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Specimens and Reflections opens at Schnormeier Gallery in January

MOUNT VERNON — Specimens and Reflections - Claudia Esslinger & Royal Rhodes. This exhibit will be on display in the gallery from 1 p.m., Jan. 6 to Feb. 18, 2022. A gallery talk will be given at the Schnormeier Gallery on Friday Jan. 21, at 5 p.m., with a reception to follow from 6-8 p.m.

Specimens and Reflections began when Claudia Esslinger experienced an extended stay in Italy. Her awe at the vaulted spaces, opulent materials and exquisite detail of churches mingled with questions of justice and faith. The result is a series of curling and twisting panoramas that mimic natural history specimens. Sharing these images with Royal Rhodes led to the poetic reflections mounted near each image. Printed on large scale adhesive paper, the panoramas seem like frescos embedded in the gallery walls. The panoramas find further expression in smaller, morphed composites framed and hung in the smaller gallery.

Claudia Esslinger is a visual artist working experimentally with digital media, both still and time-based as well as sculptural installations and prints. She often collaborates with writers, musicians, dancers, scientists to develop her projects for gallery exhibition, screenings and publication. Esslinger has been the recipient of seven Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Excellence awards and a New Forms Regional Grant (NEA). She has been an artist-in-residence at the Omora Ethnobotanical Preserve near Cape Horn in Chile, Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, CA, Singing Pictures workshop in Seoul, South Korea and the Grafikwerkstaadt in Dresden, Germany. Originally from Long Island, N.Y., she holds an MFA from the University of Minnesota and a BA from Bethel College in St. Paul.

Royal W. Rhodes joined the Kenyon College Department of Religious Studies in 1979 and focused primarily on the history of Christianity. Trained as a Classicist, he has traveled extensively to ancient Roman and Hellenic sites in Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Greece, Crete, and Israel. His collaboration with Esslinger on panoramas of churches in Italy and Sicily was based on his research in Church History. That was also seen in a special course he offered at Kenyon, “Millennial Centers of Christianity: Rome, Athens, and Jerusalem.” Born in Boston, Rhodes has always had a fascination with the art and architecture of holy sites, as well as the literary connections found in the variety of religious experiences.

The Schnormeier Gallery is located at 221 S. Main St., Mount Vernon, on the first floor of MVNU’s Buchwald Center. It is open Monday through Friday, from 1-5 p.m. For more information, contact the Schnormeier gallery at

Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, four-year, intentionally Christian teaching university for traditional age students, graduate students, and working adults. With a 327-acre main campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education both in-seat and online to more than 2,100 students from 42 states and nine foreign countries.