Date of Award
Thesis - Open Access
Master of Arts (MA)
The concept and creation of the artist chapel is an opportunity presented to only a select few artists. Artist chapels are monumental, permanent works of art that expose a sweeping summary of the artists oeuvre and act as a window into the mind of the artist. The chapels of Ellsworth Kelly, Dan Flavin, and Mark Rothko present a variety of similarities through the mediums of light and color. These characteristics take the artist chapel from a piece of art, to a transcendent
environment that cocoons the viewer in a space of both the seen and unseen. Each of these artists takes the mediums of light and color and utilizes them in a way specific to their practice, cultivated throughout their life. The chapel becomes the pinnacle of their career – a total work of art that plays within the bounds of architecture, space, and nature. The works present a unique take on the ideas surrounding religion and spirituality, for the historical equivalent of today’s
chapels would have been seen only in the context of the Roman Catholic Church, or similar organized religious spaces, of the 14th and 15th centuries. Kelly, Flavin, and Rothko depart from religion, and instead focus on the pure feeling of the space. This distillation takes the chapel from a once religious place to a spiritual place. With this departure, the chapel takes on elements of alternate thoughtforms, such as the fourth dimension. Research for this topic included liberal
amounts of reading and analyzation of key literature on the selected artists, esoteric thoughtforms, alternate and parallel chapels, and the current and historical importance of the Dia Foundation. Additionally, research included conversations with the founder of the Dia Foundation, Heiner Friedrich, and visits to the Dan Flavin Art Institute.
Isler, Katherine, "Monumentality of the Artist Chapel: Dissecting Light, Color, Spirituality, and Permanence" (2023). MA Theses. 136.