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Monday, November 10, 2014

The Huffington Post

My recent work Rebuild My Church is one of several pieces featured in the Huffington Post's coverage of the National Catholic Arts Exhibition. The link is provided below.


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Friday, November 7, 2014

The Washington Post Covers Exhibition

Two of my works are mentioned in The Washington Post's article on The National Catholic Arts Exhibition. The link is provided below along with another link to Religion News Service's feature as well.



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Friday, November 7, 2014

Rebuild My Church Receives Honorable Mention Award

I am happy to say that my image Rebuild My Church received an Honorable Mention at The National Catholic Arts Exhibition. With such a vast selection of beautiful works in all kinds of media, the exhibition was beautiful to say the least. The show wasn't the same without late Curator Brother Nathan Cochran, O.S.B. but his presence and legacy were deeply felt. Ann Holmes, Jordan Hainsey and everyone at St. Vincent really came together and put on an amazing exhibition in the face of such a sudden tragedy. To explore the work in more detail please use the link below.

Photos of the exhibition courtesy of Jordan Hainsey

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Friday, October 24, 2014

The Nativity Chosen For National Catholic Arts Exhibition

After four years of working on and off, my image The Nativity is finally completed. From start to finish, many things have changed during the creation of this piece. Those who are familiar with my work may notice that this piece is a record of the progression of my style over the past four years. The image consists of over 70 GB of information, thousands of photographic layers each shot individually, and is the largest composite I have ever created. The image was made with the intent to be printed very large scale so that all of the details could engulf you at once evoking an overwhelming feeling of spiritual complexity.  Thankfully, I am proud to say that the work has been chosen for its introduction at this year's National Catholic Arts Exhibition juried by Janet McKenzie.

Many of my works are made to be explored on the computer screen almost making one feel like a detective searching for clues, however this image must be seen in its final state to be fully appreciated. Please stop by St Vincent Gallery and check out my two works Oct. 28th-Dec. 7th with an opening reception this Sunday, Oct. 26th, 1-4 p.m.

Thank you to all who participated in this project! The L.E. Model copies will be released shortly.
To explore the work in more detail please use the link provided and read the artist statement below.


Artist Statement:

The image The Nativity is part of an ongoing series of modern interpretations of Biblical stories, events, and sacred legends.  

Throughout history thousands of artists have attempted to recreate the birth of Christ in many different media. Portraying the moment the world received the greatest gift humanity has ever known is by no means an easy task. For me the most challenging obstacle visually in such an undertaking lies in the balance of Christ's humble beginnings and the grandeur of this transcendent moment. With respect to traditional interpretations as well as their symbolism and close inspection of scripture, this modern depiction attempts to recreate this moment as if it occurred in our time. In meditation of the scripture and the current state of the world, I believe that although the imagery may be updated, the meaning of every aspect of the story remains the same. The same struggles of man still apply and the solution to our downfall remains the same and readily available to all who wish to receive it. The shepherds still hold witness, the wise men still present gifts, and Christ has still come to save us from ourselves. Close inspection of the image will continue to reveal symbolism and purpose. There is no element in the scene that has not been heavily considered. For example the placement of Christ is central in location above the two pillars. Upon close inspection you will find the ten commandments inscribed on the pillars, establishing the fact that Christ brings a new understanding to the law, fulfilling their meaning. The placement of Joseph separated from Mary comments on her purity and Virgin birth. But perhaps the most intriguing is the expression and body language of this Blessed Mother. Attempting to show her as a mother first, somewhat at odds with the viewer. She is portrayed as extremely guarded, almost pulling Jesus away, as if she knows the fate of her beloved Son in a world that cannot fully accept him. Despite her sadness she shows her perfect understanding and submits to the will of God fulfilling her role in salvation and bringing forth the light of the world.
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Friday, October 24, 2014

Rebuild My Church Chosen For Nationwide Catholic Arts Exhibition

My two newest Faith based works have been chosen by Juror Janet McKenzie for inclusion in The 5th Nationwide Catholic Arts Exhibition. In this blog entry I will speak in detail about my image Rebuild My Church. Info on The Nativity will follow.

When I had the idea for the image Rebuild My Church, I can remember sitting in my home watching television when a news story came on about hundreds of church closings. I had seen stories similar to this in past years and I decided to address the issue through visual means. I wondered if I could find a church that was actually in need of repair and create an image hoping to inspire someone to purchase or rebuild just one church.

