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New Art Exhibit Influenced by Catholicism, Spirituality, Mythology

At Thomas More College, Gary Gaffney’s collection of recent mixed collages are “Alert in the Cosmos,” continuing through Sept. 25.
 
In the Eva G. Farris Art Gallery, the images are intimate musings on the spiritual dimensions of the material world. Gaffney, recently retired from Art Academy of Cincinnati, says of the twenty works, many are being exhibited for the first time, and all are simply “continuations of what I‘ve spent my career on.”
 
Gaffney has many influences -- nature, science, mythology, Catholic tradition, spirituality. They may seem disparate but Gaffney points out they’re all part of the same cosmos. “Why can’t I layer science and myth and anything I want? It’s the only way to see the complexity of the world.”
 
His work is about the intricate and complex connections before in the universe we inhabit. “Science has to work in the way it works but can’t believe it’s the only way to work; religion has to work in the way it works but not believe it’s the only way to work.
 
“What I’m responding to is how we’re moving away from a world of objects separate from each other to a world in which the connections are more important that the objects.”
 
Gaffney, who has exhibited nationally and has works in museums including Cincinnati Art Museum, is drawn to collage because “it’s a way to juxtapose things that don’t normally go together.”
 
So in one collage there’s a bird in flight. “No one questions birds in myths,” Gaffney points out. Here, “The bird is an actual bird but it’s also a symbol as it carries a message in the sky – which is also the universe. The relationships are diagrammed with arrows and dotted lines.”
 
“I ask the viewer to take a contemplative moment with the work.”
 
In another current project, Gaffney organizes Cincinnati Art Museum’s Art After Dark lectures. “My goal is to make contemporary more accessible to interested folks” with local artists acting as guides.
 
“The events are informal and try to engage audience members in as comfortable way as possible.”
 
Coming up this season: Nov. 21, Contemporary Art and Visual Language; Feb. 2015 Final Friday, “Design at the Edge”; April 2015 Final Friday, “Making Judgments.”
 
“Alert in the Cosmos,” through Sept. 25, Eva G. Farris Gallery located in the College Library, 333 Thomas More Pkwy, Crestview Hills, (859) 344-3300.
 
Written by Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts
 
Photo provided