Connelly Center displays its artistic side

Gillian Perazzo

The Villanova art gallery, which is tucked between the commuter lounge and candy counter in the Connelly Center, will host the “Disegno – Dio ~ Segno” exhibit of sacred art by acclaimed artist Anthony Visco until Oct. 11. Visco presents a compelling collection of classical liturgical artwork to the Villanova community in mediums such as drawings, statues, marquettes, reliefs and wall hangings.

Visco, critic and chair of the sculpture department at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, unveiled his religious work at the art gallery on Sept. 13.

Since then, the public has been invited to view the numerous works centered around the church. “The function of statuary in the church is to provide an experience of presence, to give a sense of witness and to lead to a state of transcendence,” said Visco in a press release. The exhibit showcases an impressive collection of drawings of religious figures that are often the source for Visco’s three-dimensional work. “As a figurative artist, I use the human body as the most expressive means of demonstrating dynamic spirituality, and poise in both two and three-dimensional terms,” Visco said. “I use my sense of modeling to clarify and invent for that enhances sacred iconography.”

Not only does Villanova host the artist’s drawings, it also houses plaster and wood models for many of Visco’s sculptures and statuaries. Included in the exhibit are models of “The Baptism of Christ,” “The Sermon on the Mount,” and “Christ at Tiberius.”

All three full-sized bronze statuaries were created for and are displayed at the Catherine Pew Memorial Chapel at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church.

Along with the models from the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church are the models for statuaries located at Holy Family College and Philadelphia’s oldest Roman Catholic church, St. Joseph’s National Shrine. Currently, Visco is creating a bronze statue of St. Norbert that will be given to the Norbertine Catholic Community and displayed at Daylesford Abbey in Paoli.

Visco, 54, studied at the University of Arts, formally known as Philadelphia College of Art, and was awarded the Fullbright-Hayes grant to travel and study Old Master drawing techniques and sculpture in Florence, Italy. Visco has also won the Arthur B. Ross award twice for sculpture in an architectural setting and the Elizabeth T. Greenshields grant for figurative sculpture. To accompany his impressive list of awards, Visco is the founder and serves as a director of the Courtyard Studio and Atelier for the Sacred Arts as well as a professional member of the National Sculpture Society and Classical America. He is also a guest critic of the New York Academy of Art. His artwork is available for sale in the gallery.