Client: Princeton University Chapel
Location: Princeton, NJ, United States
Completion date: 2001
“Infusion” began as a dialogue between the artist, Juanita Yoder, and Penna Rose, director of chapel music at Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey. Rose was looking for paintings to enhance an academic space used for both religious and convocation events and to celebrate the re-dedication of the chapel in 2001. She also wanted a horizontal design to soften the stone and verticals in the gothic architecture. Each of the six 12' x 3' pieces were designed for suspension from the ceiling from a single point to allow for kinetic interaction with the chapel space.
Yoder's design expresses spiritual and intellectual awakening through a progression of images influenced by the existing architecture and environment. The color and image inspiration comes from the brilliant red of Aristotle's robe in the existing chapel stained glass, the legendary Phoenix resurrecting from its own ashes, the liturgical season of Pentecost and the mingling of spirit, intellect and body in a unified awakening. The light of Divine inspiration begins as a small spark and expands into the green of spring and new life in the heart. In the final piece, the colors find integration in an overall composition. The vertical elements in the design connect the color of the clerestory stained glass with the people in the pews. The horizontal progression of the paintings leads the eye to the front stained glass window and the image of Christ. It was essential to all that the modern painting on silk be completely harmonious in the traditional, gothic space.
In the discussions between Juanita Yoder and Penna Rose, Rose revealed that she coaches her students to sing like their lives depend on it, and sing into the stones so their music will reverberate with music sung in the chapel in the future. She said the stone collects the music and releases it again whenever music is played in the chapel. It was important for the artist to spend time in the chapel and experience how people, music and light move through the space. Perhaps the paintings, moving with the air currents, are dancing to the ever-present music in the lovely sacred space of the Princeton University Chapel.
Four processional kites were added to the collection and can be seen on this link to Easter Sunday 2012 in the Princeton University Chapel. The works are hand painted with fiber-reactive dyes that wash out completely and leave no trace of residue. This allows for the free-flowing motion of the silk in the air currents of the chapel.