Religion and Art

An Insider Perspective

Authors

  • Regina Coupar University of Toronto

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/jsrnc.v9i3.24053

Keywords:

art, religion, ambiguity, phenomenology, neuroscience

Abstract

From my perspective as a working artist, both visual art and the connection with religion it enables, are experienced non-verbally as at once fluid and deliberately ambiguous. An active spectator willing to engage art in the same way may find the emotional and intellectual space needed for her religion to evolve beyond adherence to existing dogmas. Though theorizing is in a sense quite distant from this perspective, when theories are sought to illuminate this approach, it turns out that certain ideas from phenomenology and neuroscience are the ones most capable of doing so.

Author Biography

Regina Coupar, University of Toronto

Regina Coupar is a practicing visual artist, in the final stages of thesis defence for the Doctor of Ministry degree at Regis College, Toronto School of Theology, University of Toronto.

References

Alighieri, Dante. 2003. The Divine Comedy (New York: New American Library).

Barrett, Terry. 2008. Why Is that Art? Aesthetics and Criticism of Contemporary Art (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Begbie, Jeremy. 2010. ‘Looking to the Future: A Hopeful Subversion’, in W. David O. Taylor (ed.), For the Beauty of the Church: Casing a Vision for the Arts (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books): 165-85.

Coupar, Regina. 2014. ‘The Ministry of Making Art: An Intrinsic Case Study’, PhD dissertation, Toronto School of Theology, Toronto, ON.

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihalyi. 1997. Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life (New York: Perseus).

Dufrenne, Mikel. 1973. The Phenomenology of Aesthetic Experience (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press).

Edwards, Betty. 1979. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (New York: Tarcher).

Evans, Jonathan St. B.T. 2010. Thinking Twice: Two Minds in One Brain (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Greenfield, Susan. 2000. The Private Life of the Brain: Emotions, Consciousness and the Secret of the Self (Toronto, ON: John Wiley & Sons).

Haidt, Jonathan. 2010. ‘Comment’, in Susan Wolf, Stephen Macedo, John Koethe, and Robert M. Adams (eds.), Meaning in Life and Why It Matters (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press): 92-101.

Jung, C.G. 1971 [1921]. Psychological Types: The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, vol. 6 (trans. R.F.C. Hull; Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).

Kandinsky, Wassily. 1977. Concerning the Spiritual in Art (New York: Dover Publications).

McNamara, Patrick. 2009. The Neuroscience of Religious Experience (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511605529.

Ramachandran, V.S. 2011. The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human (New York: W.W. Horton & Co.).

Russell, Bertrand. 1996. The Conquest of Happiness (New York: Liveright Publishing).

Saint John of the Cross. 1990. Dark Night of the Soul (New York: Doubleday).

Siedell, Daniel A. 2008. God in the Gallery: A Christian Embrace of Modern Art (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books).

Sokolove, Deborah. 2013. Sanctifying Art: Inviting Conversation between Artists, Theologians, and the Church (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock).

Sullivan, Graeme. 2010. Art Practice as Research: Inquiry in Visual Arts (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications).

Thiessen, Gesa Elsbeth (ed.). 2005. Theological Aesthetics: A Reader (Grand Rapids, MI:

Viladesau Richard. 2000. Theology and the Arts: Encountering God through Music, Art and Rhetoric (Costa Mesa, CA: Pault Press).

Zeki, Semir. 2006. ‘The Neurology of Ambiguity’, in Mark Turner (ed.), The Artful Mind: Cognitive Science and the Riddle of Human Creativity (Oxford: Oxford University Press): 243-70. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306361.003.0013.

———. 2009. Splendours and Miseries of the Brain: Love, Creativity and the Quest for Human Happiness (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell).

Published

2015-10-12

How to Cite

Coupar, R. (2015). Religion and Art: An Insider Perspective. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 9(3), 259–282. https://doi.org/10.1558/jsrnc.v9i3.24053