Saturday, July 31, 2010

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Celina, Ohio

While we continued driving on July 26th from a reunion to Goshen, IN (trying to meet brother Bruce for lunch), our GPS advised us to go through Celina, a small town which had eluded my notice heretofore.  As we were driving through, brother Mark and I spotted an impressive dome, topped by a cross.   Even though my photographer brother refers to the ocean and its shoreline as his cathedral, he kindly agreed to stop briefly at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Celina, Ohio (Mercer County) to let me shoot my kind of cathedral.

It turns out that this beautiful church was completed in 1903.  Like so many of the larger homes and county court houses in that part of Ohio, this structure was made of red brick and was yet another expression of the general Midwest Romanesque Revival architectural at that time.  The church is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The front entrance is flanked by two towers, each capped by a cupola and cross, and the central dome towers over everything else.

Although the exterior of the church obviously has many interesting features, the late-July day was becoming unbearably hot, so we headed inside to enjoy the sanctuary's warm colours and cooler temperatures. To the credit of the parish, their sanctuary was open even though we appeared to be the sole occupants during our brief 10-minute visit.  I was also pleased to see that the lighting at this hour could be and was entirely natural, which is unusual these days.

The exterior of the central dome drew our attention to this church, and the interior of the dome did not disappoint.  It does not have the interior soaring grandeur of Europe's Renaissance domes and cupolas, but the circular stained glass window here offers both light and the encouragement to look upward--one of the important characteristics of any sanctuary's interior.

The pool of holy water at the back of the sanctuary was the largest I recall seeing anywhere, so large that the water needed to be circulated continually.  The light from the stained glass windows reflected beautifully on this body of water.  The care lavished on this church by its small parish demonstrates the dedication of its members in the late 1800s and early 1900s, a time when the Midwest was starting to come of age and money was finally 'at hand'.  It also seems to combine architectural themes from both Europe and the Midwest.

Friday, July 30, 2010

St Charles Senior Living Community's Chapel, Carthagena, Ohio

On July 26th, brother Mark and I were driving to Goshen, IN.  I saw what I suspected might be a monastery, so we stopped.  A very kind Father paused to welcome us.  We were visiting the former St. Charles Seminary in Carthagena, Ohio, operated by The Missionaries of the Precious Blood.  This monastic order was founded in 1815 in Rome, began its missionary work about three decades later in America in 1844 during the great revival, and eventually grew sufficiently to expand their holdings to include these 500 acres in Ohio.  The primary building was constructed by 1922, and incorporated the chapel which was finished earlier, in 1906.  The Brothers closed their seminary in 1969, not long after Vatican II and in 2006 renovated the impressive central building to accommodate senior citizens, primarily those retiring from their missionary work for the order, but also laity as is appropriate.  One senses that the well-tended chapel may well still be as beautiful as when it was first constructed.

We were grateful to be permitted to enter this private chapel and take photographs in the soft natural morning light (I was so pleased that all of the lighting was natural).  The beautiful marble floors, door openings featuring geometric designs, and the central glass doors admitting entry to the chapel all combine to give this place of worship its own special character.

Since Mark decided not to mount his Ohio photos on his From the North Fork blog, I am honoured that he has given me permission to include them in my Korner. 

Monastic farming in action (photo by Mark)

Looking from the front porch which oversees the flat fields of this part of western Ohio.
Built of brick, outlined with stone, one sees so many interesting details.
Side hallway leading to (?) living quarters.

Dal glass (thicker glass blocks, generally not painted)

Dal glass (closeup photo by Mark)
Candle (photo by Mark)
West rose window (photo by Mark)
Facing the back of the chapel and its glass doors at the entry.

 Hallway leading from the chapel to the front entrance of the main building

Saturday, July 10, 2010

More Graffiti in downtown Vancouver

Jesse and I felt it was once again time to return to two favourite alleys in downtown Vancouver to examine graffiti.  The city recently undertook an energetic campaign to eradicate all graffiti in preparation for the Winter Olympics, though I cannot imagine any tourist stumbling upon our hunting grounds.  Now that the city has withdrawn further funding from street artists painting large murals and store owners repainting alley walls, we suspect that these many 'canvases' will soon be attracting the efforts of graffiti artists.

These photos were taken as the early morning summer light was being diffused by the time it reached the ground level of the alleys. 

It is not uncommon to find people making statements by pasting words either torn from publications or their own handwritten or printed statements.  Eventually these sheets slowly dissolve and the colours of paints take over, either from recent application or from beneath the paper.

We were delighted to find a new type of art on one of the walls, a bas relief, or sculpted face emerging from the wall.  I have no idea whether this should be classified as a graffito, but I liked it and hope to see more soon.  It is very expressive, almost a theatrical mask portraying what so many of the other artists attempt to express through colour and words.