Art Exhibit Sacred Offense: Offerings Explores Desert Artifacts

by April Overholt '11

On July 18, Sacred Offense: Offerings, a thesis exhibition by Craig Goodworth '10, opened with a flourish. Intended to offer a taste of what the desert can provide, visitors partook in a feast of lamb, sampled honey, and listened to an inspirational poetry reading.

Located in Duke Gallery, Heritage Art Gallery, and Darling Hall, the exhibit was a culmination of Goodworth's work in APU’s Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts (MFA) program, and aimed to explore what Goodworth calls the “space between sacred and offense.” Objects collected from the desert embodied both of these aspects, and represented the difficulty in distinguishing between the two.

“There is nothing so sacred that can’t be secular, and nothing so secular that can’t be sacred,” explained Goodworth about the artifacts’ contrasting elements.

Elements of the exhibit included rope or steel animal sculptures, sketches of elk and deer, antlers, jars of honey, large pieces of earth and roots, and many objects Goodworth collected throughout his lifetime in the Southwestern desert. Animal skulls draped with honey, wrapped in linen and rope, or stuffed with various types of landscape proposed this concept of the sacred and the profane intermingling.

Another central theme of the exhibit was the direct correlation between the desert and the resurrection story.

“The desert tradition of Christianity is really important,” said Goodworth. “You must go through the desert of Friday and wait out Saturday before getting to Sunday [when the resurrection occurs].”

Collected from a lifetime of living in the American Southwest, Goodworth hopes his artifacts offer a new perspective and appreciation of the sacred and the profane that the desert has to offer.

For more information on upcoming summer art exhibits at APU, view the art show calendar.