From the beginning of the Christian era and throughout the Middle-Ages, objects associated with Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the bodily remains of Saints were cherished and venerated as miraculous. All over Europe these objects, or relics, were viewed as direct conduits to God and as such needed to be protected and preserved. This desire brought about the creation of reliquaries.
A reliquary is any receptacle destined for the containment of a relic. Many times they were designed in elaborate shapes that kept the relic(s) in a visible state while reflecting the nature of their contents; busts, arms, statuettes, churches, caskets, medallions, and the like. In order to show honor these containers were richly decorated with gold, silver, enamel, and various types of jewels. Material value was equated to spiritual importance; thus, the very quality, luster, and preciousness of the materials used invested the reliquary with a significance that transcended its formal aspect. The main purpose of the reliquary, beyond protecting and preserving the relic, was to make the presence of God or the Saint felt. This was achieved by utilizing symbols and iconography on the reliquary that pertained to the life of Christ or the Saint.
In the genealogy of reliquary construction, the works in this exhibition are the most recent. The artists whose works are included use the medieval reliquary form to display objects that they view as emblematic of our modern-day society. From humorous to serious, each reliquary holds a unique insight that can be puzzled out through the symbols it contains.
- Steve Brudniak, Austin, Texas
- Daniel Essig, Ashville, North Carolina
- John Hodge, Covington, Louisiana
- Wayne Kimball, Pleasant Grove, Utah
- Andy Kosorok, Provo, Utah
- Becky McDonah, Tempe, Arizona
- Frank McEntire, Salt Lake City, Utah
- Chris Purdie, Provo, Utah
- Jason Lanegan
- Brian Christensen