Art as Revelation

A collaborative exhibition investigating the cognitive implications of text-inclusive artworks.

Text & Image

Project rationale

Our aim is to investigate the cognitive implications of text-inclusive artworks, both from the viewers’ and the artist’s point of view. Starting from the tradition of integrating biblical quotations inside pictorial space typical of Reformation art, we are particularly, but not exclusively, interested in the relationship between the written word and visual imagery. Religious art offers the possibility to differentiate between two different axes of communication: the divine/viewer (or ‘what’) axis and the artist/viewer (or ‘how’) axis. We believe that this theoretical distinction will allow us to answer more general questions about art, such as: are text-inclusive images more likely to be perceived as a mean of communication compared to non-textual images? What is the relationship between the interpretation of a text and the production of images inspired by that same text?

TheoArtistry: Text&Image Scheme

We believe that the study of art must engage with artists and their artistic intentions. We want to create a space for artists and postgraduate researchers in theology to collaborate, exploring the relationship between spiritual and religious text and art. This will deepen the research students’ understanding of the creation of text-inclusive art, and enable the making of original images for scholarly analysis. Drawing on the previously successful University of St Andrews-led TheoArtistry scheme for poets (2018) and composers (2016-2017) as well as student-led collaborations (2018-2019), we will launch a call for artists and we will team them with postgraduate researchers in theology to explore areas of overlap between spiritual and religious text and art. The aim is to deepen our understanding of the process and the reasons that lead visual artists to include text in their compositions, in order better to understand art addressing religious and spiritual themes, and art more in general.

Official exhibition website

Panel of partner artists

Claire Fontaine, Gordon Cheung, Russell Crotty, Michael Takeo Magruder, Simon Morley, Tom Phillips, Kay Rosen and Mark Titchner

Funding overview