I began looking for churches in need of repair in the Pittsburgh area that could work for such an image. My Google search came up with one cathedral in the area. The owner or pastor there left me a rather brief response and was less than interested. I continued to search and eventually found the former Our Lady Help Of Christians Church in Larimer.  It took days and some luck to find the owner of the property which had now become Heavenly Vision Ministries. Reverend Armenia Johnson, a very kind woman gave me the go ahead to photograph her church. After my visit and some small adventures I became strangely connected with the location but very saddened by the fact that it might be a lost cause, as the church is quite dilapidated. The stained glass windows, doors, and pews were smashed and destroyed. When asking Reverend Johnson how this happened, she stated that the attitude of the community had sadly just changed. A place of worship, once the heart of the community was now almost forgotten.

I always look for God's plan when creating these works and humbly believe that the work in some small way is a part of it.  After seeing the church in such a heartbroken state, I could not see the plan for this beautiful and once vibrant place.  Weeks later, I came to realize coincidentally that my mother who passed away several years ago had been baptized in that very church as an infant. Realizing this, the title of the piece almost became words from my mother's mouth telling me to push the image further. To spread and share the image with as many people as possible. The fate of Our Lady Help Of Christians Church in Larimer is still undecided, however some have already used the image as a rallying cry to save other churches in the state of Pennsylvania. What if the purpose of the project was not to rebuild Our Lady Help Of Christians but to have it inspire the rebuilding of hundreds of other churches?

In the recent months Pittsburgh landed a $30 million dollar grant to rebuild Larimer. Hopefully this piece of history will not be overlooked. To explore the work in more detail please use the link provided and read the artist statement below.


Artist Statement:

The image Rebuild My Church is a modern interpretation of one of the miracles experienced by St. Francis. During a pilgrimage to Rome, Francis had a mystical vision of Jesus Christ in a dilapidated church, just outside of Assisi. The icon of a crucified Christ came alive and said to him, ”Francis go and repair my house, which as you can see, is falling into ruin”.

God has a way of providing for us exactly what we need and again we find ourselves in need of a guiding light. My image brings the tale of St. Francis to a contemporary time inundated with countless churches closing and others crumbling due to a lack of attendance and faith. We are once again in need of rebuilding.

You view the story in our lifetime. St. Francis, now depicted as Pope Francis, prays to an animated crucifix in the destroyed Our Lady Help of Christians Church (Heavenly Vision Ministries) in the Larimer neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Once a place of worship, it is now a symbol of the hardship and neglect the church and community have undergone in recent years. Upon close inspection of the image, you find symbolism in the architecture and environment. The modern buildings peering in through the crumbling rooftop represent the attitude of the modern world, superseding the ideals of our sacred traditions. The wolf, which is another symbol of St. Francis, represents the fact that the modern Francis has not yet tamed the problems of our contemporary church. You will also see in the architecture three pillars on the left side and one larger pillar on the right. The three pillars are leaning and breaking, while the largest pillar supporting a fisherman’s net bears the weight of the structure; in Pope Innocent III’s mystical dream, Francis physically held up the church. Symbolically, the fate of the church is now resting on Pope Francis. The hammers at Christ’s feet, which are all different, represent the fact that we cannot rely on one man to repair all of the problems. We must all pick up our hammers and become carpenters of faith.

In the image, you are peering into the church; through all the controversy and tribulations, people are still interested and actively seeking truth. As the vines are reaching for the light, so too are the disenchanted, uncertain, and skeptical. We are all peering through and seeking the Light, Christ.

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Great job Chris, God Bless: Great job Chris! God bless, Mr. O
Tom Aul: Congrats Chris!   My Grandfather worshiped there as one of the many churches in that area.  He lived on a street off of Larimer Ave which  no longer  exists.  But his home church St. Peter & Paul on Larimer Ave. is a historic landmark that has fallen terribly is disrepair.   In fact I'm not sure if it is still standing.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014

