North Huntingdon artist will bring apocalyptic visions to Murrysville
The four horsemen of the apocalypse will be attending today's East Suburban Artists League meeting in Murrysville.
Luckily for league members, they will only be acrylic on canvas.
Featured artist Pat Marvenko Smith of North Huntingdon will discuss Revelation Productions , the company she and her husband Joel formed in the early 1980s that specializes in visual representations of the Bible's Book of Revelation.
Revelation is an apocalyptic text written by John, a Christian leader of Jewish origin who was in exile on the Roman prison island of Patmos.
Full of extravagant imagery and visions of the end of the world, Revelation provides an endless array of visually-rich ideas to explore, from angels and prophets to the beast with seven heads and ten horns.
Smith discovered its visual possibilities while teaching a Sunday school class.
“It was mainly juniors and seniors in high school, and they wanted to study Revelation,” Smith said. “I began to realize how visual it was as I went through. I found out that there were really no visual representations anywhere, and I couldn't believe it.”
Having worked as a commercial and production artist after graduating from Elizabeth Forward High School and taking fine art classes at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (Carnegie Mellon today), Smith began creating visual aids for her Sunday school class.
Her work was eventually featured in the Pittsburgh Press, where it caught the attention of a Canadian television producer.
“He asked me to be on this program he hosted, and after showing my artwork, I got just hundreds of requests from people for these visuals,” Smith said. “I realized it was something that was needed.”
Today, Revelation Productions encompasses Smith's paintings, a book, DVD and more.
Her works have been licensed by ministries all over the world as well as ABC News Production and The History Channel.
At the ESAL meeting, she will screen a copy of a DVD based on the slide-show presentation Smith created years ago. She will conduct a question-and-answer session and will also have books and other materials available to purchase.
She said the biggest challenge in creating the 40 pieces illustrating Revelation was working out how to portray certain things.
“A lot of it is symbolic and there are different interpretations of what those symbols mean,” Smith said. “But with the paintings, what you read is what you get. And because of that, it doesn't really take any particular viewpoint as far as the meaning of the text.”
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.