Theodore Prescott

Biography

Portrait of Theodore Prescott

Theodore Prescott lives near Harrisburg PA. He has a B.A. from Colorado College, and an MFA Rinehart School of Sculpture at MICA. He has exhibited his sculpture in the United States and Europe, completed several public commissions, and has work in public and private collections. His work has twice been awarded prizes for sculpture in the annual “Art of the State” exhibit held at the PA State Museum. Prescott began the art program at Messiah College (now University) in 1980. As it developed, he served as the departmental chair, and held two successive Distinguished Professorships before retiring as an Emeritus Professor in 2008. Prescott was also active in founding and leading CIVA, Christians in the Visual Arts, an international organization of people interested in the intersection of art and faith. He served two terms as its president, and edited its triennial publication for over a decade. 

Prescott has written about art and artists for several art journals, including Image, American Arts Quarterly, and The New Criterion. He has also written catalog essays, edited one book on figurative art, A Broken Beauty, and curated an exhibition of contemporary Jewish and Christian art, Like a Prayer

Prescott’s approach to sculpture is rooted in his interest in the poetic and associative nature of material substances. He is versatile in the use of traditional sculptural materials like wood, stone, and metals, but has also employed unconventional materials like salt, coal, and honey. The sculptural vocabulary of his work is derived from modernist art, but he seeks continuity with the past, and does not see what is new as replacing or negating what has gone before. Prescott’s subject matter and ideas often draw upon the beliefs and ideas found in the Christian tradition.

Detail from a portrait in process by Catherine Prescott


Bibliography

  • Jones, Victoria Emily Art Spotlight, Anglican Church, February 8 , 2018 (scroll to last entry in the link)
  • Herman, Bruce “At Home in Thingness: Gambling on Transcendence”, ArtWay, October 25, 2015.
  • Donohoe, Victoria “Memories are on Display at ‘Art of the State”, Philadelphia Inquirer, July 9, 2010
  • Johnson, Ken, “New Artists Who Are Motivated by Christianity,” New York Times, August 19, 2005 (a review of MOBIA show)
  • Pongrancz, Patricia and Roosa, Wayne, The Next Generation: Contemporary Expressions of Faith, Grand Rapids, MI, William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2005
  • Anderson, Cameron and Bowden, Sandra, Faith and Vision, Baltimore, MD, Square Halo, 2005
  • “The Good, the True, and the Beautiful,” World Magazine, July 7, 2001
  • “Sculptor Reworks Symbols of Religion,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 21, 2000
  • Susquehanna Art Museum, Light and Sound, catalog to accompany exhibition, 1996
  • Edinger, Kristina, “Vatican Selects Professor’s Work,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, September 9, 1995
  • Veith, Gene, State of the Arts, Wheaton, IL, Crossway Books, 1991
  • “The Move of the Decade,” Regardie’s magazine, April 1990
  • “Keepers of the Light,” (about artists use of neon), Apprise magazine, January, 1988
  • “Crucifying Machine,” The Arts Column, Christianity Today, November 5, 1987
  • Ciebiera, Carol, “Art Goes up in Lights,” Lancaster-York Sunday News, March 27, 1983
  • Chaplik, Jon, “Neon Lights Illuminate Lisburn Artists Work,” Harrisburg Evening News, August 12, 1981
  • Proctor, Roy, “Neon Light, Ink Sketches Draw Eye,” Art and Life Column, Richmond News Leader, June 8, 1979
  • White, Pam, “Freedom for Art was Found with Christianity by Couple,” Richmond News Leader, June 8, 1979
  • Danese, Renato, New Sculpture, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, catalog for an exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1970
  • My work is featured in a Canadian film “Neon, An Electric Memoir.” Other artists include Chryssa, Steven Antonakis, Paul Siede, and Michael Hayden. It was nationally aired on PBS in November of 1985, and has been rebroadcast since then.

