St. Olaf professor’s art exhibit links ordinary tools, Old Testament

Splendor, 2016. Acrylic on canvas, 60″ x 72″

What do hammers and handsaws have to do with the prophet Ezekiel and the Old Testament?

In her new exhibit Sacred Spaces, St. Olaf College Visiting Assistant Professor of Art Michon Weeks combines large-scale paintings of common objects found in her garage with text from Ezekiel’s vision of the wheel from the Old Testament.

“Ezekiel wrote about his vision of the heavenly world brought to earth in the form of spirit-animated wheels. My garage is filled with many ordinary wheeled objects. When I abstract the objects and combine them with text from Ezekiel’s vision, I aim to construct a visual metaphor of the sacred in the current time and place,” Weeks says.

Her work will be showcased at the Northfield Arts Guild from September 29 to October 29, with an opening reception on Friday, September 30, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Wheel Within a Wheel, 2016. Acrylic on canvas, 60" x 48"
Wheel Within a Wheel, 2016. Acrylic on canvas, 60″ x 48″

Members of the St. Olaf community, however, don’t need to wait until the end of September to see Weeks’ art. One of the paintings from this series covers a wall on the third floor of Old Main. The painting depicts an assortment of tools and equipment, with Ezekiel’s quotes spread out within the tools. The painting also includes a description by Ezekiel scholar and St. Olaf Professor of Religion Maggie Odell.

Weeks has created 11 new paintings for the exhibition, and she hopes that they help bring the ancient text of the Old Testament alive for viewers in the same way that they have done for her.

“I sometimes find sacred stories difficult to relate to, because they were written in a distant place and time and seem unbelievable to my contemporary mind. I have found that abstract visual art helps me see the metaphorical intersections of my culture, place, and time with ancient sacred stories,” Weeks says.

Weeks received funding to create this exhibit from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, which was made possible by the voters of Minnesota.

The Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council exists to encourage, promote, and assist regional arts development by providing leadership, outreach, advocacy, mentorship, grants, and services.