Sing of Mary
An Exhibition of Woodcuts and Woodcarvings
by Robert F. McGovern
On display November 10 - December 26, 1997. All
works displayed are copyrighted by the
The Marian Library
Gallery seventh floor of Roesch
Library University of Dayton 8:30 to 4:30 M-F Tel.: 937-229-4214.
Prayer 14"x 20", woodcut print
Robert F. McGovern was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and studied at the
University of the Arts, then the Philadelphia Museum School of Art. After graduation he joined
the faculty and is now full professor and co-chairman of the Foundation Program at the
University. Throughout this time he has been involved in making paintings, prints and sculptures
and has had many solo and group shows. Robert McGovern has received many commissions for
works in churches, schools and hospitals throughout the United States. In addition, he has
illustrated numerous books and articles by such authors as Rev. Daniel Berrigan, S.J.; Rev. John
McNamee; Rev. Gerard Sloyan and Frank Sheed. Most recent illustrations include The
Salvation Novena by Larry London and The Way of Compassion...into the Heart of the
Seven Sorrows of Mary by Rev. Richard C. Antall, both published by Our Sunday Visitor
Publishing Division, Huntington, Indiana. He also lectures on the concerns surrounding religious
art in our times.
The Artist's Statement
"I have always seen my task as one of shaping and presenting images that enable the viewer
to have a possible window from the finite to the infinite. This is not a task that I invented but one
that I joined myself to. It traces itself back to the beginning of the Christian era. I do not espouse
any particular style or "ism" of art. The forms that are made in my studio gain
credence from the long and diverse traditions of religious art. However the forms gain much life
energy from their own material substance. There is after all a kind of natural law of the materials.
This rightness of substance in the wood, stone, bronze etc. instructs me in how the chisel, brush
or any tool can best be used with respect. I find in Creation clues for our small efforts at
"It becomes ever more difficult today to present glimpses of the infinite to a world frantic
with expanded human sensitivity. New worldly discoveries surround us on all sides. The good and
bad of it all converge on the artist and society alike. I have tried to meet the "new"
with an attitude of alert discernment. There are questions to be asked: what is the source of the
discovery? what are the moral ramifications? does the discovery have the potential to help us see,
if so how?
"It is no accident that Mary is a key subject of my work. Like others, I reach out to her as an
important part of the solution to the excesses and self indulgences of our age. Pursuing her
representation gives the artist the opportunity for the special confluence of an image that is royal
and approachable, nurturing and strong, merciful and just, and above all, a vision of hope. For
every time Mary is invoked waves of hope fill the mind and spirit. I consider Mary the perfect
model and subject challenge for my work."
This is not the first time Mr. McGovern has been associated with the Marian Library. His
work was featured in the February 1962 issue of The Marianist, a former publication of
the Marian Library.
WORKS ON DISPLAY
Angel with Trumpet
25"x 7.5", wood relief - oak
24"x 9.5", wood relief - ash and gold leaf
11.75"x 8", wood relief - basswood
Mary Meets Jesus >
10x11.5, wood relief - basswood, color stain
< Descent from the Cross
14"x 9", wood relief - pine, color stain
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