Arts & Entertainment
Holy Angels' Gilreath answers the artist's call
MOUNT AIRY — In a letter to artists in 1999, Pope John Paul II stressed the importance of their creative work. "In order to communicate the message entrusted to her by Christ, the Church needs art. Art must make perceptible, and as far as possible attractive, the world of the spirit, of the invisible, of God."
Exemplifying that spirit is a beautiful painting of the Holy Family that hangs on the rear wall of the Monsignor Duncan Center at Holy Angels in Mount Airy. The artist is Anthony Danna, who completed the work at age 81. He is the uncle of parishioner Betty Gilreath, whose youngest daughter Ashley is following in the footsteps of her creative ancestor.
Ashley Gilreath is a resident artist and instructor at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago and is making quite an impression in the art community. One of her pieces, an intricate portrait necklace, titled "I Am Who They Were," is featured in the October/November issue of American Craft Magazine.
Her work is unique and captivating, combining her passion for metalworking with an avid interest in exploring her family's history. Betty Gilreath fondly describes her daughter as an "old soul" who inherited her grandfather's skill in working with metal as a jeweler and watch repairman. Gilreath expressed her love for her grandfather and honored his trade by crafting a piece that resembles an old-fashioned pocket watch. It won "Best in Show" at her alma mater, East Carolina University, where she graduated magna cum laude.
Her breathtakingly diverse portfolio includes a collection of reliquaries.
"Historically, reliquaries are containers used to preserve the remains of an individual, and often are illustrative in nature," she explains. "With my work I attempt to honor the history of my family. Having thoroughly researched my family's past, I investigated the lost biographies of those who had died long ago. The everyday experiences they shared interested me the most, and how they interacted with the people whose lives intersected their own. My pieces open and close, representing the dynamics of human relationships we experience in life. The found materials I incorporate in each work also play an important role in narrating the stories of the individual."
One of the women immortalized in a reliquary titled "Cloistered" is Gilreath's great-aunt, Sister Maria, a Poor Clare nun who suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Gilreath muses, "She forgot many things, but her faith in God never diminished. As a cloistered nun, she was both literally and figuratively separated from her former life, until the very end."
Gilreath's skill and artistry has preserved her great-aunt's memory, most appropriate during this 800th anniversary of the Poor Clares order. The piece won an honorable mention and is on display at the Knoxville Museum of Art in Tennessee as part of the International Juried Enamelist exhibition.
To see more from Gilreath's portfolio, go to www.AshleyGilreath.com.
— Peggy Bowes, Correspondent
For the love of painting: Lifesize portrait painted of Monsignor MarcaccioGREENSBORO — Last month Monsignor Anthony Marcaccio, pastor of St. Pius X Church in Greensboro, was hung. On a wall. In the church. Last year, St. Pius X parishioners hired up-and-coming British artist Nancy Fletcher to paint a life-size...
Shroud of Turin broadcast set for Holy SaturdayDENVER — Pope Benedict XVI's decision to allow a TV broadcast of the Shroud of Turin on March 30, Holy Saturday, has been lauded by experts for highlighting the link between the shroud and the death and resurrection of Christ. "Pope Benedict...
A Catholic iPhone contract for teensHUNTERSVILLE — For many parents, giving their teenaged son or daughter a smartphone can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, cell phones are a reassuring tool in the event of an emergency. On the other hand, there are the dangers of texting...
'Passages' is a worthwhile journey to experienceCHARLOTTE — A recent advertisement in the Catholic News Herald caught my attention: part of the extensive Bible collection of the Green family (owners of Hobby Lobby) are on tour in Charlotte in an exhibit called "Passages." The display is...
Local Catholic author inspires young readers with stories of faithSAPPHIRE — Author Deanna Klingel has a lot of "loves" in her life; her faith, family, gardening, her glorious dogs and, thankfully for all her readers, she loves telling stories. Her books and short stories cover a wide range of time and...
Belmont pastor posts homilies online, on Twitter to evangelize'The connecting point to get them to the pews' BELMONT — On Sundays the Scriptures are read and a homily follows. Few of us, though, think about where that homily comes from or what it means to the person preaching. For Father Frank Cancro,...
'Bread Upon the Water': A sign of hope, story of faithFather Tien's inspiring journey from Vietnam to the priesthood FRANKLIN — St. Francis of Assisi Church, tucked away in the mountains of North Carolina, is a long way away from Vietnam where its pastor Father Tien Duong is from. This cozy...