'Meetings in the Square' Art Exhibit Opens

WILMORE, Ky. — A new exhibit by assistant professor of Art Josh Smith called “Meetings in the Square” has opened at Asbury University and explores the intersection of physical and spiritual life.

Several different types of pieces comprise the exhibit, including a video Smith filmed in the city square of Urbino, Italy.

Asbury Art Professor Josh Smith exhibit
Neon lights are an important spiritual element in Professor Josh Smith's work.

“The square is the place where everybody would hang out and talk at the end of the day,” Smith said. “I drew a circle with the most temporary material I could think of to draw with: chalk. I stood in it at the same time each day for the same duration, to observe what, if anything, would happen. I was surprised that people would avoid walking through it. Many people sat or stood at a distance and watched, as if there was something to look at. There was a real curiosity around this false boundary. I was surprised at how many people would approach and ask what I was doing. The ‘space’ that I created with the circle acted as a metaphor, again, for the spiritual aspect of our lives: practically invisible, but very much present, sometimes a boundary, sometimes inviting.”

Other pieces feature hand-written binary code — the patterns of ones and zeroes used to communicate electronically — as a symbol of the ways the spiritual and physical aspects of life, though separate, work together. For Smith, creating these canvases was not only an artistic endeavor, but also a meditative experience.

“To me, slowing down is necessary in order to consciously unify the physical/spiritual in my life,” he said. “Literally slowing down enough to do a mind-numbing task like write out Plato’s Cave Analogy in binary code allowed a time of prayer that went beyond my physical brain. I felt like I was able to communicate with God in a way that I hadn’t before, starting with a consciously prayerful spirit.”

Asbury’s Art Gallery is located on the second floor of Johnson Cafeteria and is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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