Senses of the Soul



Ellen Wiener is an artist whose work invites the viewer to an intimate participation in things already known. She also tucks into each page the promise of things to be discovered. Much like worship, her small works are often segmented into portions, with an organically rhythmic organization that shepherds the viewer into quiet reflection. On her website Wiener writes, “The paintings in the Book of Hours series are constructed from a mixture of contemporary and medieval references. Some of the medieval imagery and structure, although familiar to a contemporary audience through countless musical compositions, poems, prayers and histories, does benefit from the kind of text that would ordinarily accompany an exhibition or be noted in some way on the page facing each illumination. These pictures are visual responses to events and stories that medieval people would automatically know- but, for us, the traditional narratives are often subsumed, forgotten or confused with the many methods of translation that have come down to us over the years.”


In similar fashion, Dr. Bill Dyrness has studied the way art and visual elements are incorporated into Christian worship. In this podcast with Kevin Gibson, Dyrness discusses the content of his new book, Senses of the Soul: Art and the Visual in Christian Worship. This book is based on the results of research conducted with Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox congregations in the Los Angeles area. Dr. Dyrness is Professor of Theology and Culture at Fuller Seminary. Dr. Kevin Gibson is in his seventh year as associate pastor of worship and music at First Baptist Church, North Kansas City, Missouri. He has an undergraduate degree in music from William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri and a master of church music from Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. In 2004, Kevin completed his doctor of ministry at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois.

On View: Three Logics by Ellen Wiener. Oil on three panels, 9″ x 36″, 2003. From An Album of Hours by Ellen Wiener. See her book, The Still Small Hours, 2007, here.

About the Artist: Ellen Wiener is a painter and printmaker. She holds degrees from Bennington College and Queens College CUNY, and has taught and lectured widely at the university level since 1985. Faculty positions include appointments at Princeton University, Stony Brook SUNY, Louisiana State University, Saint Mary’s Honors College of Maryland, Sweet Briar College, Suffolk Community College, University of New Mexico, Queens College CUNY and Dartmouth College. She is a founding member of The Artists Registry.

Past Posts