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Theology and Art

B.T. ROBERTS MEMORIAL HALL ART GALLERY operates for the purpose of engaging the Seminary and campus community in interactions with visual art bringing to the students' experience a more fully integrated education encouraging students to develop habits of contemplation and habits of responding to art reflectively. The gallery schedule hosts local and national artists, juried and non-juried shows.  Exhibitions are accompanied by gallery discussions, tours or lectures that are free and open to the public.

The founding of the gallery in 2004, under the direction of Kathrine Page '01, was made possible as a memorial honoring the artistic gifts of George and Bertha Babcock and Les and Doris Borton, parents of Dr. and Mrs. Brian D. Babcock, former assistant dean of Northeastern Seminary.

Complete Exhibition Schedule and more information


wynn yarrow almost close enough Unfolding: Landscapes as Metaphors for the Inner Life by Aleta Wynn Yarrow

April 15 - June 28, 2013

Landscapes as metaphors for the inner life-painter Aleta Wynn Yarrow of Elmira, N.Y. has long been drawn to natural elements of transition: autumn, spring, and evening. In human emotional life, transitions are points of greatest vulnerability, but also bring a potential for transformation and for deep hope.

Inspired by auditory, tactile, or introspective experiences, the exhibit features 26 paintings created in what the artist describes as the shadowland between technique and vision; emotion and intellect; the physical realm and the spiritual one. 

Wynn's work has been exhibited in the Re-Presenting Representation biennial at the Arnot Art Museum, and is represented by West End Gallery, Corning, NY and the Creative Center, New York, N.Y.  

linda-langner-constraints-of-tangibilityConstraints of Tangibility by Linda Langner

January 7 - March 29, 2013

Created by artist Linda Langner, of Pittsford, N.Y., the images and assemblages in Constraints of Tangibility  challenge viewers to consider a series of questions: Is the intangible authentic when the tangible disintegrates, and the only remains are the ethereal imprint or memory of the vessel, experience or person? Is tangibility necessary to validate and affirm the "being" of any person's existence or experience?

This exhibit comprised of painting, tree bark, and found objects is about the intangible intimacy of God and lovers. It addresses the weaving and layered interleaving of soul and grace, the universal essence of joy and sorrow in the objects and people of creation. It is constrained by tangibility yet freed by the possibilities of intangibility.


scot-bennett-angels-sharethe Angels' Share by Scot Bennett

September 26 - December 21, 2012

Art with the purpose of communication highlights the correlation between the creative process and its voicing, and living a life of faith. Communication is what this exhibit is about; dialogue between artist and work, between viewer and work, between viewer and artist; and most importantly between all of us and our creator. With many of the works intentionally unfinished viewers are invited to enter the dialogue and share ideas, reflections, and suggestions for completing the works-together with the artist bringing resolution to the pieces.


Exhibition Slide Shows:


athesia-benjamin-faculty-invitationalathesia-benjamin-faculty-invitationalFaculty Invitational 2012-Vapors: The Brevity of Life by Athesia Benjamin, Monroe Community College

April 2 - June 30, 2012

In conjunction with the Conference on Ministry - The Future of Evangelicalism with David Fitch 

alberto-rey-culture-memories-lostReflections on Culture and Memories Lost by Alberto Rey

January 23 - March 23, 2012

Alberto Rey's work features issues of American popular culture and Cuban identity. His earlier work concentrated on a mix of abstract and representational iconography that incorporated images from his past and present. Later on, he became more interested in creating paintings that made clear, realistic references to Cuban culture, religion, food, politics and its relevance in an American society. The Studio Retablos Series (1997-1999) was a transitional body of work that connected the older body of work to the more recent series. The Studio Retablos Series appropriated found paintings with realistic imagery from the artist's past. The Trout Encountered Series (2000-2004) and Biological Regionalism Series (2005-present) feature paintings and videos reexamining the validity of regionalism in contemporary art and the utilization of angling art, art history, environmentalism and biology as a vehicle to examine contemporary society. The work tries to sensitize the audience to elements of their own environment that have been overlooked but that yet characterize their region. The Aesthetic of Death Series (2007-present) uses nature and painting as a metaphor for the human life and death. 


brian-babcock-landscapesLandscapes-Having Eyes to See with Brian Babcock 

September 19 - December 15

Landscapes-Having Eyes to See is an exhibition of photographs highlighting the natural wonders in our State and National Parks by Northeastern Seminary's former assistant dean Dr. Brian Babcock. What at first glance might seem like a series of photos journaling sightseeing excursions, upon closer examination becomes an invitation to look beyond the obvious to that which is revealed in and through the landscapes. The scripture text from Romans 1:20 inspired Babcock to see the ineffable qualities of both creation and the Creator-"By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse" (the Message).


faculty-invitational-2011Faculty Invitational 2011-Gordon College Faculty with Butler, Sheesely, Zingarelli

May 20 - June 30, 2011


nicastro-spiritual-geometryPainting Spiritual Geometry with Kathleen Nicastro

March 15 - May 16, 2011 


stout-global-portraitA Global Portrait: Ink Wash Drawings by Barbara Stout

September 21 - November 15, 2010 
In conjunction with the Northeastern Seminary Symposium - Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs: Sounding Wesleyan Themes with Don Saliers




it-aint-religion-lifestyle" ain't religion, it's a lifestyle..."

