The Leighton Ford Initiative for Art, Theology, and Gospel Witness is excited to host an evening exploring the question, Why Should Christians Care About Abstract Art? For some people of faith, abstract art is difficult to engage because the meaning remains unclear, and the form can appear chaotic or uncompelling. For others, abstract art is an invitation to engage the whole person, contemplate spiritual realities, and encounter God in transformative ways. If abstract art can facilitate the latter, then Christians have a unique opportunity to learn and care about abstract art for theological, practical, missional, and relational reasons. This event is a unique opportunity to experience abstract art, learn about abstract art, and have formative interaction with one another on this topic.
The evening begins with a gallery opening and reception to enjoy the visual art of Alfred Manessier and other art on display at the Charlotte campus of Gordon-Conwell. We will then hear and learn from two leading scholars in theology and the arts, Dr. Elissa Yukiko Weichbrodt and Dr. Jonathan Anderson. Following these lectures there will be a facilitated Q&A session and ample time for open interaction.
Dr. Welchbrodt is associate professor of art and art history and a Little Endowed Scholar at Covenant College (Georgia). She studies how we are formed by images, and her writing and teaching focus on representations of race and gender in nineteenth and twentieth-century art. Her first book, Redeeming Vision: A Christian Guide to Looking at and Learning from Art, is a practical introduction to engaging art with generosity and grace.
Dr. Anderson is the Eugene and Jan Peterson associate professor of theology and the arts at Regent College (Vancouver). His scholarship explores the interrelations of art history, theology, and religious studies, with a focus on modern and contemporary art. He is the coauthor of Modern Art and the Life of a Culture: The Religious Impulses of Modernism. With both an MFA and PhD in theology & religious studies, he is trained as an artist, art critic, and theologian.
This event will be hosted at Gordon-Conwell–Charlotte (see map below) and online.
The Manessier exhibit, featured at the event, is on display at Gordon-Conwell—Charlotte now through April 30, 2024. Anyone is welcome to visit between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. Upon arrival, simply ring the bell by the front door and indicate that you are there to view the Manessier art exhibit. The exhibit is located on the second floor, and there is other art on display throughout the building, so feel free to have a look around.
Exhibit Organizer and Adjunct
Professor of Theology
We look forward to seeing you in Charlotte! If you have any questions about the symposium, please feel free to reach out.