The Unspeakable Art of Bill Viola

A Visual Theology

By Ronald R. Bernier

The Unspeakable Art of Bill Viola

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  • ISBN: 9781620324714
  • Pages: 100
  • Publication Date: 5/19/2014
  • Retail Price: $16.00
Web Price: $12.80
Web Price: $12.80
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eBOOK

  • ISBN: 9781620324714
  • Format: epub
  • Publication Date: 5/19/2014
  • Retail Price: $16.00
Web Price: $12.80
Web Price: $12.80
 

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The Unspeakable Art of Bill Viola

A Visual Theology

By Ronald R. Bernier

paperback-logo

PAPERBACK

  • ISBN: 9781620324714
  • Pages: 100
  • Publication Date: 5/19/2014
  • Retail Price: $16.00
Web Price: $12.80
ebook-logo

eBOOK

  • ISBN: 9781620324714
  • Format: epub
  • Publication Date: 5/19/2014
  • Retail Price: $16.00
Web Price: $12.80
Web Price: $12.80
 

*All eBooks are non-returnable

** Click here to review our ePub FAQ and policies.

About-

The breach of art from religion is just one of the many unhappy legacies of modernism. There was a time, however, when the aesthetic and the spiritual were of a piece. This study of the work of American video artist Bill Viola considers the possible reemergence of a theological dimension to contemporary art--a reenchantment of art, as some have called it. Using the high-tech apparatus of modern video, Viola's art is rooted precisely in this theological tradition of transcendent mystical experience and spiritual self-concentration. The technological apotheosis of modern image-making--high speed film, high-definition video, LCD and plasma screens, and sophisticated sound recording--are put to use by Viola in ways that significantly challenge prevailing intellectual and artistic traditions and return us to the power of the Sublime--that which, by definition, defeats language. Viola's art as such converges with postmodern notions of the "unrepresentable" and with the ancient theological tradition of apophasis, "speaking away" or "unsaying." The fullness of "meaning," then, appears only as a promise of presence through embodied absence, neither fully here and now nor entirely elsewhere and beyond. This study seeks to define, through the work of a courageous and thoughtful contemporary artist, the theological sublime as an aesthetic of revelation.

Endorsements & Reviews-

"An elegant little book, written with both genuine appreciation and critical insight. Bernier opens up Viola's fascinating ouevre, while showing both that theology can be a valuable tool for the art critic and that art can be an important locus."
--Maria Poggi Johnson, University of Scranton, Scranton, PA

"As we rethink the strange (and estranged) place of religion in the discourses of modern and contemporary art, this is the kind of study we are much in need of. Ronald Bernier's book establishes a rich and well-informed theological framework for questioning and interpreting Bill Viola's work. In fact, the implicit argument of this volume is that until we allow such a framework to shape our critical method, our understanding of Viola's work will remain unacceptably flat."
--Jonathan A. Anderson, Biola University, La Mirada, CA

"Bernier's elegantly spare yet graciously eloquent voice perfectly conveys the 'posture of openness and attentiveness' he ascribes to his subject confronted with the 'beckoning' call of a God who just might be there."
--Rachel Hostetter Smith, Taylor University, Upland, IN

"Ron Bernier's inquiry into Bill Viola's concern with the spiritual and its cultural manifestations is a timely speculation on the place of the sacred in contemporary visual culture. Reassessing the 'secularization theory of modernity,' Bernier will challenge and stimulate all readers with his theologically and theoretically sophisticated exploration of a figure who has exerted an inestimable influence on current art practices."
--Cordula Grewe, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Contributors-

Ronald R. Bernier

Bio(s)-

Ronald R. Bernier is Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. He is the author of numerous exhibition catalogues and scholarly essays and the book Monument, Moment, and Memory: Monet's Cathedral in Fin-de-Siecle France (2007), and is author/editor of Beyond Belief: Theoaesthetics or Just Old-Time Religion? (Wipf & Stock, 2010).

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