CONTEMPORARY MARIAN ART
by Bro. Cletus Behlmann, S.M.
Exhibited at the Marian Library: December 1, 1989 - January 19, 1990
Bro. Cletus Behlmann, S.M.
Today, Bro. Cletus is chairman of St. Mary's Fine Arts Committee.
He runs the Art Center, gives demonstrations, and teaches art. It
is thanks to his artistic inventiveness that the gallery, studio
and center reflect art and convey beauty. Cletus may seem quiet
and unassuming on the surface. Yet, deep down there is a drive
that fires both his creative imagination and productivity. He has
been called "shockingly productive" - over the years he did
literally hundreds of paintings, metal sculptures, and ceramic
pieces. He works in a variety of media: metal, acrylics,
watercolors, batik, stained glass, pastels, ceramics, and
weaving. Although his themes range from religious to folk art to
abstract, the overall leitmotif of his work is in "celebration of
life," from the wonders of nature to the miracles of God's
Redemption. No wonder that Cletus' canvases suggest a joyous
symphony of bold and bright colors, so different from the
discreet and delicate expression of the message he wants to
convey. The deeply spiritual quality of his work, for instance,
"is a little more suggestive than it is obvious," as Cletus
himself explains. Essentially a religious artist, Cletus wants
the beholder to discover the correspondence and ultimate unity
between religion and life.
Most recently, Cletus taught art in Japan, traveled to China, Europe and Mexico, and was the artist-in-residence for the World Council of Churches' San Antonio Conference 1989. Yet his home turf remains the great state of Texas and beautiful bicultural San Antonio. That is where most of his works and clients are, of whom only a modest sampling can be mentioned here:
- Coors Dickshire Distributors, El Paso, Texas.
ART WORKS BY CLETUS BEHLMANN, S.M.
1. La Capilla de la Virgen, Oaxaca, Mexico, watercolor
2. Nuestra Senora del Jardin, Queretaro, watercolor
3. A Walk in the Woods, watercolor
4. Virgen de la Fachada de la Capilla, watercolor
5. Virgen de la Fachada, Oaxaca, Mexico, watercolor
6. La Fiesta de la Virgen, Mitla, Mexico, watercolor
7. The Assumption, watercolor
8. La Pastorcita, Apaseo el Grande, Mexico, watercolor
9. Mother and Child, watercolor and pastel
10. Mother and Child, acrylic and pastel
11. Mother and Child, acrylic and pastel
12. Mother and Child, acrylic and pastel
13. Mother and Child, watercolor
...ALSO DISPLAYED AT THE MARIAN LIBRARY
Father Chaminade, founder of the Marianists, saw that his life's
mission was to restore to France the christianity that the French
Revolution had almost destroyed.
The exhibit opens with views of Bordeaux, where he ministered for
over half a century: first, during successive Reigns of Terror
(1792-97), when he was often in danger of death; and then as a
rebuilder of the faith (1800-50). Next come views of Saragossa,
Spain with its shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar, where during
three years in exile (1797-1800) he planned his future work.
There follow portraits of those (Diderot, Rousseau, Voltaire)
whose rationalism and attacks on the Church were assumed by many
of the Revolutionaries. After them come Danton, Robespierre and
Talleyrand, who prosecuted the Revolution and Napoleon, who
brought that era to an end. Supplementing these are illustrations
of the famous Tennis Court Oath and of the festivals honoring the
Goddess of Reason and the Supreme Being.
Documents dating from those days include a 1791 edition of the
Civil Constitution of the Clergy, which tried to remove the
Church in France from allegiance to the Pope. With this is a
letter of Pius VI (1792) excommunicating clerics who took the
oath to uphold that Constitution and a letter from a bishop
protesting his replacement by a constitutional bishop. Finally,
there is a letter from Pius VII (1801) asking all bishops of
France to resign their sees so that a new beginning could be made
in conformity with the Concordat signed with Napoleon.