April 20 - June 30, 2010 
" ain't religion, it's a lifestyle..." is an art exhibition that speaks of one artist's quest to integrate post-modern visual imagery with his own personal, spiritual awakenings.  Jim Quinn's art displays an amalgamation of surrealism and text that address a quest for faith, devotion, and service within the sublime human experience of daily living.


documenting-hope-lessons-from-africaDocumenting Hope: Lessons from Africa

January 9 - March 30, 2010

Documenting Hope: Lessons from Africa is an exhibition of photographs and other documentary items from the travels and missionary work at Hope Africa University of Northeastern Seminary's dean emeritus and adjunct professor Dr. Wayne McCown and former adjunct professor Darlene McCown. Each year the McCowns offer education, medical aid, clothing and personal items to support the students and staff at Hope Africa University. Their photographs will be available for sale to the public with all proceeds benefitting Hope Africa University.

The show begins on January 9 and continues on through March 30. The show's reception will take place on Tuesday, March 2 form 4:15 p.m.-5:30 p.m. at Roberts Hall, Northeastern Seminary. It will be in conjunction with Roberts Wesleyan College Biennial Academic Conference: Speaking Faith: Conversion Across Diverse Communities  with Krista Tippett.

Click here to read the "Documenting Hope" news article taken from the Gates-Chili, NY newspaper

Click here to read the "Documenting Hope" news article taken from the Sunday Messenger, Canandaigua, NY


extreme-makeover-revitalization-21st-century-churchExtreme Makeover: Revitalization of the 21st Century Church

September 2 - November 15, 2009
In a multicultural, multi‐technical age, how does the church engage its complex community, reach a sector born in the lap of a computer, or a video; or connect with a teen tied to a hand‐held instrument of communication-manners aside? How does the Church inspire a respect for contemplation in an OMG generation of technological zeal? How does the church revitalize itself to draw in more marginalized people, young and old without capitulating to felt‐needs narcissism? How can the church allay fears and revitalize itself in an age of political pessimism? 


bennett-giebel-heatwole-2009Bennett, Giebel and Heatwole: Drawings, Paintings and Photography

July 9 - August 27, 2009
Northeastern Seminary invited three art studio professors to display their work in the show titled, Bennett Giebel and Heatwole: Drawings Paintings and Photography. This exhibition featured Scot Bennett's abstract representational graphite drawings, Douglas Giebel's series of oil paintings done on location at Highland Park, Rochester, and Joanna Heatwole's digital photographs. All three teach in the Division of Visual Arts at Roberts Wesleyan College.


border-crossing-art-traditionBorder Crossing Art and Tradition

April 25 - June 26, 2009
Northeastern Seminary presents, "When the Gods Prayed Back: Contemporary Ex Votos" for its third annual faculty invitational. This year Heather Layton, a professor from the University of Rochester, blurs the boundaries between art and tradition in her contemporary ex votos series. This bilingual exhibition investigates one aspect in the breadth of religious traditions. It combines the historical practice of Mexican votive painting with a contemporary reinterpretation. Ex-votos are small paintings that give thanks to specific patron saints after a miracle has been granted. Layton's series of paintings on steel uses an identical structure to that of the ex-voto except the roles have been reversed. Instead of the people expressing gratitude to the saints for a wide range of personal miracles, the patron saints pray back to the people often marginalized by issues, such as health care, domestic violence, infertility, drug addiction, or the rising prices international collectors are paying-and thus exploiting--artist's original works of art. Further, "the pressures of globalization," Layton writes, "have forced the ex-voto tradition into an increasingly vulnerable state…[forcing artists] to leave their professions for modern, 9-5 office jobs." Traditional themes of ex votos includes near death experiences, injured children, village and rural life, or natural disasters. Layton's work invites the viewer to learn, respect, participate in and even rediscover the vitality of this Mexican cultural tradition.


photographing-peacePHOTOGRAPHING PEACE

January 26 - March 30, 2009 
Seeking beauty and peace on frequent revelries around the Rochester region motivates this native Rochesterian to capture on film those quiet moments that open eyes to hope in the reality of beauty and wholeness. Angling his camera and body in impossible configurations, Tryon releases the shutter on a moment and a place in the world where the


faculty-invitational-2008CONVEYING FIRMLY ROOTED FAITH

June 6 - July 12, 2008 
For its second annual faculty invitational, Convey, B.T. Roberts Memorial Hall Art Gallery has invited Houghton College Art Faculty to display their work. Jillian Sokso, Gary Baxter, John Rhett, and Ted Murphy will exhibit their ceramics and works on paper.  Coincidental to Convey exhibition is the new appointment of Northeastern Seminary's vice president, Dr. Jack Connell, arriving in July from Houghton College.


manwaring-and-gangiUniversity Husband and Wife Team 
Imagery by Bruce Manwaring

Friday, April 25 through May 30, 2008
This husband and wife team will collaborate to bring a message of hope through the complex visual tools of paint, color, and technology.  As a cultural and spiritual resource, the B.T. Roberts Gallery will present important new works by newly retired Syracuse University professor Bruce Manwaring, whose pieces are significant for their message as well as mastery in digital design, and Nicora Gangi, whose new works in oils extend the theme of hope with her Turner-esque images pointing to the Christian hope of the resurrection.  

