The third year of the fellowship program at the Center for Liturgical art was completed this summer with 2018 Concordia graduate Sarah Johnson. For ten weeks the fellow works as the main artist on a commissioned piece and assists with other CLA projects. Johnson worked with Concordia University Nebraska on a piece titled Metanoia for the new Dunklau Center for Science, Math and Business. After her fellowship, Johnson accepted a position at the CLA as a studio assistant.
When asked about her time during the fellowship she responded, “The fellowship was a time of learning. I was able to work with new materials and tools, experience the business side of a studio and learn more about art in the church. I enjoy theology so I thought I had a pretty good understanding of why we have specific art in the church, but there is even more symbolism than I realized. During the fellowship I grew more as an artist than I had anticipated and now I am blessed to be able to continue working at the CLA as a studio assistant.”
With the Dunklau Center in mind, Johnson used organic shapes and materials enclosed in structural shapes to represent how we value and observe God’s creation. Prior to construction, trees had to be removed to make space for the new building. In order to be good stewards of God’s creation, there was a desire by Concordia to use the reclaimed wood from those trees in the art for the new building. The artist carved and burnt the wood and incorporated bark from the trees to show natural texture. Burning, often thought of as destructive, can also be transformative. The wood is no longer the same, but takes on a new appearance. The transformed nature of the materials and the twisting shapes and lines of the design show movement signifying the change.