Selected Exhibits

  • 2020 “Art of the State”, State Museum, Harrisburg, PA (juried group)
  • 2018 “Flesh and Spirit”, Rose Lehrman Gallery, Harrisburg Area Community College, Harrisburg, PA, (one person invitational)
  • 2014 “The Dadian at 25”, Dadian Gallery, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington DC (group invitational)
  • 2014 Winter Group Exhibit, Whitestone Gallery, Philadelphia, PA (group invitational)
  • 2010 “Art of the State”, State Museum, Harrisburgh, PA (juried group)
  • 2009 “Inscape”, Phillips Museum of Art, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA (one person invitational)
  • 2008 “CIVA Florence Portfolio” (Presentation Case) Museum of Biblical Art, New York, NY
  • 2008 “Celebrate DOSHI” Susquehanna Museum of Art, Harrisburg, PA
  • 2007 “Homage to a Mentor” memorial exhibit for Salvatore Scarpitta, MICA, Baltimore, MD (invitational)
  • 2006 “Theodore Prescott: The Reconstituted Cross,” Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC (one person invitational)
  • 2005 “Prescott and Prescott: Image and Substance,” Brauer Museum, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN (invitational)
  • 2005 “The Next Generation,” Museum of Biblical Art, New York City, NY (national juried)
  • 2005“ Artists Talk,” Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, Old Lyme, CT (group invitational)
  • 2004 Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA (invitational)
  • 2004 “Abstraction: The Power of Memory,” (juried group traveling show)
  • 2004 Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester, NY (two person invitational)
  • 2000-2003 Schaeffer Institute, Covenant Theological Seminary (one person invitational)
  • 2000 Evangel University, Springfield, MO (one person invitational)
  • 2000 CIVA Conference, Concordia University-Wisconsin, Mequon, WI (national juried)
  • 2000 Barrows Rotunda Exhibition Space, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH (one person invitational)
  • 1997 “Philadelphia Sculptors” – Washington Square, Washington, DC (juried)
  • 1997 “The Other Side of the River” Penn State, Harrisburg, PA (group invitational)
  • 1997 Art and Religion, Doshi Center for Contemporary Art, Harrisburg, PA (group invitational)
  • 1997 “Nature and Grace” Messiah College, Grantham, PA (one person)
  • 1996 Rinehart 100 – Decker Gallery, Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore, MD (invitational)
  • 1996 Art of the State, William Penn Museum, Harrisburg, PA (juried)
  • 1996 Light and Sound; Art and Technology, Susquehanna Art Museum, Harrisburg, PA (group invitational)
  • 1996 Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL (two person invitational)
  • 1995 “Remanifesting the Sacred.” Bade Museum, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA (national juried)
  • 1994 “Searching for the Hidden.” C.S. Lewis Summer Institute, Cambridge, England (international juried)
  • 1994 Helen Figge Moss Memorial Exhibition, The Stony Brook School, Stony Brook, NY (one person)
  • 1993 CIVA Conference, Messiah College, Grantham, PA (national juried)
  • 1992 Gordon College, Wenham, MA (one person)
  • 1991 Messiah College, Grantham, PA (one person)
  • 1990 Sacred Arts IX, Billy Graham Center Museum, Wheaton, IL (national juried)
  • 1989 Sacred Arts X, Billy Graham Center Museum, Wheaton, IL (national juried)
  • 1988 “Incarnation.” Spoelhof College Center Gallery, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI (two person)
  • 1988 “Christian Imagery in Contemporary Art,” The Rice Gallery of the Albany Institute of History and Art (juried group traveling through 1989)
  • 1987 Group Invitational, Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, Colorado Springs, CO
  • 1987 CIVA Conference, Foundry Gallery, Washington, DC (national juried)
  • 1986 Greenville College, Greenville, IL (one person)
  • 1986 Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA (one person)
  • 1985 Messiah College (one person)
  • 1984 Pennsylvania Artist Educators Show (juried)
  • 1983 CIVA Conference, Calvin College (national juried)
  • 1983 Community Gallery, Lancaster, PA (one person)
  • 1982 Jersey City State College, Jersey City, NJ (one person)
  • 1981 Doshi Center for Contemporary Art, Harrisburg, PA (two persons)
  • 1979 Scott-McKennis Gallery, Richmond, VA (two persons)
  • 1978 Patmos Gallery, Toronto, Canada (two persons)
  • 1978 Finger Lakes Regional, Memorial Gallery, Rochester, NY (juried)
  • 1971 Rinehart School 75th Anniversary Show, Maryland Institute, Baltimore, MD (invitational)
  • 1970 New Sculpture: Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (invitational)

Commissions

  • 2017 Interior sculpture for Penn State’s School of Medicine at The Hershey Medical Center, Hershey PA with James Lard
  • 2015 Exterior sculpture for Biola University
  • 2013 Interior sculpture for High Worship and Performing Arts Center, Messiah College
  • 2010 Two interior pieces for the restaurant and lounge, in the Crowne Plaza Hotel at O’Hare Airport, Chicago, IL
  • 2004 Messiah College, Sawatsky Gift
  • 2000-2002 Public Fountain, New Harmony, IN for Jane Owen and the Blaffer Trust
  • 1998, 1999 Interior and Exterior Sculpture for Coolbaugh Hall, Colorado School of Mines, Golden Colorado in collaboration with Peter Richards
  • 1996, 1997 Columbarium Sculpture, Trinity Lutheran Church, Camp Hill, PA
  • 1994 Memorial Sculpture, United Church of Christ, Walworth, WI
  • 1993 Edition of 15 sculptural boxes for a portfolio of prints
  • 1992 Crucifix, Chapel of the Good Samaritan Lutheran Home, Elsmere, NY
  • 1991, 1992 Sculptural environment for Plaza of Lancaster Mennonite High School, Fine Arts Building, Lancaster, PA
  • 1989, 1990 Interior mixed media sculpture for new headquarters of United States Pharmacopeial Convention, Rockville, MD

