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“Revealed” is on display at the Sage Center for the Arts until Oct. 9. Andrew Dixon | Collegian

 

 

Unlike the col­orful picture books of bib­lical stories from childhood, Hillsdale College’s “Revealed” art display is not family friendly.

Created in lith­o­graph, woodcut, mono­print, and linocut, “Revealed: A Sto­rybook Bible for Grownups,” is a col­lection of full-size prints that depict bib­lical stories. The exhibit is on display in the Fine Arts Building from Sept. 4 to Oct. 9. The prints have been des­ig­nated “for grownups” because there are some depic­tions of uncen­sored vio­lence, sex­u­ality, and other mature con­cepts found in the Bible.

Vis­iting Assistant Pro­fessor of Art Roxanne Kaufman, who was in charge of picking the display, said “Revealed” is a “beau­tiful rep­re­sen­tation of how many voices can work together to tell a com­plete story.”

“As a Christian, I know how pow­erful the word of God is,” Kaufman said in an email. “‘Revealed’ takes the stories of the Bible from black and white pages of text to author­i­tative black and white images. Many of the prints hold you captive as a viewer, insisting that you look deeper, and that is the same effect the Bible has on many Christians.”

The “Revealed” display is part of a trav­eling exhibit called “Chris­tians in the Visual Arts,” or CIVA. It “covers the entire story of Redemption,” according to Kaufman, from the fall of man to the final rev­e­lation. The display includes the stories of Abraham and Isaac, Jael, Daniel, Jesus and the feeding of the five thousand, and the cru­ci­fixion. Kaufman said she has a “wide scope” when it comes to art she enjoys.

The day I placed the show, stu­dents were expressing how much they liked the work,” Kaufman said. “They like it because of the tech­niques and the images them­selves. The art was doing what it needs to do in an aca­demic setting. It was cre­ating reactions!”

The CIVA site writes that the book “shows the Bible in all its raw, violent, and beau­tiful glory,” trading fluffy and light depic­tions for realism.

“‘Revealed’ sets out to crush any notion that the Bible is a safe, inspi­ra­tional read,” rev­erend and author J. Mark Bertram attests in his review of the col­lection. “Instead the artwork here […] takes a warts-and-all approach to even the most trou­bling pas­sages, trading well-meaning elision for unvar­nished truth.”

Seniors Emily Ju and Jenny Buccola, who viewed the display recently, said the artwork was beau­tiful and sym­bolic. Ju said she enjoyed most the depiction of Jael, which stood on its own as an Old Tes­tament story.

“It was just the plain Old Tes­tament story, with no, ‘this is how it relates to the story of the New Tes­tament,’” Ju said. “It was just like, ‘she killed this guy while his mother thought he was out raping women. He was just lying there with a stake through his skull.’ I was like, ‘that’s really neat.’”

Buccola said she loves the concept of focusing on less child-friendly stories because it can finally encompass the Bible as a whole.

“I think in order to make the Bible more appro­priate for kids, you have to leave so much out and sim­plify so much and only tell certain stories,” Buccola said. “It’s so cen­sored that it’s not really the Bible anymore. I think if you’re going to  read the Bible the way it was meant to be read, as a history log of God’s covenant, you have to read it as an adult and be willing to swallow some really tough stories.”

Kaufman said she hopes the display prompts vis­itors to look deeper into them­selves and their own stories of redemption. 

Our pasts are not to be covered up or for­gotten but learned from,” Kaufman said. “We cannot reveal who we truly are if we do not con­tinue to look at where we have been.”