Kristo: Christ & Culture Exhibition at Thrive Art Gallery

Thrive Art Gallery, an Ilonggo art collective presents Kristo: Christ & Culture as a homage and reverence to the lenten season. The exhibition which runs from March 22-April 19, 2024, explores the many iconic facets of Hesu Kristo as depicted by 34 Ilonggo artists who have drawn inspiration from their faith and spirituality.  Whether Christ is depicted through a profound, prosaic or profane lens, each artwork or installation is an invitation to reflect on how the central figure of Christianity figures in our daily, ordinary lives. Cutting across political, gender, socio-cultural  and spiritual dimensions, the exhibition is an amalgam of artistic expression centered on the passion of Christ. The thematic presence of pain, suffering, redemption and divine love in the collective narrative finds personal expression in the media of choice- oil, acrylic, mixed-media, sculpture or installation. Creating art is in itself an expression of prayer and the 34 Ilonggo artists have invited us to enter a doorway to divine insight, realization or understanding.

Kristo: Christ and Culture is an example of how a religious themed art experience immerses the viewer in a contemplative space. Just like in the creation of religious iconography and artwork, viewing and attempting to gain insight from art is a prayerful experience as well.

Here are some of my favorite artworks from the exhibition:

Despite the title of this piece, I find this Nordic redwork inspired art positively optimistic and inspiring. A red heart at the center of the cross and holy blood that resembles rose petals  evoke a certain kind of  understanding that Christ's redemption of humanity is likened to a beautiful flower. 

This is a  piece that had the most visceral effect on me. Of all the artworks in the collection, I spent the most time on this piece wondering if it is inspired by a Rorschach inkblot test or an attempt of the artist to  draw an  internal anatomical abstraction of disfigured face of Christ as suggested by swollen, blood engorged eyes and blood vessels rendered visible.  

This is divine sadness set in stone. The rendition of a lonely, dead Christ in concrete slab and barbed wire crown captures the essence of divine sacrifice.

This is a creative, almost irreverent  pop-art inspired juxtaposition  of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Christ on the Cross, both icons connected by the redeeming element of Christ's holy blood. 

I can feel the warm, textured grain and sliver of old, recycled wood in this piece. The stunning element in this piece is doorknob that is affixed  in the center of the cross. This is a direct invitation to open the doorknob of our hearts to receive the grace of Christ's resurrection.

The spatter of red paint on a predominantly green painted canvas evokes a gritty imagery of Christ's holy blood on the grass. This is a powerful, visceral piece of art that capture's the passion of Christ in a minimalist context.

A beautiful monochrome portrait of Christ on the cross looking through my soul. 

Aptly entitled "gugma" or love, this striking, virtual pain inducing installation features a metallic head or heart of Christ dripping with red paint and topped with a crown of thorns. The presence of a spiked spear intensifies the pain this piece is trying to project. No love without pain. 

A comforting imagery of a kind and compassionate Christ who is a friend to all. 

A tortured Christ crying bullet sized tears. An armalite rifle pendant hangs on a bullet-beaded rosary. A very meaningful, thought provoking artwork, the theme of which runs parallel to the sad, violent, dark  world we live in where only God can bring hope. 

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