As an artist known for making impressively scaled signs and combining hip-hop symbols with references to Christianity — Google him and his brilliant Prayer Booths still come up first — Dylan Mortimer has always made personal art. But his latest exhibition transcends the personal for something revelatory. Cure is his externalized dialogue with God, one in which he attempts to lay out the terms of his genetic lot, his cystic fibrosis.
Speaking to about 15 people at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center on a Monday evening in December — a talk organized by a group called the Artist Collective in Midtown KC, which meets every month to discuss art, faith and life — Mortimer said that with this show, he was expressing “the most personal thing.”
Mortimer’s earlier work explored aspects of his own story, orbiting the outer reaches first. Among the elements factoring into those pieces was the fact of his being a pastor’s son. Mortimer is himself a pastor, and, at the age of 36, says he has reached a point — married, two children — at which he’s comfortable exploring the tension between religion and art. As he told those who’d come to hear him speak, he has accepted that he “can’t escape religion.”
Of course, he doesn’t want to. His Christianity is a central part of his existence. As is CF, a genetic, progressive disease caused by one of more than 1,800 known mutations...
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