View Slide show


contemporary-quiltsSeminary Weaves Cloth and Theology in Contemporary Quilts

Friday, Jan. 25 through Friday, March 14, 2008, Northeastern Seminary's B.T. Roberts Memorial Hall Gallery presents Whispers of Mercy, Remnants of Grace, a collection of contemporary quilts by Judith Merritt and Laura Elder. This exhibit explores the process of quilting-stitching from personal experiences of loss and hope, courage in the remnants of the unknown, and faith in the rhythmic cloth of grace.

View Slide show [Watch Video - RNews ]

highly-favored-virgin-maryHighly Favored:
Contemporary Images of the Virgin Mary

September 28 - November 15, 2007, Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox traditions all bear images of this young, Jewish woman to whom the archangel Gabriel declared "highly favored" in God's sight. Who exactly is Mary? How can viewers recover a larger sense of her personhood and purpose through the works of contemporary artists from the Christian traditions? Not seeking controversy, instead, the show manifests the current, broad and growing interest in the Virgin Mary, and reflects serious understandings of Mary by artists of faith rendered in the visual vocabularies of our time. This exhibit is sponsored by Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA) and the Center for Christian Studies of Gordon College.

View Slide show




interactive-visual-commentaryAn Interactive Visual Commentary on IS53

March 23 - May 19, 2007

An Interactive Visual Commentary on IS53, a contemplative exhibit by Buffalo artist, Gary Wolfe, will be on display at the BT Roberts Memorial Hall Art Gallery, Northeastern Seminary. The multimedia exhibit comprises 12 works on paper, and 12 wood panels displayed as an installation.  The artist integrates his visual word with video and LED technology, collage, gold leaf and wood stain, and traditional drawing and painting. Unique to this exhibit is its interactive nature.  Come prepared to participate in making meaningful and permanent alterations to this "audience participation expected" work.  By doing so, the artist offers his work as a means beyond that of mere aesthetics, to an intentional engagement with the creative process, the viewer's own perceptions of the work, and perhaps even to its deeper theological intentional experiences.

View Slide show


earth-wind-airEarth, Wind, & Air: A Retrospective

January 26 - March 13, 2007

"Earth, Water & Air", the pastel paintings of Gloria Betlem will be on display.  This retrospective comprises two dozen works that synthesize her passion for teaching, her community outreach, and her outdoor excursions that culminate in her indoor studio experiences.

View Slide show


being-reality-show-five-sensesBeing: A Reality Show in Five Senses

April 21-May 13, 2006

View Slide show



Contact the Gallery

Gallery Funding

B.T. ROBERTS MEMORIAL HALL ART GALLERY is supported by private gifts. For more information click here.

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Philosophical Foundations for Establishing a Gallery at Northeasternroberts-hall-art-gallery

Human artistic instinct and endeavor derives from the imago dei.  Since God is creator, we express his creative nature through our nature. As with all human enterprise, however, artistic expression throughout history has varied in the degree to which it reflected and honored God. At times, art has facilitated personal, social, and spiritual dynamics not honoring to God nor supportive of Judeo-Christian values.  For this reason, some Christians have opposed art as an appropriate means of effecting godliness, faith, and Christian grace.  We feel this overreaction needs to be addressed by recapturing the place of art as an authentic expression of faith, Christian stewardship, and affirmation of our God-given humanity in its fullness.

To this end, Northeastern Seminary proposes to include in theroberts-hall-art-in-classroom seminary experience the gathering of appropriate art to enhance students' spiritual awareness and formation and to educate them more intentionally in this arena of God's activity. More precisely, the purpose for a seminary collection of art is to bring beauty and poignancy to seminarians' experience, and provide points of contact between the seminary community and the community at large.  Space given to art will affirm that God's sovereignty covers all areas of life, including the human artistic impulse originating in the imago dei. 

As creatures made in the image of God, we understand that God's gifts interpenetrate all forms of expression and ministry, even transcending human language and limitation of habits of spiritual discipline.  Thus, believing that we are made to be creative individuals, and given by God an immense liberty of expression in the exploration of truth, goodness, and beauty, an art collection and display will teach that art and artists can be instruments of renewal and grace by helping students develop such reflective and contemplative habits in an atmosphere of spiritually guided inquiry, will also facilitate students' understanding of God and how love for God includes not only with our reason and its vocabulary of words, but also with the creative vocabularies of our hearts and emotions.

The presence of art as part of the seminary ethos will move to reclaim aesthetics as a valid expression of truth and to recapture God's gift and image in us by affirming his glory as expressed art and disaffirming the notion that art is idolatrous and superfluous.

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