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This Road Is the Heart Opening

Among these varied artworks from the MOCRA collection, some invite us to look inward, while others call our attention to the world around us.

A close detail of an artwork with the word "yes" written repeatedly in a long arc intersecting with concentric rings, over a neutral paper background resembling mosaic tiles.

Bernard Maisner, “Yes” (detail), 2000. Oil, ink, mulberry paper, and damar on canvas. MOCRA collection, a gift of Helen Du Bois in honor of Peter Du Bois.

Aug. 24 – Dec. 18, 2022

MOCRA will be closed Wednesday, Nov. 23 – Sunday, Nov. 27, for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Please check the current Saint Louis University COVID-19 guidelines before visiting. Learn more here

Explore the Online Gallery Guide

Works to Unsettle and Comfort, Challenge and Inspire

The COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated harmful systemic inequities and our responsibility to name and respond to them. Simultaneously, we are recognizing the importance of attending to our own well-being in mind, body, and spirit, a holistic vision of human wellness that Ignatian spirituality refers to as “cura personalis.” Examples at Saint Louis University include the annual Occupy SLU observances and robust wellness initiatives for the whole campus community.

This semester, MOCRA features two recent bodies of work that may offer insight into these trends. “Lesley Dill: Dream World of the Forest,” on display Aug. 24 – Oct. 16, features three new collage-paintings that employ Dill’s acclaimed fracturing of poetic language and evocative imagery. The disrupted texts disorient us, but with sustained attention and contemplation, text and image cohere into deeper understandings.

Learn More About “Dream World of the Forest”

“Jordan Eagles: VIRAL\VALUE” will be on display Oct. 26 – Dec. 18. In these works, the 2017 auction sale of a purported Leonardo da Vinci painting prompts a consideration of the value systems of art, religion, and healthcare. Whose lives, experiences, and stories are acknowledged and valued, in what contexts, and by whom? 

Learn More About “VIRAL\VALUE”

The remainder of the work on display is drawn from the MOCRA collection. The title “This Road Is the Heart Opening,” is drawn from a poem by 16th-century Hindu mystic poet Mirabai, translated by Robert Bly.* The metaphor of life as a journey is an ancient one. Amid so much that afflicts and overwhelms us, it is tempting to step away from the path of life and wall ourselves off for self-protection. Echoing themes found in the work of Dill and Eagles, these artworks suggest the value of journeying on, open to others and to the world, and to our deepest selves. Some works join text and image, suggest dreamlike landscapes, and encourage us to take time to savor. Other works acknowledge the reality of suffering, confront distorted and unjust systems, and call us to action.

Artists with work in “This Road Is the Heart Opening” include:

These works may by turns unsettle and comfort, challenge and inspire. We invite you to discover the ones that speak to you at this moment in your journey.

* “Midnight Tears,” in “Mirabai: Versions by Robert Bly.” Penland, NC: Squid, Ink, 1993.