An exhibit of new Latter-day Saint art has been attracting attention in Salt Lake City this past year. The exhibit, consisting of 170 paintings and sculptures, was selected from the more than 1,000 submissions to the first Latter-day Saint international art competition.
“We experienced a rich visual harvest,” said Museum Director Glen M. Leonard. “From a variety of artistic styles we saw emerge a consistent thread of testimony in the restored gospel. The artists who submitted their works created memorable images from the scriptures, and from the history and current activities of the Church.
“Art pieces in the exhibit represented a common set of beliefs expressed through many artistic traditions,” Brother Leonard explained. “But whatever the visual language they speak or the national artistic traditions they represent, certain religious images carry a universal message for Latter-day Saints.
“For example, the message of the Savior’s atonement carries meaning whether painted in the direct style of an illustrator from the United States, the abstract patterns of an artist from Europe, or the bold colors of a part-time painter from Latin America.”
“The competition encouraged Latter-day Saint artists to share their religious faith through art,” said Elder Dean L. Larsen, a member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy and executive director of the Church’s Historical Department. “This exhibit let us recognize their contributions. We hope they will continue to inspire others through the religious art they create.”
Elder Larsen officially opened the exhibit and presented awards to prize-winners. Through the generous contribution of an anonymous donor, more than [U.S.] $40,000 was awarded.
First place winner was Steven L. Neal, a self-taught artist of Pendleton, Oregon, for his painting “Lehi’s Dream.” Second place went to Pino Drago of Frankfurt, Federal Republic of Germany, for his painting “Monday, 24 June 1844, 4:15 A.M.: Beyond the Events,” depicting a decisive moment in the hours prior to the Prophet’s martyrdom. Shauna Clinger of Salt Lake City, Utah, won third prize for her dual painting entitled “That They Which See Not Might See.”
There were also six merit awards, and in addition, some exhibit pieces were purchased for the Museum’s permanent collection.