Student artist creates series for chapel

Mary Viducich is an artist, a senior graphic design major, an activist for social justice, a fiancee, expressive, a world traveler and a disciple. She is passionate about what she does, especially the art she creates.

Have a conversation with Viducich and within minutes you will realize that art is a strong passion of hers. In fact, art has taken her through difficult years and led her to her journeys around the world.

“I have always loved art since I was a kid, but it played an especially significant role in my high school years while I was processing some hard life stuff,” Viducich said. “It was there that I realized how powerful and important the expressiveness of art was to me.”

It was then that her passion for the arts began to flourish: right out of high school she took a trip to the other side of the globe to further develop her passion for art.

“I did a discipleship training school right after high school that was focused on art and justice,” Viducich said. “We went to Thailand and India, and used art in conjunction with bringing justice.”

Viducich shared that originally the justice part was not something she was interested in, but during the trip it grabbed her attention.

“While I was there I was caught off guard,” Viducich said. “God really stirred my heart and gave me a passion for justice, especially regarding human trafficking.“

After returning from abroad, her desire to raise awareness about human trafficking did not die. Viducich took many of the photos she captured on her trip and used them to raise awareness in the U.S.

Chapel art at Whitworth

Although human trafficking and justice are large passions in her life, Viducich has taken on other projects at Whitworth that are not specifically focused on justice. In fact, one may recognize some of her work currently displayed on campus.

Viducich’s series titled “Miracles” takes up the entirety of one wall in the chapel. The series is the about Jesus’ miracles. The paintings are lined up on the wall and numbered one to 12. Each painting’s number coincides with the specific miracle being taught during that week’s chapel service.

Viducich said she originally got turned on to the project by music professor Ben Brody.

“This year [Whitworth] created this position for an artist to be involved with the worship team for chapel,” Viducich said. “For the spring ‘Miracles’ series, Ben Brody decided it would be worthwhile to make art that corresponds to the passages of the teachings. We wanted to make pieces that people could reflect on during the service to integrate art into the worship experience.”

Viducich wanted to really bring the point home by integrating art with the message, and gave herself a tall order in wanting to give the series justice.

“I haven’t created art based directly on Bible stories like that before and I was a little afraid that what I would make might be cliché,” Viducich said. “So I was hoping to experiment with something different and new.”

The piece has been well-received by faculty and students alike. Senior Olivia Hubbell called the work moving.

“There is definitely something powerful about the whole piece, which fits with the sermon series and the power of miracles,” Hubbell said.

Dr. Karen Finch, assistant professor of theology, who has preached on the series of “Miracles,” also found the art to be inspiring. She said she had a strong reaction to the piece she gave a sermon on: Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law.

“I like that there was a sense in this picture of her just being present,” Finch said. “It’s very similar to a picture of the empty cross and Jesus is not on it anymore, and that’s the point: the empty cot and she’s not ill anymore.”

Finch also said she enjoyed how Viducich made the scene of the piece domestic and true to the story.

“Part of that sermon was about how Jesus came into her world, and how he had to go inside her house because the women’s world was inside,” Finch said. “He had to go in, to where the animals were and where the women were and he did. And he felt very much at home there. That was very meaningful to me that he would go to where she was.”

Viducich said the main goal of the series is to get the viewers to be involved in the experience, understanding the story in a different way. When creating the pieces, she read the story and then focused on one aspect that really stuck out to her, even if it was the smallest detail, such as an ear. The piece depicting the story where Jesus heals the man who is deaf and mute in particular stood out to Hubbell.

“The one that grabbed me the most was the piece of the giant ear, which is the miracle of the healing of a deaf mute,” Hubbell said. “There was something really unique in how large the ear was and having that be the focus of the whole piece.”

Viducich said she started the “Miracles” project with the goal of communicating common bible stories in a different way. The different color scheme made an impression on Hubbell.

“My first impression on the whole piece is the color scheme; it’s really dark with some orange that really makes the individual pieces stand out,” Hubbell said.

Each piece is primarily black and grey, which seems odd for a theme of miracles, but Viducich was purposeful in her use of darker colors.

“There is a lot of imperfection in humanity and the world,” Viducich said “and the fact that Jesus would be willing to come down into such an imperfect, falling-apart world, that’s something I really thought about while I was creating these pieces.”

“Miracles” by Mary Viducich is on display in the chapel until the end of the semester. Be sure to look for the individual piece during the chapel service that depicts the miracle being discussed. More of Viducich’s work can be found at maryviducich.com.

 

Story by Jacqueline Goldman Staff Writer

Photography by Gabrielle Perez

Contact Jacqueline Goldman at jgoldman13@my.whitworth.edu.

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