawing workshop. “Being with art and its creation: a contemplative approach” will take place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Center for Contemplative Studies at 700 South Church Street.
In his paintings, Benedict combines abstraction and figuration to portray themes of transformation, belief, community, and isolation in an energetic style that invites a multitude of viewpoints and reflections.
Benedict has exhibited his work in a number of galleries in major cities. Some of his works are in the public collections of the RISD Museum, Flint Institute of Arts, and the Orlando Museum of Art. He has been teaching art for more than 15 years and joined WCU’s Art + Design department in 2014 as an assistant professor.
Benedict’s presentation is part of CCS’ Second Saturday Seminar series offered during the academic year.
View the “Mindfulness and Art” flyer.
On Thursday, March 28, the Center for Contemplative Studies brings art critic/art historian James Elkins to campus for “Intense Encounters with Artworks.” This special presentation is part of CCS’ Distinguished Speaker Series. It will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in John H. Baker Art Gallery, E.O. Bull Center for the Arts, 2 East Rosedale Avenue.
Occasionally, particular works of art affect people so powerfully that the viewer is rapt, transfixed, moved to laugh, cry, or feel other emotions. Some individuals experience religion in the same immersive way, Elkins notes, which is one of the reasons people in the world of art and those in the world of religion have frequently butted heads across the centuries. With graduate degrees in painting and art history (including his doctorate), Elkins has studied, written, and lectured about this complex relationship between art and religion and will share his insights in a gallery setting.
Elkins is chair of the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he joined the faculty in 1989. His writing focuses on the history and theory of images in art, science, and nature, covering fine art, scientific and non-art images, writing systems, archaeology, and natural history.
On view in the Baker Gallery at the time of Elkins’ lecture are works by Ward Davenny, who has taught art at Dickinson College since 1992. His works, drawings, photographs, and prints are exhibited nationally. He is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and is represented in numerous public and private collections. Davenny’s exhibit runs Thursday, Feb. 28, through Friday, April 5, with an opening reception (free and open to the public) on Thursday, March 7, from 4 to 7 p.m. in the gallery.
View the “Intense Encounters with Artworks” flyer.