Saturday, November 9, 2013

“a fine title, ‘Enlaced: a Burning Bush, Psalm 19’” —a quote from Calvin Seerveld at the Dordt College sculpture dedication

This past Monday afternoon, 4 November, the dedication of the Dordt College sculpture “Enlaced” took place with 25–30 people in attendance. The piece was recently installed west of Covenant Hall. The sculpture’s designer, Dordt College Art Professor David Versluis says, “The design is guided by a sense of an intertwining of a Christian perspective that’s found within Dordt College’s academic community.”

The dedication ceremony featured an introduction by Dordt President, Dr. Erik Hoekstra, acknowledgements by Versluis, remarks by Dr. Calvin Seerveld, and a prayer by College Chaplain, Rev. Aaron Baart. The photograph above and the one below shows Seerveld, who looks and sounds rather like a Rabbi, speaking at the dedication.

Seerveld was on campus that day as a First Mondays speaker (Dordt’s monthly speaker series). Regarding Seerveld, a Dordt news release states, “A prolific writer, speaker, and educator, Dr. Calvin Seerveld has dedicated his life to the study of aesthetics, redemptive art, and biblical wisdom.” Versluis says that the sculpture was inspired by Seerveld’s book Rainbows for the Fallen World where he characterizes Psalm 19 as all things are like “a burning bush of the Lord God.”

Here are Seerveld’s gracious remarks—taken from his notes:

Congratulations to artist Professor Versluis, to all who paid for Enlaced, and to Dordt College for promoting and receiving this artwork. It has a fine title: Enlaced: a Burning Bush, Psalm 19. 
This exceptionally good artwork, to my eye, is not strictly representational, but also not an “abstracted,” esoteric construction. 
It could be called a metaphor in COR-TEN steel. It sparks multiple suggestions:
Sure, the flames of a burning bush confronting Moses; the 7 (holy number) upright forms woven together suggest variety in unity…. Could there also be fingers of an unusual hand? 
This is not a monument, however—not pompous nor heavy set. There is upward movement; it appears almost airborne. Perhaps there is a letter design character behind it, telling you something, yet enigmatic…. It seems friendly to me, people-aware, safe, inviting, beckoning, sited for passers-by. 
Keeping in character with Professor Versluis and his modesty, quietly Christian…, redeeming [the want for] more attention—showing love for one’s neighbor, helping you to remember that your fellow student, prof, staff person cutting grass and cafeteria server, like Psalm 19 world-at-large are burning bushes! 
This is a very fine, larger-than-life, highly imaginative artwork. A surprise from such a quiet artist… that should remind generations to come: here at Dordt College, neighbors (Matthew 25), like trees and stones, are burning bushes—creatures of God’s grace for us to respond to with respect and love. We should thank God for the imaginative work/dedication that is present before us. (1)
  1. Seerveld, Calvin G. “‘Enlaced’ Sculpture Dedication.” Dordt College. Sioux Center, IA. 4 Nov. 2013. Address. 

Dordt College President, Dr. Erik Hoekstra giving introductory remarks at the dedication.

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