Tuesday May 9, 2017

Mary's Flowers in Contemporary Art

By Ann Zlotnik

From her studio in the Over-the-Rhine section of Cincinnati, artist Holly Schapker created 24 paintings that would honor Mary with flowers and their legends.

Approximately two years ago the Mary’s Gardens exhibit, inspired by the John Stokes and Mary Gardens Collection in the Marian Library, was in early planning stages. Knowing this was going to be a large exhibit and that the Marian Library Gallery would be included, Fr. Johann Roten contacted Holly Schapker with the proposal to produce a series of paintings that would honor Mary's life with flowers and their legends. In 2015, Holly had displayed her spiritual and artistic vision of Mary in the Marian Library exhibit Inspired by Realism: Reconquering the Figurative Image of Mary, so Fr. Roten was confident that Holly would delve into this project with total enthusiasm and create amazing pieces of art for the Marian Library’s collections. He was correct.

Holly immersed herself into this project and, in just about two short years, successfully created twenty-four breathtaking paintings varied in style and approach. According to Fr. Roten, “The twenty-four oil paintings of this exhibit are an attempt to bring together, in a harmonious way, three facets of Marian art: nature, history, and spirituality. The exhibit is an invitation to visio divina, a meditation about Our Lady, and her meaning for us, as tradition and new insights suggest.”

Holly Schapker also enjoys painting outdoors as well. She often paints in the park near her home. Her love of outdoor painting has led her to paint in places such as Sante Fe, Charlevoix and throughout Italy. Holly’s current project is a portrait of Pope Francis for the Athenaeum in Cincinnati. View the photo gallery for a behind-the-scenes peek at the evolution of the exhibit currently in the Marian Library Gallery. These paintings will soon be available as a traveling exhibit.

Current Exhibit Information

Photo Gallery

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