Collections

  • Bob and Sandra Bowden, Chatham, MA
  • Edward Knippers, Arlington, VA
  • Dr. Gene B. Chase, Grantham, PA
  • Dr. Karen Mulder, Charlottesville, VA
  • Dr. and Mrs. Wesley Vander Ark, Camp Hill, PA
  • Kieth Strimple, McQueeny, TX
  • Nicholas and Ellen Hughes, Camp Hill, PA
  • Wayne and Valeria Forte, Laguna Niguel, CA
  • Dr. Os Guiness, Arlington, VA
  • Hans and JoAnn van Seventer, Groningen, Netherlands
  • Dr. Jake Thiessen, Camp Hill, PA
  • Dr. Robert B. Ives, Dillsburg, PA
  • Martin and Patricia Murray, Lewisberry, PA
  • Biola University, La Miranda, CA
  • Gordon College, Wenham, MA
  • Evangel University, Springfield, MO
  • Armand Hammer Museum of Art, UCLA
  • Cromer Group, Washington, DC
  • Messiah College, Grantham, PA
  • Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester, NY
  • Pine Street Presbyterian Church, Harrisburg, PA (temporary installation)
  • Mt. Calvary Episcopal Church, Camp Hill, PA (temporary installation)
  • Truro Episcopal Church, Fairfax, VA (temporary installation)
  • Walworth UCC Church, Walworth WI, Cincinnati Museum of Art
  • Vatican Museum of Contemporary Religious Art
  • Rev. Robert Collins, Harrisburg, PA
  • Collegedale Seventh Day Adventist Church, Collegedale, TN

Publications

American Arts Quarterly

  • TRAC: “A Resurgence of Realism?”, Volume 31, #3, Summer 2014, pp 50-55
  • “In Plain Sight: The Art of Lois Dodd”, Volume 28, #4, Fall 2011, pp 42-48
  • “Aesthetic of Doubt,” Volume 27, #3, Summer 2010, pp. 19-26
  • Review essay of “Monuments; America’s History in Art and Memory”, by Judith Dupre, Volume 25, Number 3, Summer 2008, pp. 53-56
  • “Big Aesthetic River,” Volume 24, #4, Fall 2007, pp. 17-23
  • “Big Strokes: The Authentic Picture,” Volume 23: #2, Spring 2006, pp. 33-42
  • “Fairfield Porter, Classic Modernist,” Volume 22: #1, Winter 2005, pp. 23-30
  • “Beauty’s Embrace: Recent Christian Contributions to the Discussion of Her Character,” Vol. 20: #1, Winter 2003, pp. 9-16

Books and Culture

  • “The Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art: A Symposium” (A feature article with four other contributors), May/June 2009, Volume 15, number 3, pp 20-25.
  • “The Critic Looks Inward,” a review of Robert Hughe’s Things I Didn’t Know, April 16, 2007, http://www.christianitytoday.com/books/features/bookwk/070416.html

Christian Scholars Review

  • Review of At Eternity’s Gate by Kathleen Powers Erickson. Volume XXIX: 3, Spring 2000, pp. 631-633.
  • Review of Pledges of Jubilee: Essays on the Arts and Culture in Honor of Calvin G. Seerveld, Volume XXVII:1, Fall 1997, pp. 135-137.

The Cresset: A Review of Literature, Art and Public Affairs

  • “Nature and Nature’s God in Late Twentieth-Century’s American Art,” Vol. LXI, #5, May 1998

Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion

  • “Into the Art World”, Summer 2014, Number 81
  • “Troubling the Lexicon of Art and Faith”, Fall 2012, Number 75
  • “Desire and Longing: Image Artists after Twenty Years,” Winter 2008-2009, Number 60
  • “Spare Holy Places,” Spring 2006, number 49, pp. 17-23.
  • “The End of My Modernism,” Fall 2003, Number 40
  • “Living in the Borderlands,” Spring 2002, Number 34
  • “Tobi Kahn: A Profile,” Winter 2001, Number 33
  • “Stalking the Miraculous in the Wilds of Art,” Winter/Spring 1999, Number 22
  • “Wayne Forte: A Profile,” Spring 1996, Number 13
  • “We See Jesus?” an article on popular images of Jesus, Summer 1995, Number 10
  • “Edward Knippers: A Profile,” Spring 1993, Number 3

Mars Hill Audio

  • Discussion of the return of Beauty in art, September/October 2002
  • Discussion of the work of the painter Thomas Kincade, May/June 2001
  • Discussion of why artists have been attracted to abstraction, March/April 1996
  • Review of 1995 Whitney Biennial, Bruce Nauman retrospective at MOMA, and design exhibit “Mutant Materials,” May/June 1995
  • Discussion of Contemporary Manifestations of Surrealism, July/August 1994
  • Discussion of the British Realist Painter Lucien Freud, January/February 1994
  • Discussion of Nudity in Art and Advertising, November/December 1993
  • Discussion of the English Painter Francis Bacon, May 1992

The New Criterion

  • “An Evening at the University of the Arts” for Notebook Section, February, 1988
  • “Professor Kuspit comes to Rural Pennsylvania” for Notebook Section, June 1987

Curator

  • Like A Prayer: A Jewish and Christian Presence in Contemporary Art.
    Selected multiple works by 28 artists from throughout the United States for an exhibition at the Tryon Center for Visual Art, Charlotte, NC. A catalog accompanied the exhibit.