Subscribe

Corita Kent: Artist and nun. What was the message behind the art? (+video)

Corita Kent, the nun-turned-internationally-renowned-pop-artist, gained popularity for her vibrant serigraphs during the 1960s and 1970s. Kent drew on popular culture to spread her own spiritually inspired messages.

Google reminded us Thursday to find zeal in the commercial messages that bombard us every day.

Corita Kent, whose life and work inspired Thursday's Google Doodle, drew on popular culture to spread her own spiritually inspired messages in her art.

Also known as Sister Mary Corita, the nun-turned-internationally-renowned-artist, gained popularity for her vibrant serigraphs during the 1960s and 1970s. She ran the art department at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles, where she was a Sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary until 1968 when she left the Order and moved to Boston.

Recommended: From Grace Hopper to Ada Lovelace: women who revolutionized computer science

Her serigraphs are not only famous for striking visual appeal that nods to popular modern symbols and slogans, but for the messages she extracted from them.

"Corita's art reflects her spirituality, her commitment to social justice, her hope for peace, and her delight in the world that takes place all around us," the Corita Art Center website says.

A Los Angeles Times review of her exhibits described the activist nun's work as "visually jarring, conceptually astute and socially engaged."

Kent would find inspiration in advertisements at the supermarket, on the street, or in newspapers

"Attracted to the impossible promises and extraordinary satisfactions put forth by ads, Corita casually borrowed their easy-to-read graphics, leaving behind the specific consumer goods they were designed to sell. Her works transform bold logos and catchy visual jingles into joyous, pointed appeals to common human values.

From General Mills, Corita took the general idea of goodness, which the "Big G" was said to stand for. From Wonder bread, she appropriated an abstract sense of wonder, leaving the bland, mass-produced bread behind. Elsewhere, Esso gasoline ads fuel individual desire, unleashing the untapped power within people."

The Los Angeles Times noted that her work often drew on Christian themes and that her words bespoke an "edgy optimism" during "tumultuous times."

The nun's heyday followed the liberalizing of the Catholic Church with Vatican II, and her work reflects this "radical openness," according to the Times: "Dispensing with dogma in favor of forging grass-roots communities based in earthly needs, her works give vivid shape to a sweeping commitment to human responsibility and dignity."

Kent created more than 400 serigraphs in 18 years, according to the Corita Art Center.

Born Frances Elizabeth Kent in Fort Dodge, Iowa, she worked primarily in Los Angeles and Boston.

The Google Doodle appears on the day when Kent (1918-1986) would have turned 96.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK