"Relics," an exhibit of photo documentation of sculptures installed in Italy, by Char Norman, will be on display at the McCarthy Gallery in Holekamp Hall at Washington and Lee University from Sept. 1 to Dec. 30.
The exhibit is sponsored by W&L's Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics and is free and open to the public.
The artist's numerous trips to Italy fostered an interest in shrines, icons and tabernacles found throughout Florence and Rome. This fascination, along with the realization that "the natural landscape had become essentially obliterated by stonework in the magnificent buildings and pavements of the Renaissance, led to an examination of the layers of history, culture and religion," Norman said.
This feeling, along with her reverence of nature and her concern with environmental issues, made her want to build shrines which venerated natural elements from the area and referenced pagan religious beliefs upon which Christianity is based.
"The resulting small sculptures employ detritus of nature as objects of veneration much as a bone fragment of a saint is revered in religious traditions," Norman said. Her sculptures were then installed in niches in the historic cities. This exhibition shows the photo documentation of these sculptures printed on and embedded in handmade paper.
Norman is a fiber artist specializing in papermaking and fiber sculpture. She received a B.A. from Scripps College and an M.F.A. from Claremont Graduate University. She has lectured and exhibited both nationally and internationally, developed and conducted workshops for all ages and worked as a consultant to schools, colleges and community arts organizations.
Norman is dean of faculty emeritus at Columbus College of Art & Design and has recently returned to her professional practice as a full-time studio artist.
The McCarthy Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday.