The first thing you notice when viewing the art in Anne Goetze’s terrific Pray to Love series are the hands. Soft and delicately wrinkled, the hands of these beatific nuns are constantly engaged in gentle activity – caressing a cross, fingering rosary beads, cradling a vulnerable chick.
Several of the most expressive multi-media works in Goetze’s celebrated series are on display in August at MACC at the Streets. Goetze will be on hand for a reception on Aug. 13 and for an artist talk and film on Aug. 20.
Pray to Love documents the serene, gentle lives of the nuns of the Monestere de la Visitation in Annecy, France. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of adult education and the deaf, founded the Visitation Order in 1610. For 400 years, the nuns of this order have led lives of quiet contemplation, dedicating themselves to the virtues of humility and gentleness. Their simple motto is “Jesus Lives.”
Goetze has spent decades contemplating the lives these devout nuns. Her own Aunt Helen joined the order as a young woman, and some of Goetze’s earliest memories are of visiting her Aunt at the monastery in Annecy.
“My Aunt Helen lived most of her life behind walls,” Goetze once wrote of her aunt. “I remembering visiting her as a little girl, and wondering why she was behind bars. Her life was a mystery to me.”
Over time, Goetze developed a deep admiration and respect for the contemplative nuns, along with a genuine attachment for Annecy, a jewel of a city nestled in the French Alps. As a photographer, she began documenting the nuns, whose numbers have been dwindling.
The works in Pray to Love all begin with these photographs. Most everything else is done by hand, adding layers, glazes, oil paints and ash to create works of singular originality.
Asked what she hopes people take away from Pray to Love, Goetze answers without hesitation:
Selected works from Pray to Love are on exhibit at:
MACC at the Streets
300 Indian Lake Blvd., A140
Hendersonville, TN 37075
Sunday, Aug. 13 from 3 to 6 p.m.
Artist Reception: Visitors will view select Pray to Love works while meeting Goetze and enjoying wine and appetizers.
Sunday, Aug. 20 from 3 to 5 p.m.
Artist Talk and Film: Goetze will show her film about the project and then talk about her journey and time spent with the Visitation nuns in Annecy France.