Friday, February 04, 2022

Visual Art Exhibition at Duke Chapel Explores ‘Complicated Truths’ of Life

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An interactive visual art exhibition at Duke Chapel invites viewers to consider complicated truths in life for which there are no easy solutions. Presented by the Chapel and the Everything Happens Project, Reliquary of Complicated Truths by multidisciplinary artist Lanecia Rouse Tinsley is an installation created from discarded wood, paper, and other material that invites viewers to place within the cracks of the work their response to the prompt “In my life, there is no cure for....”

The exhibition can be viewed until March 1 between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. daily, except during services and events as indicated on the Chapel website. Face masks must be worn inside the Chapel at all times.

The commissioned exhibition takes its inspiration from a scene in a book by Duke Divinity School Professor Kate Bowler. In No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear), Professor Bowler describes being on a trip to the Grand Canyon when she comes upon a remote chapel that is covered in graffiti and slips of paper inserted in the walls with written pleas from the heart, such as “I miss you every day” and “Did you make it to heaven, my love?” Likewise in her work, Tinsely creates a vessel for a viewer’s own thoughts, stories, and complicated truths.

In addition to discarded wood and paper, the installation is created from plaster, gold leaf, cheese cloth, and thread. Accompanying the main installation is a series of collages on wood that reflect upon insights shared on Professor Bowler’s website.

Tinsley and Professor Bowler will hold a public conversation about themes in the exhibition on Thursday, February 24, from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. in Duke Chapel. The discussion will be followed by a service of Choral Vespers at 7:00 p.m., which comprises hymns, prayers, and music of the Renaissance and early Baroque periods.

Tinsley is an artist whose portfolio includes a range of abstract painting, photography, teaching, writing, speaking, and curatorial projects for nonprofit organizations. A graduate of Duke Divinity School, she is the artist-in-residence at the Holy Family HTX church in Houston and was the 2020–2021 artist-in-residence for the Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning (CERCL) at Rice University. She is a co-founding creative director for the ImagiNoir Equity Group, an international alliance and community development and equity group of black activists, artists, writers, scholars, philanthropists, and educators. In addition, she is the director of justice and the arts with projectCURATE.

Duke Chapel creates a space on campus for the artistic expression of the spiritual life through visual arts exhibitions. The Chapel views the creative arts as both an expression of worship to God and an expression of human longing for God.

The Everything Happens Project, of which Professor Bowler is a leader, has a mission to bear Christian witness to the fragility of life. It seeks to develop language and foster a digital community around kindness, courage, and compassion in the world.