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Exhibit: Noah in Traditional and Contemporary Art

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

Almost every culture extending across the populated areas of the Earth, has a flood story. Most often, these tales describe a massive, sometimes global flood, sent by a god or gods to punish humanity for its sins. The Biblical story of Noah is a perfect example of this worldwide phenomenon.

In Genesis 6:7, God says “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds, and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”

The Story of Noah appears early in the biblical history of humanity, beginning with Genesis 5:28 when Noah is born to Lamech, to the flood story and a bit about his life and descendants after the flood in Genesis chapters 6 – 10. The story is full of dramatic imagery: Noah and his sons building the first large boat, the pairs of animals peacefully entering the ark, the deluge and subsequent voyage of the ark and the promise expressed through the rainbow. For centuries, the account of the flood has fascinated children and adults alike and has captured the imagination of artists like few other biblical narratives. Medieval artists viewed the flood as catastrophic, depicted the horrors of people and animals clamoring for high ground. Yet by the beginning of the twentieth century, more humorous and whimsical depictions begin to appear in children’s books and cartoons.

It is interesting that a story so full of sin, judgment, punishment, and pathos has been adopted as a favorite children’s story. Books, films, songs and baby nursery decorations feature smiling animal pairs enjoying a cruise on a large boat floating upon quiet waters. An interesting paradox when compared to the Biblical story.

“Noah in Traditional and Contemporary Art” combines the Bowden Collection’s exhibit “The Rains Came Down,” Bibles and artifacts from the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens collections, and Noah-relate items loaned by individuals. Bowden Collection items are designated with “The Rains Came Down” logo on their labels, Biedenharn Museum and Gardens have the “Biedenharn” logo, while loaned materials include the person’s name.

The oldest portrayals in this exhibit are two engravings by Nicholas Chaperon dating to 1649. Biblical leaves and illustrations from the Biedenharn’s Collection date from the 1549 “Matthews Bible,” through Illustrated Family Bibles of the 1800s and modern interpretations. There are also examples of Noah-themed folk art, mass-produced products, and modern humorous cartoons.

Programs of the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens are supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council, and as administered by the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council, Inc. Funding has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works.

The Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitor’s Bureau has provided marketing and promotional funding for Noah in Traditional and Contemporary through its Tourism Development Program for Festivals, Events, and Marketing grants.

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Exhibit: Faith, Form & Flowers

On display until December 31, 2019 throughout the grounds of the Biedenharn Museum & Gardens.

“Faith, Form and Flowers” consists of 13 total sculptures. Seven are placed around the outside of the property from the corner of Riverside and Forsythe, down Forsythe and around the Coke Museum on Speed Street, two are in the Bible Museum and three are in the Gardens.

About the Artist:
George Tobolowsky is an American sculptor from Dallas, Texas. His works made from reclaimed materials have been featured in several solo and group exhibitions in museums, sculpture gardens, and galleries.

Tobolowsky was born to a large Jewish family in Dallas, Texas. He is a descendant of Russian immigrants to the United States. He attended Hillcrest High School and went on to study accounting and sculpture at Southern Methodist University. Tobolowsky studied sculpture with James Surls and Louise Nevelson. He also later graduated with a law degree from SMU Law School in the early 1970s.

Tobolowsky began his career as an accountant at an accounting firm in Dallas before working at the legal and tax departments of the Zale Corporation. With partners, Tobolowsky owned franchise businesses including, at one time, up to 75 Blockbuster stores and several Dunkin’ Donuts locations. In 1995, he built a sculpture studio in Mountain Springs but he did not begin making sculptures until 2004. Much like the sculptures he would later create, the studio was constructed with reclaimed materials.

Since Tobolowsky began making sculptures in the mid-2000s, he has created more than 500 sculptures which have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions. Tobolowsky makes sculpture from found objects. He obtains material for his sculptures from scrap yards and fabrication plants, bringing together the repurposed industrial waste into abstract compositions. Although Tobolowsky’s works can sometimes weigh several tons, they have been described as “light and lyrical”.

In 2006, Tobolowsky had his first solo exhibition at Gerald Peters Gallery in Dallas. His works have since also been exhibited at The Grace Museum, San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, and Meadows Museum of Art. In October 2012, his 13-feet Ann-e Girl, a depiction a “tree of life” growing out of a metal brassiere was featured at the finish line of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. The piece includes a 13-foot version of the garment with straps and a pair of cups fashioned from stainless steel tanks. Beginning in November 2012, the Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas also exhibited a sculpture by Tobolowsky, menorahs “made of polished steel found objects including drills and parts from airplanes and trucks”.

In 2015, Tobolowsky was featured in Texas!, an exhibit of Texas-based artists at the National Academy of Art in New Delhi, India. At the 2017 Jerusalem Biennale, he was featured in the exhibition named Jewish Artists in America.

Tobolowsky is married to Julie Tobolowsky and they have four children and live in Dallas.

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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.