September 10, 2009
“I believe art and theology are strong partners for communication” Sandy Ceas, Master of Theological Studies (MTS) student. “The theology of Christianity has a rich inheritance in the arts from the past. I seek to be a scholar of art and theology and an agent of change in culture – to present art with a new voice, especially for the contemporary world. Art can express the ineffable, and induce spiritual deliberation leading to change in self and surrounding culture.”
As an accomplished contemporary, conceptual installation artist and art educator, Ceas was the subject of an article in The Rocky Mountain News in January chronicling her visit to Washington, D.C. at the time of Barack Obama’s inauguration. At the time, Ceas’ work was featured in a Christians in the Visual Arts show at Wesley Theological Seminary’s Dadian Gallery coincidently at the same time as the inauguration. But the story was about her contribution to Obama’s “hope” movement. Over the past several years, she has traveled to more than 14 cities, leaving about a thousand handmade, surprise gifts: palm-sized, ceramic “blessing doves,” in random locations in hope – no, certainty – that they will end up in the hands of the people who need them most. So, in Washington D.C., she placed doves with a prayer that they touch the lives of the individuals who see them or take them home. View her placed doves here.
The “blessing doves” are perhaps, individually, the smallest of Ceas’ art installations that have been exhibited across the United States. Her larger installations include such spiritual pieces as Testimony Tree, a spontaneous writing on a wall around a restored wooden tree ring. The text is written while reflecting on a question about relationship to the world and to God. Each exhibit and new writing is a journey of thought that expresses the trial and revelations experienced when submitting to a call on life.
Another piece, Time Heals, is an installation of several large ceramic vessels suspended from a ceiling while dispensing fine grains of white sand for six hours to the surface below. This passage of time evokes contemplation and reflection. Time Heals is part of a traveling international military exhibition.
“My work questions relationship with self, God and others, and offers insight toward healing and conversion,” Ceas said. “My art involves various materials taking up space to evoke an engagement and a response.”
At Iliff, Ceas seeks to advance her education in Christian theology to enrich her art with the knowledge and power of God. In the MTS program, she is studying the history of Christianity, the narrative of religious art through the ages and the power of healing. Ceas looks forward to studies of the Holy Spirit, pilgrimages, culture, world religions, and the impact of art and theology throughout the world and will be applying to the Iliff/DU joint doctoral degree program in 2010.