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Exploring Contemporary Latter-day Saint Art: Materializing Mormonism at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum


“Materializing Mormonism: Trajectories in Contemporary Latter-day Saint Art” represents a milestone in the exploration of faith and creativity. Through its diverse array of artworks and thematic explorations, the exhibition offers a compelling glimpse into the vibrant world of contemporary LDS artistry.

The intersection of art and faith has always been a captivating realm for exploration. From the grandeur of religious paintings adorning cathedral walls to the intimate expressions of personal spirituality in modern galleries, art has served as a medium for conveying the depths of human belief and experience. In this vein, the Center for Latter-day Saint Arts presents “Materializing Mormonism: Trajectories in Contemporary Latter-day Saint Art,” a groundbreaking exhibition debuting at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.

Scheduled to open on May 10, 2024, “Materializing Mormonism” showcases the works of over thirty-five LDS-affiliated artists from diverse backgrounds and regions. Spearheaded by curators Heather Belnap, Brontë Hebdon Patterson, and Ashlee Whitaker, this exhibition promises to offer a thought-provoking journey into the complexities of Latter-day Saint artistic expression in the modern world.

At the heart of this exhibition lies a recognition of the evolving nature of Latter-day Saint artistry. While the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long fostered a rich cultural heritage, the contemporary landscape of LDS art is marked by diversity and innovation. Through mediums ranging from painting and sculpture to photography and installation, artists explore themes of faith, identity, community, and sacred space, inviting viewers to contemplate the profound connections between art and spirituality.

One of the exhibition’s key objectives is to showcase the global scope of Latter-day Saint artistic practice. While many associate LDS art primarily with Utah and the Intermountain West, “Materializing Mormonism” transcends these geographic boundaries to highlight the diverse perspectives and experiences of Latter-day Saints around the globe. By featuring artists from various cultural backgrounds and artistic traditions, the exhibition celebrates the rich tapestry of the global LDS community.

Central to the vision of “Materializing Mormonism” is the exploration of universal themes through the lens of Latter-day Saint culture. While rooted in the specific beliefs and experiences of Latter-day Saints, the art on display speak to broader human experiences of belonging, connection, and self-discovery. Whether through depictions of sacred rituals, representations of natural landscapes, or reflections on personal identity, these works resonate with audiences of all backgrounds.


One striking aspect of the exhibition is its emphasis on the materiality of Mormonism—the tangible elements that shape LDS worship and culture. From sacrament cups to traditional foods, artists engage with physical objects and symbols to convey deeper spiritual truths and experiences. Through their creative reinterpretations of familiar artifacts, they challenge viewers to reconsider the significance of everyday rituals and practices within the LDS tradition.

Among the featured artists is Stephanie Leitch, whose installation “Untitled Congregation” offers a poignant reflection on the communal nature of worship. By transforming mundane objects like plastic cups into symbols of spiritual communion, Leitch invites viewers to contemplate the profound connections forged through shared religious experiences. Similarly, photographer Daniel George explores themes of identity and nostalgia in his series “Passion and Doctrine,” which examines the cultural significance of LDS foods. Through evocative images of familiar dishes, George prompts viewers to reflect on the role of culinary traditions in shaping individual and collective identities.

The significance of “Materializing Mormonism” extends beyond the realm of art appreciation to encompass broader discussions of both identity and cultural heritage. As Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum hosts this exhibition, it surfaces a new chapter in the ongoing dialogue between art, religion, and society. By inviting viewers to engage with the diverse voices and perspectives of contemporary LDS artists, the exhibition fosters understanding, empathy, and appreciation for the rich tapestry of both LDS and human experience.


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