Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
April 16, 2001
Art exhibit aims to be spiritually uplifting
Young artist offers stunning portrayal of crucifixion
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — It's a powerful scene, quite dramatic and original. It's Jesus' moment of death on the cross as seen by St. Albert painter Lewis Lavoie, currently on exhibit at the Art Beat Gallery.
It seems that when Christ was being crucified, Lavoie was hiding in the bushes nearby, his camera ready to shoot. The end result is a dramatic close-up of the Lord's last moments, captured from behind.
It shows the Lord's back, his arms stretched to the limit and his head hanging forward as his agony is coming to an end. The dark sky is momentarily illuminated by lightning while rain pours down on the Lord's body.
Lavois' Death of the Saviour, a 4x4-feet acrylic on wood, is part of a spiritual show by eight artists in time for Easter at the Art Beat Gallery at 8 Mission Ave.
Called Moved by the Spirit, the exhibit of spiritual paintings runs the gamut from traditional representations of New Testament scenes, aboriginal spirituality to a series of paintings by Edmonton artist Lucie Tettamente that depict the creation story from Genesis.
There are at least 45 art works in the exhibit, all of them dealing with various aspects of spirituality.
Gallery co-owner Eric Outram said he and his wife Sandra had been talking about setting up a "spiritually uplifting" show for a couple of years. "And we thought that Easter time being a very important time in the Christian yearly cycle of life was a good time to do it."
And that's precisely what inspired Lavois, 38. "Being the Easter season I wanted to do sort of a Good Friday painting," he said of his Death of the Saviour.
"It's sort of the moment that Christ died on the cross and to me that's the most significant moment. It's probably the most dramatic point in history, kind of the pinnacle point of world history."
He added rain and lightning to Jesus' moment of death to give it a more dramatic effect as well as symbolic meaning.
"There is no real indication it was raining (during Jesus death) but I like the rain," he said. "The rain kind of washes things and it has a lot to do with the whole sin element of our sins being washed from us."
Lavois finished the painting just in time for the exhibit. "It took me about five hours to complete," he said.
"I think Lewis is one of the most incredible young artists that I know," Outram said. "I think he's really captured the essence of the crucifixion. He is very imaginative. He caught it (the crucifixion) from an angle that most people would never think of depicting that scene."
Another of Lavois' paintings at the show is The Dove, a 5x5-foot oil on canvas, depicting an aerial view of a collective baptism in a river. It was inspired by Jesus' own baptism.
"When I painted it, I was thinking of the moment Christ was baptized," he explained. "If you look at it you may see somebody that may look like Christ to you or to someone else."
Most of Lavois' works deal with the idea of washing sins and his depiction of the flood of Noah's Ark is no exception. "What I'm trying to show is that the earth has been cleansed of its sin."
The painting, titled Covenant, shows the moment when the water starts to recede, the storm is over and the rainbow has appeared.
Lavois has been painting for 25 years and believes his painting style comes out of his Christian heritage as well as his view of life and the world. "I believe that there is a God out there that looks out for us and loves us."
However, Lavois, also a commercial painter, wouldn't describe himself as a religious painter. "I see myself as being more spiritual than religious."
The Moved by the Spirit show runs daily from April 7 to 29. For more information call Eric or Sandra Outram at 459-3679.
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