25 March - 30 September 2023
In 2006, Maja Lisa Engelhardt began her ambitious opus of paintings that depict each day of creation. Her concept follows the Genesis narrative of God performing distinct acts of creation over six individual days and when it is finished, He declares the seventh day as the Sabbath. Similar in tone to the poetic language of the Genesis passage, her paintings are wrapped in mystery and wonder about the formation of the world thousands of years ago. Instead of painting illustrative pictures of conventional creation symbolism, she remains true to her language of abstract painting which points to the beauty and wonder of the cosmos from our vantage point of time and space. Each canvas is a singular invitation to consider the meaning of life with an open heart and mind.
The paintings in Ex Nihilo: In the Beginning, are shown in chronological order as you move throughout each gallery. Each grouping is devoted to one day of creation and painted within a corresponding time frame. The works are titled according to the day of creation and subsequent paintings groups unfold the full creation narrative. In the entrance of the gallery the viewer is presented with seven lithographs from 2016, that denote all the days of creation. Each image in the Ahmanson collection was carefully considered and thus the exhibition features a selection from her vast oeuvre on the subject.
From "The Day" by curator John Silvis