In my work I turn repeatedly to issues of mortality, sacrifice, redemption and self knowledge (gnosis).
It probably isn’t much of a surprise that Good Friday is my favorite day of the Church calendar ; I have strayed (or She has) from the traditions of my youth, but the Passion reading never fails to move me deeply. My belief in a god, or not, is wavering but the narrative of this day, of this man during his final hours has influenced my work profoundly. Whether he was divine or not, an issue that caused great discord between the Church Fathers and the “heretical ” gnostics is of little concern to me. In fact, appealing to my humanist inclinations, it is the mortal man, willingly offering up such a terrible gift that astounds me. I have countless images of the Ecce Homo, the Crucifixion, the Deposition, religious postcards, 19th c. chromolithographs, icons, statuary, every museum visit I head straight to the medieval wing, I never tire of the depictions of this suffering wretch. My heart bleeds for him each time ,the pathos so intense. His mother, she too breaks my heart, to have such a selfless ally is incomprehensible . These archetypes will continue to fuel my work, as they are now befriended by their “pagan” siblings, the Maize God most notably.
The following is just a sampling of my online “scrapbook” devoted to Christ and the BVM.
the Black Christ above is from our trip to Mexico City @ the Cathedral
Apparently I am not the only on to see the eroticism in the crucifixion; sadly I do not know whose work this is. I stumbled upon it unidentified-any info very welcome.
Every day is Good Friday in my studio, aside from the numerous depictions mentioned above, my studio is dominated by a large oil on tin painting depicting Christ accepting the Cross (one of the stations, I cannot remember which one). I purchased this back east, in snooty and very protestant Bucks County. When I spotted it in a dusty barn owned by a particularly arrogant designer/antiques peddler I asked after it. He laughed in my face, such an absurd request , who would want such a monstrosity. With withering condescension he offered it to me for five bucks. My heart was racing with joy-to hell with his arrogance, this was a treasure!
It has been with me for over 25 years , I love it more every day. I rely upon it for facial expressions, painting technique, coloring, companionship during adversity, it has in so many ways been a mentor.