Newman has over 60 pieces of art on display throughout the building. Much of it has been donated to Newman; some of it is on loan. All the locations have been carefully selected to enhance the works of art and to enliven the halls and gathering spaces.
Our first series will be on the works of John August Swanson. Newman has seven of Swanson’s works: The Story of Joseph (1986), The River (1987), Festival of Lights (1991), Jonah (1995), The Great Catch (1993), Abraham and Isaac (1995), and Ecclesiastes Chapter 3.
Here is an excerpt from Swanson’s website:
“John August Swanson’s art reflects the strong heritage of storytelling he inherited from his Mexican mother and Swedish father. John Swanson’s narrative is direct and easily understood. He addresses himself to human values, cultural roots, and his quest for self-discovery through visual images. These include Bible stories and social celebrations such as attending the circus, the concert, and the opera. He also tells of everyday existence, of city and country walks, of visits to the library, the train station or the schoolroom. All his parables optimistically embrace life and one’s spiritual transformation.”
During the month of July, our featured Serigraph is “Festival of Lights, 1991.” This image can be found on the first floor at Newman, in the Hecker Room. Please ask for directions at the front desk.
Artist’s notes about the image (found on his website):
This image of the Festival of Lights was painted in 1991. Through the years, many people asked me if it would ever be printed as a serigraph. In October of 1999 in collaboration with Aurora Serigraphics I began making the serigraph. The work has proceeded over these last months and we are now finished. I have developed the image from the painting and made changes. The technique of printing layers of alternating opaque and transparent colors has given the colors more intensity and added more details. The serigraph has slowly developed over these months into a work that is based on the painting but unique in its own way. I drew a stencil for each of the 46 colors printed.
Here are some of my thoughts about this image:
It is a dark night with a star-filled sky. Tiny lights are seen on the distant hillsides, gradually becoming figures carrying candles as they come closer to the foreground of the painting.
Since 1967, the beginning of my work in art, I began making sketches of marches and processions in many forms and contexts. This image of the FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS began developing in the last four years.
I thought about liturgical processions I had seen. I remembered walking with groups in candlelight for peace in Central America. The symbol of candles shining in the dark night is powerful to me. Star-filled nights are images that help give me a sense of the place we are in the universe.
My original thought was that this would be a procession of children from every city and town. The children would bring light and peace to the world. They would gather from many places, joining an unending procession towards peace and nonviolence for all children of the world.
-John August Swanson
Click here to see the process that was used to create the serigraph for the “Festival of Lights.”