STATEMENT

How do we encounter God within our tangible existence-as we work and worship together? How is the spiritual present in objects that we touch routinely, and how are ordinary objects transformed into symbols bearing divine presence?  Different denominations and historical periods provide a range of answers. I pursue my own through investigating my life, and the life of the communities I am a part of, in an interdisciplinary art project titled Today-Friday-Saturday-Sunday. This online blog, Saturday, is part of a larger body of work, all of which considers the aesthetics and purpose of everyday materials and practices by transforming commonplace materials into an extraordinary environment. Though everyone has daily aesthetic experiences, they are often not considered. I and my community will actively observe everyday aesthetics, gathering materials and moments.

My aim in this three part art project is to immerse myself, and the communities I am a part of, in a sacramental way of life during the Lenten season. Lent is a long period of fasting and preparation and reflects a journey with God; the growth of each project will be documented as part of the work. I and my communities – church, work, and virtual – use art as a Lenten discipline, collected ordinary materials or moments, which are typically thrown away or disregarded.

By collecting daily moments and materials with others, Today-Friday-Saturday-Sunday expands on the notion of corporate Christian worship and investigates sacramentality. Roman Catholic theologian, Edward Schillebeeckx, defines a sacramental encounter as an encounter not just with an object, but with a person, present through that object–as when the weight and effect of a gift comes from the relationship between the gift bearer and the recipient. In sacramental encounters, the divine is made present through sacramental events coming from and enacted within community.

These materials and moments were built up into 3 large artworks: Friday, made of nets and written prayers, installed in a church building and focused on the crucifixion; Saturday, a blog with photos, audio clips, and brief meditations reflecting on the ups and downs of life with God; and Sunday, towels and dryer sheets, the material of my workplace, installed on a footbridge and celebrating the resurrection.

This project attempts to blend notions of public and private, sacred and secular, everyday and transcendent, to bridge perceived divides between our lives and divine presence.

CONTRIBUTORS

Sheri at the opening of her art show, WHITE WHITE RED: living woman

Sheri Park (taking photos) is an interdisciplinary visual artist, focusing on photography, video/performance, and found object collage construction. Themes of growth and change are the focus of her art. Her undergraduate art degree is from Union College in New York. After moving back to the Bay Area in 2013, she became involved with Peninsula Covenant Church and Peninsula Community Center, completing an internship with them in 2014, and continuing to work and volunteer within their community.

This Capstone project is her first attempt at large scale, collaborative, installation and web based work; she is looking forward to continuing to collaborate with others in new ways. In addition to making visual art with friends and contemplating the mystery of God, she works as a receptionist, freelance graphic designer, and art teacher. Her hobbies include dancing, writing poetry, making breakfast, and sometimes beating her dad at Boggle.

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Sonika Rajis currently a second-year medical student at Albany Medical College.  In 2013, she completed degrees in Biology, Music, and Healthcare Management at Union College and Union Graduate College.  During study breaks, Sonika can usually be found working on her research, which aims to help pregnant patients keep their prenatal appointments.  She also contributes to research investigating the overlap in symptoms between sleep apnea and depression in adult psychiatric patients.  Her community involvement extends from organizing college-wide community service initiatives to tutoring local Albany schoolchildren.  In her (scarce) free time, Sonika enjoys making cheesy jokes, crocheting stuffed animals, and rocking out on her guitar.

unnamed-4A man from Rochester, NY, Paul Stack (recording audio) develops inner-city high school students to prepare them for college and beyond. He majored in English at Union College in NY, and loves leading students to know the value of words and how they relate to truth, relationships, and their own beliefs and understandings. He is a poet, and tends to write through themes like subtle everyday hypocrisy, the things people really want, and connecting the parts of people’s stories.

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Sheri, Sonika, & Paul (plus half of Mark. Sorry Mark!) back in 2012.