Maria Fee Lobby Exhibition at Bethany Pres
"So That I May Dwell"

Exhibition Statement

“And have them make a sanctuary, so that I may dwell among them.” Exodus 25:8

The exhibition So That I May Dwell explores the role of place in connection with spiritual formation. Just as YHWH discipleship commenced with the collective construction of a tent of meeting, the canvas draperies that comprise the installation demarcate an area for connection with God and one another. Referencing the Exodus tabernacle, the panels—made of primed artist canvas— also speak of flexibility informed by the nomadic. From Israel’s desert journey to children’s blanket forts to the pup tents of the unhoused to the global refugee crisis, hospitality is a fragile enterprise that broaden models of what constitutes sanctuary. Through spiritual disciplines of care and connection, hospitality shifts the utility of locality—a place needed to sleep and store—into something much more—real places that hold moments of beauty to nurture souls.

Attentiveness is a necessary ingredient of hospitality. It is symbolized by the motif of almond tree branches on four canvas panels that stretch overhead and across the hall, which also refers to the lampstand in the tabernacle. In Hebrew, almond sounds like watchfulness. So That I May Dwell is a call to be vigilant, to create inviting places that become sacred spaces for tenuous times. Made with simple materials, the installation suggests the way humble items can help host divine-human interactions.

Installation Details
  • The canvas canopy suspended from the ceiling is meant to fashion a meeting place and visually points visitors towards the sanctuary. Its pattern indicates the dome of God’s creation and is inspired by shadows cast from the foliage of sycamore and fig trees.
  • The hanging light fixture conveys God’s provision raining down from heaven. The falling shapes could read as manna or Spirit’s tongues of fire.
  • The panels behind the almond branch banners are inspired by nature. The piece with thorns signifies the ark, which is made of wood from the acaia tree. Certain types of acaia trees grow arms with sharp thorns.
About the Artist:  Maria Fee

Maria Eugenia Fee embraces the term mestizaje to reference her bi-culture identity, and interdisciplinary studies in art and religion. Mestizo is visually represented through the mixed media composition of her artwork. The boundary crossing characteristic of mestizo logic offers a more fluid approach to investigate issues of belonging and hospitality amid the alienating realities of contemporary society. Currently, these items are theologically explored through the art of Theaster Gates and other social practice artists. Her roles as curator, program director, professor, and mentor emphasize the social dimension of the artist vocation.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Maria Fee holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Queens College, C.U.N.Y. She earned a Master of Arts in Theological Studies at New Brunswick Theological Seminary. She completed a Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Culture from Fuller Seminary in 2019.

Follow Maria on Instagram: @mariafeeart or visit her website: