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Dordt College News

On display at Dordt College, John Swanson’s art brings stories to life

October 1, 2012

The Dordt College Department of Art and Design presents the Richard and Helen DeVos Collection of The Art of John August Swanson, an exhibit of original, hand-pulled serigraphs by Los Angles based master printmaker John Swanson. The collection will be on display in the Dordt College Campus Center Art Gallery from October 10 to December 1.

A master printmaker of serigraphs, lithographs, and etchings, Swanson’s art is about “bringing stories to life.” His creative vision reflects the gift of storytelling he inherited from his Mexican mother and Swedish father. Influenced by the imagery of Persian and medieval miniatures, the tradition of Orthodox iconography, Swedish and Latin American folk art, as well as Diego Rivera and the Mexican muralists, Swanson’s beautiful narrative art explores human values, cultural and religious roots, and his ongoing quest for self-discovery through the visual.

Using up to 89 color stencils to print one serigraph, John expertly utilizes his medium to create rich, images that are filled with great beauty, mystery, and meaning. The serigraphs are unique examples of how art can visually preach the Word and offer creative insight into biblical stories and their meanings. His art brings these familiar stories to life in new and inspiring ways as visual parables of our everyday lives.

Swanson draws viewers into stories that show how everyday lives are filled with God’s love and presence. His work shows that the sacred permeates the ordinary.

In addition, some of Swanson’s earliest screen prints and posters will be on display in the Ribbens Academic Complex lobby and hallway near the Dordt College art department. These early pieces show the strong influence of Corita Kent, a mentor of Swanson’s who is highly respected for her colorful calligraphy and silk screens.

The public is also invited to attend the opening of the DeVos Collection Exhibition and Gallery Tour hosted by John Swanson on Wednesday, October 10, at 7:30 p.m.

On Thursday, October 11, from 4 to 5 p.m. Jannaan Manternach of Dubuque Iowa will present “The Art and Vision of John August Swanson.” Manternach is a collector of Swanson’s work and, with her deceased husband Carl J. Pfeifer, founded Life, Love, Joy, Associates and has written numerous religious education textbooks, columns, articles, and books.

Then again on Thursday evening, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., Swanson will present “Seeing the Sacred in the Ordinary.” Both events will be held in SB101.

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