Religious Street Art – The Dixon Gallery

Taking advantage of its visible location in downtown Staunton, Virginia, Dixon Gallery has installed a temporary work on the exterior of its building, offering a contemporary perspective for Easter weekend.

On view from Good Friday through Easter Monday, the work features an empty wood cross at the center, flanked by a scripture passage and an original drawing of an angel in the windows. These traditional images of the Resurrection are juxtaposed with modern displays of mourning in an effort to place Christ’s sacrifice in the context of our present world and its secular rituals.

Unlike most contemporary art, this composition does not challenge the viewer to question the truth of religion or the value of faith, but rather to examine whether we even consider ourselves worthy of such gifts. We can only begin to grasp the promise of the eternal in contrast to the reality of the temporal; perhaps the Resurrection would be more relevant if we were more reverent.

mixed media street art installation by Dixon Studio, Easter Weekend 2019
wood cross & readymade objects in foreground, pencil & ink on paper in background

Because a liturgical artist doesn’t have a statement, but rather visualizes statements of scripture, we offer instead, CURATOR’S QUESTIONS:

What would we do if Jesus were crucified in our lifetime?

Probably the same thing we do when newsmakers or neighbors die on our streets. We erect makeshift memorials at the site of the slaughter, heaping flowers, candles, and stuffed animals in a compost of condolences. Why have we abandoned the church and its sacraments, if only to replace those sacred spaces and profound rituals with transient shrines and fleeting gestures?

What would the government do if Jesus were executed as a criminal today?

Probably the same thing it has done for centuries. It makes examples of those who break the law. The Romans mocked their convict with a sign that declared him ‘King of the Jews,’ as a warning of the fate that could –and did– befall his followers. The department of transportation posts signs at the sites of traffic deaths as a caution to those who would exceed the limits. Why have we allowed the government to usurp our loved one’s memories, reducing whole lives to ominous yet generic memorials of the place and manner of their deaths?

Where would the angel find mourners today to announce the Resurrection?


2 Comments on Religious Street Art – The Dixon Gallery

  1. @BFH – thank you for bringing back Dixon and their beautiful art and wonderful thought provoking sentiment for Easter.

    This is what an art installation is about, the piece has layers and therefore depth:

    The placed memorialized flowers in front of the cross,
    The protected quote and artwork behind the glass,
    The exposed unadorned simple weathered wood cross,
    The balance between the door and window is passive,
    The door is the entrance to the dark tomb, nothing to be found,
    The lines in the concrete walk provide us the perspective we need,
    The cream color painted brick and the white sill,
    The neatly placed INRI sign above the cross, LIVE SAFELY,
    The cross in front protects us: the art work, the quote, our Liberty, the fragile glass.

    All done to communicate a message that resonates.

    I have never been to Dixon but do intend on going when in the area next time, which as a NYer ain’t that often…if not to buy anything but to SHAKE THEIR HANDS, all of them.

    That said, that is a GREAT pencil drawing design in the window reminiscent of a certain stained glass designer/artist named Frederic Wilson, an Englishman, who designed windows for Tiffany Studios in the 1880-1910’s.

    Happy Easter to all yous IOTWers!

    Ghost and crew

  2. Very well done, most will not heed the message.
    The warning sign at the top and that is what it is,is a very good reminder to all.
    That is what stands out to me.


Comments are closed.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!