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Exhibit: Stations of the Cross

On display until December 31, 2019 in the Bible Museum.

The exhibit is made of two parts – bronze sculptures by Gib Singleton and acrylic paintings by Dr. Clarence Talley.

The last days of Christ as described in each of the four Gospels, are pivotal events in Christianity. The story, first told in the four Gospels, has been repeated through numerous methods: in children’s Easter productions, in Classical Art and in hundreds of films including; Ben Hur (1959) The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), The Passion of the Christ (2002) and the controversial Last Temptation of Christ (1988).

For centuries Catholics have reflected on the final days of Christ’s life through The Stations of the Cross, a series of pictures, sculpture or bas relief representing certain scenes in the Passion of Christ. Each station or “halting place” corresponds to a specific scene from the Passion and death of Jesus. Participants travel in order from one station to the next, meditating on the meaning of each depiction. In effect the Stations help the faithful to make a pilgrimage to the main scenes of Christ’s sufferings and death, and this has become one of the most popular of Catholic devotions.

Forerunners of the Stations of the Cross date back to the 400s. In the 1400s stations which were modeled after Jerusalem’s Via Dolorsa took on their current form, spreading among monasteries to cathedrals to smaller chapels. There was no set number of stations with individual locations having anywhere from seven to 37 stations, until the 1700s when the fourteen stations became the standard.

Only nine stations are directly recorded in Scripture; the others are either inferred from the narrative as with the three times Jesus stumbles or additions of legend such as Veronica’s Veil.

The Sculptures:
Fourteen works by Gib Singleton, America’s foremost Western and Biblical sculptor, are featured in this exhibition. Gib Singleton’s bronzes are famous around the world and he is arguably the only artist ever to be represented simultaneously in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Cowboy Hall of Fame, the Vatican Museum and the State of Israel (whose large collection of his art was a bequest of Prime Minister Golda Maier). Pope Benedict XVI’s crosier with a bronze cross at the top, was designed by Gib Singleton. Another of Singleton’s crosses rests next to the Shroud of Turin. When Michelangelo’s Renaissance masterpiece Pieta was vandalized in 1972 the Vatican Museum, Gib was asked to assist in the restoration process.

Singleton was born in Kennett, Missouri. He studied at Southern Illinois University and the Art Institute of Chicago where he won a Fulbright Fellowship to Italy. He has also studied for his doctorate in Greek Mythology and Theology.

The Museum of Biblical Art, Dallas, Texas has generously loaned Gib Singleton’s “Stations of the Cross” exhibit to The Biedenharn.

The Paintings:
Talley’s Stations of the Cross consists of fifteen acrylic on canvas works. Within the works there
is an abundance of juxtaposition of shapes, overlapping of geometric and organic shapes, and angularity of forms, sharp contrast, and figures in silhouettes. The Jesus figure and other images are presented in profile, frequently playing off one another. The use of warm and cool colors floating on the dark backgrounds intensifies the drama and gruesomeness for which Jesus endured.

Talley begins the Stations with “Jesus is Condemned to Death by Pilate” and concludes with the “Resurrection.” The Resurrection is not traditionally part of the Stations within the Catholic tradition – though it may appear in very rare occasions – one can assume Talley’s protestant roots and evangelistic view led him to include this important event.

Dr. Clarence Talley, Sr. is Professor of Art at Prairie View A & M University and an ordained minister at Mount Corinth Missionary Baptist Church, Hempstead, Texas, the World Christianship Ministries, and the United Christian Faith Ministries. Dr. Talley’s subjects are diverse and range from traditional to contemporary. He records the African American experience and the human condition with passion and unrestrained vigor. As a paramount source of inspiration, Dr. Talley draws upon the Bible for motivation both spiritually and visually.

He received a B.A. from Southern University, an M.F.A. from Louisiana State University, an M.A. from Houston Graduate School of Theology, and a D.B.S. from Master’s International School of Divinity. Dr. Talley is a Fulbright-Hays Scholar to Africa where he has traveled extensively in East and West Africa. He is also a Phelps-Stoke Fellow to the Caribbean. He is listed in “Years of Afro American Art,” “Who’s Who in the South and Southwest,” “Who’s Who Among African Americans,” & “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.”

As an accomplished artist, Dr. Talley’s works have been shown both nationally and internationally in numerous one-man and group exhibitions such as The Corcoran Gallery, Washington D.C.; Black Creativity, Chicago, Illinois; Huntsville Museum of Art, Museum of Art, Port Au Prince; University of West Indies in Trinidad; Biblical Art Center, Dallas, The Apex Museum, Atlanta, Georgia, University of Texas, Texas A & M and Prairie View A & M. He is the author of: The Call for the Prophet, A Call from God and Is It True: Reflections from the Word of God, and Lie after Lie after Lie.

Dr. Talley and his wife, Carolyn Ann, reside in Prairie View, Texas, with their two children, Clarence Jr. and Crystal Ann.

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