Hip-hop meets heaven at Dylan Mortimer’s ‘Marquee Theology’ exhibit

Art and faith: Dylan Mortimer raises questions about religion and marketing in Marquee Theology at Trifecta.

Artist Dylan Mortimer wants to get his message out about God and faith and how it fits in with contemporary society, in which the secular is celebrated and the sacred hidden and ridiculed. Using the vernacular and symbolism of hip-hop, he’s created gold jewelry that reads “Amen bitch” and “God hooks my ass up,” and has transformed a telephone booth into a prayer booth. But to Mortimer, an evangelical pastor, it’s never just about selling God. Nor is the humor an attempt to mock faith. Instead he’s asking viewers to consider the comfort zone of their personal faith in public and to look at the marketing of ideas. It’s also a reflection of his personal history and experience—and him wondering what the 23rd Psalm would sound like at a bus stop.

Marquee Theology, opening May 1 at Trifecta Gallery, features Mortimer’s lighted signs, the “Public Prayer Booth” and robes (priest and choir) made out of the bright orange material and reflective tape worn by utility workers, including those guiding drivers to safety. Additionally there are the stained glass works of The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur behind bulletproof glass, playing off the idea that rap artists boast invincibility in music.

Marquee Theology Through May 23, Monday-Wednesday & Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Trifecta Gallery, 366-7001. Artist reception May 1, 6-8 p.m.

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