As the resident scholar for September and October I have been asked to present a four Iconography Lecture Series at Vaughan Park Anglican Retreat Center. I would be delighted to invite anyone local or visiting to explore Sacred Image and its Language.
Thursdays 7:00pm – 8:30pm October 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th
Deepening our faith through Thought and Image
This four week series promises lively contemporary discussions on Iconography, a tradition that dates back 1,500 years. Miller will be the Resident Scholar at Vaughan Park Anglican Retreat Center. The Thursday format will be four power point presentations with question and answer time. We will explore the meaning and message of ancient icons and what they have to say about contemporary life. The series will open with Feast Day Icons, follow with the relationship of Mary and Jesus and go forth to include St. Francis, Women in Iconography and finish with On Holy Ground a new collection of work done while in New Zealand on retreat. The entire series will represent both ancient traditions, and her own contemporary collections.
Christian Art History in Iconography
The history of Byzantine iconography shaped a good deal of the early church. Its images are the foundation of doctrine and theology for much of the Christian faith today. The origin of the tradition evolved precisely because people could not read or write. Christian Art History in Iconography represent a vast visual language to be contemplated. Iconography Lecture Series at Vaughan Park will explore how icons are painted as a prayer form and why contemplating ancient image has always been central to religious experience.
The series will open with Feast Day Icons. Mary Jane Miller tries to begin with history and a brief orientation to what is an icon and why they have been critical to teaching theology. The subject is large and diverse even with the traditional confines of Orthodoxy. However there exist within this delight variety of image and message lots of room for imagination and wonder. Without changing the narrative the culture become stagnant. Miller invites us all to consider again what we believe and why while gazing at beautiful images, historical ones as well as her own collections.
Mary and Jesus Icons
The relationship of Mary and Jesus and how they are presented in iconography as well as the language use to describe them IS provocative. The words and images can challenge us even today to go deeper in our current lives. What does it mean to called ” the Son of God” and “the Mother of God”?
Mary Jane will discuss the forever state of Mary being a Virgin and her miraculous conception only made into doctrine in the 18th century. Her observations about how we have been influenced by them may be a tiny bit heretical, however she is inspired by the never outdated questions of the mystics.
Mystical St Francis and the absence of Women in Iconography
Thursdays talk will be challenging to merge these two subjects. Francis was driven to love God with his whole mind, body and heart. He is portrayed as being ‘elevated’ and the first to receive the stigmata. The Women portrayed in iconography will include of course Mary Magdalena. St Photini is less known but she did have the longest recorded conversation with Christ at the well. Women are mystics, teachers, healers, guides, mothers and today finding their voice and authority around the world. Mary Jane Miller welcomes all to the discussions, that we might all open our hearts and minds more to the cosmic spirit we call God.
On Holy Ground Icon Collection
The concluding lecture and presentation with Mary Jane will include more in depth about her journey at Vaughan Park this past two months. She will share her finished icons, and some other radical ideas she has played with in the form of iconography. On Holy Ground is a collection of images focusing on our humane relationship to this divine planet. Some may not think of Earth as being divinely inspired or having come about from the divine. Science has yet to describe what existed before the big bang or how life on the planet actually got here. Mary Jane Miller highlights the earth as the perfected surface we live on which is being challenged by climate change; our human impact on what she calls divine space. The style diverts from traditional icon imagery yet is pleasing as well as provocative.
Please join us Thursdays and see what New Zealand has inspired in this artist.
About Mary Jane Miller