PHILADELPHIA — “Remembered Light – Destruction and Resurrection: Glass Fragments from World War II,” which opens at the University of Pennsylvania’s Arthur Ross Gallery on March 29, is a traveling exhibit that presents the works of 13 contemporary European and American artists and incorporates shards of stained glass from destroyed churches.
U.S. Army Chaplain Frederick A. McDonald served in Europe for the last 18 months of World War II and made a habit of collecting pieces of stained glass at damaged sanctuaries from cities like Verdun, Cologne, Nuremberg and London. He tucked the stained glass into envelopes, labeled them by site and stored for more than 50 years. Before his death, he coordinated with artist Armelle Le Roux for these works to “serve as a memorial to the places they were found and offer hope for lasting peace.”
The artists in the exhibit have created 25 windows in diverse media, including ceramic, silk-screen, vinyl, copper and glass, each with its own story. Each piece takes on different dimensions, varying from a 9x14-inch glass book, its shard from an unknown site, to a 41x30-inch crown of thorns in antique glass, featuring the shards from the Cathedral of St. Stephen in Metz, France.
This traveling exhibit started in San Francisco and is visiting Philadelphia before being returned to San Francisco, where it will be permanently installed in the Interfaith Chapel of the Presidio.
“Remembered Light” runs in the Arthur Ross Gallery through June 15. Organized by the Frederick A. McDonald Foundation, the exhibit features a special discussion with principal artist and project manager Armelle Le Roux, “Creation, Fabrication, and Restoration: The Art of Stained Glass,” on March 28 at 4 p.m.
Additional support for “Remembered Light” was received from the Office of the Chaplain and the Department of Fine Arts, both at Penn.
Arthur Ross Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and weekends from noon-5 p.m. All exhibits are free and open to the public.
Additional information is available at www.upenn.edu/ARG/ or 215-898-2083.