From Virtual To Actual

The Denial Of Peter and Doubting Thomas are on display at Viridian Artists, a contemporary art gallery located in New York in the Chelsea region of Manhattan. The two works were chosen for the curated exhibition From Virtual To Actual 3. Here is what curator Vernita Nemec had to say about the exhibition, "Each of the 13 artists in this diverse exhibition has her or his own personal obsession that serves as the starting point of their search to transform their inner investigations into reality. The results of transforming these realities into art, remains open to each viewer's interpretation and becomes another translation of the virtual into the actual. The art in this exhibit takes many unique forms from the knitted “Knots” of Joanne Kidd's artist book and the mixed media wall sculpture “Batter Up” of Aimee Hertog to a wide variety of photographic approaches. Joshua Greenberg explores abstraction, Marla Hoffman reflections, Srividya Kannan Ramachandran poetry, Christopher Ruane religion and Marcia Lloyd autobiography." If you are in the Manhattan area be sure to stop by the show through September 27th.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Image Featured In Dutch Magazine

My image The Good Samaritan is featured in the August 2014 issue of the Dutch magazine Woord & Dienst. I am very proud to share my image with people across the globe and I hope that they find my modern interpretation of the biblical story as meaningful and relevant as people in the U.S.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Artist Talk At The Westmoreland Museum Of American Art

I was very happy to give an artist talk last week at The Westmoreland Museum Of American Art. I appreciate everyone who came out to hear about my process and my newest body of work. Here is an image from the event.

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

White Stone Gallery Summer Group Show

My works, Lady Of The Mantel and Memory Of The Fall will be part of White Stone Gallery's Summer Group Exhibition through July 25th.   Located in the Arts Corridor in Philadelphia, White Stone Gallery is the leading commercial gallery in the art and faith genre in the U.S.

Here is a list of the 2014 selected artists and works:

Anna Agoston - Untitled #24, Untitled #133
Nichole Bartlow - Thy Kingdom Come
Aldys Caballero - "Sigh"
Jorge Caligiuri - Redefined Surface #V, Redefined Surface #VII
Susan Card - Leap of Joy
Robert deJonge - The Couple
Jon Fischer - Uncharted/Unnamed/Untitled
Pam Lacey - Seeing From The Inside Out
Thomas Mc Anulty - Visitation
Steven Nesheim - Grace
Michelle Arnold Paine - Pilgrimage: St. Peter's
Laura Peturson - Brambly Underbelly, Prodigy
Christopher Ruane - Lady Of The Mantel, Memory of the Fall
Matti Sirvio - Northward Bound
Marissa Voytenko - Seen Better Days
Dawn Waters Baker - John 1
Agata Wisniowska - Painted by Nature
Katie Yang - Three sculptures from the Core series

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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Most Wanted Fine Art @ The Waterfront

One of the works from my series Stranger Than Life  will be on display at Most Wanted Fine Art Gallery's brand new Waterfront location in Homestead. My image Memory Of The Fall  was chosen by curator, Scott Hunter among other works by many talented Pittsburgh artists. The image has special importance to me because it was the inspiration for the series and deals with my own personal history.  The project is about our first encounters with the idea of death. The images explore the way the mind of a child processes these emotions, oftentimes recreating events into stranger than life experiences. To create these works I will be interviewing people from all walks of life searching for the moment of each person's realization of mortality and how the content of their experience is changed over time. I believe these memories have a strong and lasting impression due to their timing, happening at such a fragile and impressionable stage of life.

The first piece is about my own personal memory.  When I was very young my mother told me not to climb on things. She explained that when she was a child, she knew a boy who fell out of a tree and died or so I remembered. Later in life while discussing the subject with my father, he clarified that it wasn't a boy at all, but was actually my mother who had fallen out of the tree and merely broke her arm. This is when I realized the story had either been changed in my mind or exaggerated to teach me a lesson. This sparked my interest and led me to wonder what amazing images might be hiding in the minds of others and how have they  been distorted and for what reason.

In the image Memory Of The Fall  it is obvious that the boy has lost his kite in a rather ominous place and has failed in his attempt to retrieve it. His face is purposely covered by the branch commenting on the fact that he has no identity and is only real in the context of my mind. Also, notice that the girl walks away slowly and is transparent in her depiction, indicating that she is not a part of the boy's world. She is simply a memory of my mother's, sharing the same space with my version of the story. The image takes on a dreamlike quality, oddly beautiful and reminiscent. Inspired by the famous American painting, Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth, it too amplifies a feeling of longing and a strange combination of melancholy beauty.

The work will be on display through July 9th.

* Please click the link to view in more detail. *
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