From left to right: ‘The Resurrection”, “Spring” and “Pentecost” banners.
I’ve been painting banners for the church I attend (Trinity Uniting, Launceston) since 1992 and have enjoyed the experience of working on a large scale with acrylics. I held two exhibitions, one in 1996, the other in 1998 of this type of work, but I have been keen to express a religious theme in coloured pencils.
In the past five years I have produced a number of drawings that have linked landscape and religion through symbolism.
I don’t see a lot of religious art in galleries here in Tasmania. There is plenty to be seen in churches though! Politics and religion are not often spoken openly about. We often moan about politicians but rarely does religion get a mention. When it does, it’s God getting the blame for some tragedy. Why is this? If this is acceptable, why not thank Him for all the good luck we have! Most people who blame God don’t believe he exists. How can you blame someone you don’t believe in?
Australia is a very secular society and many gallery patrons do not like being challenged or confronted with such art. As I said the other week in a blog post, art judges and critics do not always come to terms with the ‘simplicity’ of Christian faith expressed in art form. They tend to ‘over-intellectualise’ and forget what the artist is trying to say and what Christianity is all about.
My work uses landscape images as symbols. It’s often a direct commentary about how we treat our surroundings as well as each other and our relationship with God the Father as well as the other ‘Gods’ in society.
Over the next week I shall post examples of my Christian symbolist work with commentaries.
How do you make such drawings ‘acceptable’ and ‘commercially viable’? These have been difficult questions for me to answer. I want people to be challenged by such work, but I would love to sell some as well. Is this wrong? I have sold and won awards with such work from time to time, and that has been encouraging. What I would now love to achieve is receiving constructive criticism from people outside Tasmania. I wonder how they will judge such work?
Tomorrow: Communicating with the Gods