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 Sister Mary Fleurette Blameuser  (20th Century)

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Lived/Active: Kansas/Illinois      Known for: painting, mosaics, teaching

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Sr. Fleurette taught at Kapaun Mt. Carmel Catholic High School in Wichita, Kansas and created a large mosaic mural for the school, titled Our Lady of Kansas.  In her description of the mural, Sister Fleurette writes:

"The subject of my mosaic is OUR LADY OF KANSAS.  It is a poetic and somewhat mystical interpretation of the Kansas scene.  In keeping with the dignity and permanence of the building, I have been conservatively contemporary.  Because of the nature of a mural, I have eliminated the illusion of distance or depth resulting from the use of natural perspective, in favor of spatial control through surface tension, which is characteristic of modern design.  This was attained by using elevation drawings, abstract areas, and black outlines, where indicated, to separate concrete symbolic forms or images used in the foreground from the rhythmic interlocking and overlapping planes which serve as a psychological divider between the mundane and the celestial.

Dominating the panel and providing a strong vertical for this otherwise horizontal composition is our Lady encompassed in a parabolic mandorla of light.  Her halo is surrounded by 12 stars and at her feet we see the moon.  She is part of and yet surmounts the scene.  Her billowing veils are symbolic of the south winds. (Kansas means South Wind People).  The Christ-Child is opening His arms in a gesture of welcome to those who enter the building.  The cross in His halo indicates that He is our Redeemer.  Since Kansas is noted for its colorful sunsets and clear starry nights, I have combined the two ideas in the background area of astral bodies.  "Ad Astra per Aspera" – "To the Stars Through Difficulties" is the Kansas state motto.  In the sky we also see airplanes, characteristic of Wichita.  To the right there are meadowlarks. Six large stalks of wheat, candelabra-like, form a guard of honor in attendance on our Lady.  Continuing from the lower left are symbols of industry, grain elevators, a sheaf of wheat, sunflowers, a steer head and oil wells.  The abstract areas backing the steer and wheat sheaf symbolize the green fields of Kansas."

Sources:
www.kapaun.org
Mary Cile Bradley

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