For the first time in 45 years, a private collection will be available to the public, and Gannon’s Schuster Art Gallery will be opening its doors for it.
“Art of the Spirit” showcases the work of Eugene N. Rutkowski, a liturgical artist from Pittsburgh who did his work in the 1960s.
Rutkowski, once a student at Carnegie Mellon University for art and design, held a short career of commissioning art projects for churches and universities throughout the Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia areas.
Rutkowski would seek out churches on the verge of renovation and show them his slides of work.
While most churches searched through catalogs for art pieces to be displayed in their new buildings, Rutkowski gave them original work that stood out.
Rutkowski’s artwork portrayed many of his own views on religion, as well as traces of societal changes that were quite controversial upon their creation 50 years ago.
His work was seen as a more abstract view of God in comparison to traditional renaissance pieces.
His work was made from aluminum, bronze, steel, clay, stained glass and wood, all testing the scriptural message but displaying the same biblical messages of hope, love and faith.
Rutkowski’s career was short, tragically ending at the age of 37.
He was a devoted family man to his wife, Barbara, and five children, Leon, Lori, Dina, Michael and Matthew.
His eldest daughter, Lori, followed in his footsteps and pursued art as a career. She is currently the director of Gannon’s Schuster Arts Gallery and Programs.
The exhibit will be open through April 10.
An open house reception is scheduled from 7-9 p.m on Friday, March 9.
More than 16 featured pieces of art are on display including: the “Last Supper,” “Pieta,” “Three Kings,” “Cain and Abel,” the “Prodigal Son” and “Mother and Child.”