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Spring 2008 | Volume 31, Number 1 | Features

Laura Lasworth, Professor of Art

By Katie Kresser, SPU Assistant Professor of Art History
Photos by John Keatley

Painting by Laura Lasworth
Monstrance, 2007, Oil on Canvas, 22"x18", by Laura Lasworth.

Laura Lasworth had been thinking about the planned “hope” exhibition for months before the opening. These two paintings, while they relate to events in Laura’s life, were created specifically with the theme of hope in mind.

In the Catholic and Anglican churches, a monstrance is a beautiful, transparent vessel for display of the Eucharistic wafer. Its ornate form, often including gold and jewels, is a way of glorifying the Body of Christ inside. In her painting “Monstrance,” Lasworth has put a humble and earthy spin on the traditional liturgical object. Her monstrance is an ordinary white cardboard pet carrier — presumably holding a frisky living creature. Its inscription (“I’m going home!!”), and the delicate picture on its side, suggest an innocent life about to burst forth. But as with so many of the works in this exhibition, we can’t actually see what’s going to happen. This monstrance is opaque, so its contents are only hinted at. It’s interesting that the word “monstrance” comes from the Latin word monstrare, meaning “to show.” But here, Lasworth chooses to point hopefully forward and upward, without showing us anything outright.


Painting by Laura Lasworth
Without You I Am Nothing, 2007, Oil on Canvas, 16.5"x13", by Laura Lasworth.
In “Without You I Am Nothing,” meanwhile, Lasworth employs a similar strategy. This picture is a tribute to Lasworth’s friend, the artist John Boskovich, who died in 2006. One of John’s early works was a photo-text collage of a pitcher pouring out the word “hope,” and Lasworth has reproduced that here. But with its overtone of premature death, the painting takes on a more specific, but also more spiritual, meaning. There is a hope for eternal life — longed for, but unperceivable — indicated by John’s birth and death dates on the bowl at the bottom of the picture. We see how the word “hope” pours into the bowl, but we can’t exactly see its outcome: It is held there, in waiting, behind porcelain walls. In both “Monstrance” and “Without You,” Lasworth shows us how a “closed” view can point beyond itself to something greater and higher.



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Department Highlights

from the president
President Philip Eaton reminds us that God's promise to “do something new” creates and sustains our hope.

New Leadership
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Detours and Unexpected Destinations
Samuel Lin ’65 was named SPU Alumnus of the Year for a lifetime of service.

Oh, So Close
Falcon women’s soccer had 23 straight wins in 2007–08 season; was in Final Four.

my response
Poetry by Emily Dickinson
SPU Professor Susan VanZanten Gallagher on Emily Dickinson’s Poem #314 and “Hope.”

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The Advent of Breathing
SPU Professor Christen Mattix on “The Advent of Breathing.”