Here  is a review by Dr. Deborah Sokolove, Director, Henry Luce III Center for the Arts and Religion, Wesley Theological Seminary.

Our Lady of Perpetual Exhaustion, part 2

“>Cynthia Angeles, “Grief”, oil on linen, 31″ x 25″

A few days ago, I attended the opening reception for the Watergate Gallery portion of Our Lady of Perpetual Exhaustion. Owner and Curator Dale Johnson showed the work of 33 artists. Of course, Cynthia Farrell Johnson and Helen Zughaib, as the instigating spirits of the show, were represented, but since their work is so familiar to me, I spent most of my time looking at works by artists who are new to me.

Nancy Frankel, “Lemmings”, paint and toy cars, 54″ x 60″

As is true at the Dadian Gallery, a group show like this one shows many different, idiosyncratic interpretations of the theme. Some works, like Nancy Frankel’s whimsical, yet insightful, “Lemmings”, reflect stressful situations or the multiple demands of everyday life. Others, like Cynthia Angeles’s balanced, harmonious, luminous, yet somber “Grief,”respond to the image of “Our Lady” with images of women weighed down by burdens named and un-named. Still others, like Alfredo Ratinoff’s “42 Icons for the Relief of Exhaustion,” offer respite in references to the past, suggesting that it is not only modern life that drives us to the brink of giving up. As Ratinoff writes,

Alfredo Ratinoff, “42 Icons for the Relief of Exhaustion”,
glass and litho transfer

The idea of the 42 icons for exhaustion relief was conceived with many of the stories that I have used all my years as an artist: Romeo and Juliet, Helen of Troy, Adam and Eve, Aphrodite, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Turandot, Tristan and Isolde, Aida, and others. These are not icons in the traditional religious sense, but are icons in their own right in that they represent various literary, epic, and historical themes that over the course of human history have brought us respite when we have felt exhausted or were on the verge of giving up. They remind us of the best in ourselves. I believe that icons have a very strong spiritual power that can help to bring us back to ourselves. However, even icons need inspiration and often were spurred on through the influence of a muse. Interspersed in this collection are a series of muses, exemplifying their positive relationships with these icons. In the midst of all of these characters and stories lies Our Lady of Perpetual Exhaustion, her life a thread that has run through the course of each of these tales and in the story of each of our lives.

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