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Finding spirituality through art
Posted April 11, 2008

Andres Rivera
Editorial Director

I don’t attend many art openings or go around looking for new and enlightening museum exhibits for a living, but when I do get the chance at stopping by for a quick look, the artwork displayed always seems to lure me in.

Now I am not majoring in art or some other major that would give me the credibility to professionally critique work, but I think I have seen enough fine work in my life to know when something should warrant a second look.

What becomes more fascinating to me, however, isn’t the work itself, but rather what the artist is trying to convey through the work: the artist’s purpose.

Some artists might say I’m over thinking the work and some art is just art, but that isn’t always the case.

In some cases, the art is a reflection of what the artist is feeling at the time. For example, a struggle for finding some sense of a theological presence in one’s life.

Recently I attended a small reception for my friend’s first art exhibit. It was during the lunch hour at Cal Poly Pomona, so students were not paying much attention to the artwork displayed on the walls of the rotunda and were more concerned over what they were going to eat, which is understandable I guess. After all, there were several exhibits opening.

Who has the time to view them all?

A few stopped to view a piece for a moment, took some time to figure out what it was exactly and then moved on.

The artwork was vibrant and colorful, taking advantage of bold hues to complement the dark lines that outlined the figures. From afar the art resembled cells for a comic book series, but when you hear the stories behind these pieces, it all comes together.

The half naked figures, surrounded by splashes of color and wings are not just figments of the imagination, but artistic representations of religious themes coming from the the Gospel according to Richard Cutler.

You see Cutler has been on a journey to make room for spirituality in his life. He was born into a Catholic family and studied other world religions, but wasn’t satisfied with what was out there. Instead of giving up on religion, however, he fashioned a sense of spirituality by taking common themes from the world’s religions and mixing in some ideas of his own.

If you sit through his explanation, it really is quite interesting how he has come up with his view. In a nutshell, the universe is comprised of three elements: positive energy, negative energy and neutral energy. The nature of the universe is to become neutral energy or complete perfection. It’s far more complicated than that but that is as far as I can go without completely mixing things up.

Besides I am eagerly waiting for the comic book series that is brewing in his mind that explains his theory to come out.

What is interesting about the several pieces of the exhibit I saw was that it made me realize how interconnected our world’s religions actually are.

In essence they all serve the same purpose: an explanation of where we came from and where we ought to go. The paths and stories may be different, but the ideas are commonly shared.

I guess that’s what good art does – it calls for a reflection on your surroundings, feelings, thoughts or your way of life.


Andres Rivera, a senior journalism major, is editorial director of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at arivera3@ulv.edu.