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Vermont artist Janet McKenzie has committed her life's work to creating paintings that celebrate all people, particularly African Americans and women. In 1999 her painting Jesus of the People won the National Catholic Reporter’s competition for a new image of Jesus. McKenzie subsequently received worldwide attention, both negative and positive, for her unconventional interpretation. Jesus of the People and 12 other works by McKenzie will be included in the exhibition Holiness and the Feminine Spirit: Paintings by Janet McKenzie. The title of the exhibition comes from a recently published book Holiness and the Feminine Spirit: The Art of Janet McKenzie (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2009), featuring reflections on McKenzie’s work by 28 well known writers including; Joyce Rupp, Joan Chittister, and Diane Butler Bass, theologian Elizabeth A. Johnson, art critic Sr. Wendy Beckett, best-selling novelist Ann Patchett, social activist and writer Helen Prejean, feminist Chung Hyun Kyung, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the American Episcopal Church, racial justice advocate Anita Baird, and others. Essays from the book will be presented in the exhibition alongside the corresponding paintings.
Two of McKenzie’s paintings (Jesus of the People and Epiphany), recreated in stained glass by Oakbrook Esser Studios of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, will be included in the exhibition Let There be Light: Stained Glass and Drawings from the Collection of Oakbrook Esser Studios, which will be on view simultaneously with the McKenzie exhibition.
This exhibition and related programs are made possible through funding from the Marquette University Andrew W. Mellon Fund and the Emmett J. Doerr Endowment Fund.
Wednesday, September 1
Opening/gallery walk-through of Let There be Light and Holiness and the Feminine Spirit with Paul Phelps, owner of Oakbrook Esser Studios and Janet McKenzie, artist
Book signing with Janet McKenzie and reception to follow
Wednesday, October 6
Anita Price Baird, D.H.M.
Creating a Vision of a Post-Racial World
Anita Baird is the founding director of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Racial Justice, which oversees the Archdiocese’s initiatives to eradicate racism in its structures and institutions. Sister Anita wrote an essay about Janet McKenzie’s painting Madonna and Child-Boundless Love that appears in the book Holiness and the Feminine Spirit: The Art of Janet McKenzie (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2009).
The lecture will take place at the Law School in the Appellate Court Room, located on the main floor, just off of the lobby. Reception to follow in the museum.
All programs are free, open to the public and take place at the Haggerty Museum of Art, unless otherwise noted.