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Arts & Culture

Blue Star’s Kopriva Retrospective Questions Catholicism

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Cathedral Green, (2012)


Despite the scathing satire, Kopriva’s work is not intended as anti-Catholic. Instead, it reflects the anguish of a Catholic artist who can’t believe the ethical and moral failings of the church.

Perhaps no contemporary artist comes closer to making viewers feel the suffering of martyrs than Kopriva does with her three crucified saints. Sebastian is lashed to a tree trunk, his body pierced by arrows. Peter is nailed to a traditional cross, but it’s upside down with his rib cage exposed in horrifying detail. Andrew is tied to the X-shaped cross that the Romans probably used for most executions.

Kopriva usually attaches three-dimensional objects to her paintings, such as the hundreds of tiny skeletons rising into the sky toward the Madonna of Heaven and Earth. In her most recent paintings, such as the enormous Cathedral Green (2012), forests become cathedrals, reminiscent of Thorncrown Chapel near Eureka Springs in Arkansas. Using photographs of the interiors of Europe’s greatest cathedrals in paintings of forests, Kopriva has branches, moss, and rocks tumbling out of her romantic landscapes. But Kopriva’s sunny spirituality may stray too far into Thomas Kinkade sentimentality, perhaps an over-reaction to the oppressive darkness of her earlier work, which is enervating, yet impossible to forget.

Sharon Kopriva: From Terra to Verde

$5
Noon-6 pm Tues-Sat, Noon-8 pm Thurs
Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum
116 Blue Star
(210) 227-6960
bluestartart.org
Through Aug. 24

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