The idea of western religious art, particularly Christian works, might conjure thoughts of Byzantine art. But throw in some heavy bling, gold chains and phrases that read “Who created yo ass?”, “Amen Bitch” and “Pray-Ya” and we’re talking about an entirely different time and place.
The stylized phrases are featured in Trifecta Gallery’s Attachment Room, where works by artist Dylan Mortimer are part of Private Faith in the Public Sphere, an installation that comes complete with Mortimer’s telephone booth reconfigured to be a “Prayer Booth” with kneeling pad, the word “prayer” rather than “phone” and religious-based text and symbolism.
The fact that Mortimer is a pastor with an evangelical background doesn’t mean the work is without an intellectual framework. The artist (who received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City) considers notions of marketing and the way we market those ideas in contemporary society in his work.
Evangelizing in the style of youthful urban vocabulary, fashion, advertising and music makes it easy to, at first, assume irony. And Mortimer injects some of his work with humor. But in the end, he’s more interested in his art confronting viewers on comfort (or discomfort) with demonstrating faith in public and asking us to question our beliefs—or as he says, navigating “somewhere between the boundaries of propaganda and censorship.”
Private Faith in the Public SphereThrough November 24; Monday-Wednesday and Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Trifecta Gallery, 366-7001