by David Lucht and Stefanie Graves
Center for Faith and Life
February 5 - March 21, 2003
Seeking connections outside the familiar realm of American existence, "Closing the Distance: A Bridge to Understanding" explores the daily routines and way of life of people of different cultures. Images were inspired by the couple's trips to Nepal, Thailand, and Morocco, and reflect the disparity of lifestyles found in different cultures - from carrying wares to market, to the barren places some call home. Unfamiliar ways of life reflect ancient roots that can serve to connect diverse people and help us understand ourselves.
David Lucht and Stefanie Graves live in Berwyn, IL, and are members of the Harrison Street Cooperative Gallery in Oak Park. Before coming to Luther College, "Closing the Distance: A Bridge to Understanding" was exhibited at the Kreutzman Gallery, Concordia University, River Forest, IL.
"My watercolor paintings in this series are more than scenes from the places we visited. Throughout our travels I was struck by the slower, simpler lifestyles of the people we encountered. I wondered at the incredibly different, and sometimes extreme harshness of, places people call home. My paintings explore these contrasts, the co-existence of the ancient in our modern times and the intimate relationship between the people and the land. For all the differences in culture that my paintings depict, there also exists the thread of commonality, of not only a shared history but also a shared life."
- Stefanie Graves
"I came to batik through my love for its magical qualities of obscurity and revelation. The image is 'developed' through repeated dyeing and waxing, gradually becoming almost entirely covered in wax. The finished work is only seen in its entirety at the very end of the process, when the wax is removed and the image revealed. In choosing the batik medium, I am pursuing the refinement of a craft technique that has been used for centuries in textile manufacture around the world. I am drawn to the study of other cultures because I feel that in order to understand our own underlying cultural assumptions, we need to study and value the cultures of people very different from us. We can then begin to reflect on why we do the things we do, and also realize that which we all share in common."
- David Lucht