Biblical reinterpretations: paintings by Lucia O’Reilly

Lucia O'Reilly, from the series "Sodom and Gomorrah."
Through April 23, Bannister’s Hall Space Gallery will feature work by Lucia O’Reilly, whose series of paintings, Hard Passages, were on exhibit at the Newport Art Museum until March 22.

James Montford, gallery director and curator of the exhibition, said that the work to be displayed at the College represents some of the smaller-scale works in this series.

The following is excerpted from a statement by O’Reilly.

“For the past couple of years, I have been working on “Hard Passages,” a series of paintings on paper built around the “hard passages” of the Bible, which promote or condone cruelty and violence, the subjugation of women, slavery, etc. I grew up an Episcopalian but left the church in the early seventies, after the General Convention had repeatedly voted down the ordination of women....

“The Bible passages are written on the paintings in Greek, which provides two advantages. The first is formal; most viewers will not try to decipher the words, but rather see them as a lacy pattern that adds to the visual layers of the surface. The second is the distancing of literal meaning....

“The paintings begin with holes burned into 400 lb. paper; I am compelled to draw with fire, not just for the velvety charred line it creates, but also because of our innate fascination with this elemental force.... The holes also emphasize the paintings’ relationship to the wall; much of the energy and animation comes from the play of light and shadow behind them....”

Lucia O’Reilly grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and holds a BA in fine art from Brown University. She has also studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and Washington University. She lives in Pawtuxet Village in Warwick.

Gallery hours during exhibits are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursdays, noon to 9 p.m. Closed weekends and holidays. Exhibits and events are free and open to the public. Accessible to persons with disabilities. For information on event dates and exhibit opening receptions, check the website at or call (401) 456-9765.