Jesuits & Arts Series: Exhibition Featuring Works of Frs. Vachon & Araujo Opens Sept. 26 at Jundt Art Museum

August 31, 2015

SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University’s “Jesuits and the Arts” series continues with two special exhibitions at the Jundt Art Museum. Opening Sept. 26 in the Jundt and Arcade galleries, respectively are “Vivid in My Mind: The Visionary and Landscape Images of Father Andrew William Vachon, S.J.,” and “Befriending Sacredness: Works by Father Arturo Araujo, S.J.” The exhibitions will continue until Dec. 19.

The “Jesuits & the Arts” series, a multiyear sequence of programs at Gonzaga, places the arts at the center of Jesuit education while celebrating the role they play in the ongoing, dynamic mission of the Society of Jesus in the world. All events in the series are free and open to the public.

“Vivid in My Mind: The Visionary and Landscape Images of Father Andrew William Vachon, S.J.” presents 70 paintings and drawings created over four decades by the Jesuit priest and artist. He earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in philosophy from Gonzaga in 1935 and 1936, respectively, and returned to Gonzaga in 1965 to teach photography. He became the University’s official artist and photographer-in-residence until his death June 1, 1979 at Gonzaga’s Jesuit House. Father Vachon’s art combines a personal, visionary aesthetic with intellectual interpretations of nature, philosophy, and theology. His paintings and drawings, rooted in observations from life or deriving from his Jesuit training, emerge from an intrinsic personal inspiration that divulges itself in his creative actions and processes.

“His imagination, brought to life by his vibrant art, reflects the Ignatian impulse for each of us to brighten our eyes,” notes Fr. Kevin Waters, S.J., dean emeritus of Gonzaga’s College of Arts & Sciences. “Vachon helps us do so by making vivid the reality of God in a real place, a genuine event, and the actual moment of a remembered time.” Most of the 70 objects that will be on display have been borrowed from Alan Wofsy Fine Arts, San Francisco. The Jesuit Oregon Province Archives has lent several drawings to the exhibition. Organized by the Jundt Art Museum, the special exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with numerous full-color illustrations of Fr. Vachon’s works.

“Befriending Sacredness: Works by Fr. Araujo, S.J.” features recent work fashioned by a contemporary priest-artist. Born in Barranquilla, Colombia in 1967, Fr. Araujo became a Jesuit in 1986 and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1999. Thirteen years ago he moved to United States and earned a bachelor’s degrees in art and fine arts from Seattle University and the Cornish College of the Arts, respectively, and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of New Mexico. Fr. Araujo teaches art at the University of San Francisco and works in his studio there where he combines etching, relief, and digital media. His prints express a contemporary spirituality.

“My work is a result of combinations of layers: haunting images that came from free expressions on ink blends with silhouettes of the landscape of Cienega Grande; images that came from pictures I took ‘in situ’ (on site) when I visited Colombia,” states Araujo. “Imagination and photographic perceptions of the reality collide, releasing the shock of the beautiful landscape that has been torn by the massacre.” His work has been shown in Colombia, the United States, Mexico, Italy and Canada.

A free public lecture by Fr. Araujo will begin at 5 p.m., Friday, Sept. 25 in the Jundt Auditorium followed by a reception for the exhibitions. A free workshop and demonstrations with Fr. Araujo will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 23. For details on the workshop contact the Gonzaga fine arts department at (509) 313-6686.

The museum’s exhibitions are free and open to the public from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Saturday; closed Sundays and University holidays. For more information call the Jundt Art Museum at (509) 313-6843 or visit the museum website. To schedule a docent-led tour, please call Karen Kaiser, curator of education, at (509) 313-6613.