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


About artkleko

artist, art curator, art teacher, art judge, art critic
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6 Responses to RELIGION & ART

  1. Lorraine McNeair says:

    Hi Richard. How much do you charge for workshops? Love the abstracts.

    • artkleko says:

      It depends Lorraine on group numbers, time and the type of workshop you want. I do however, supply support materials for free.

  2. Edna Broad says:

    Hi Richard – I like the simplicity of your religious art work because the symbols are universal to spirituality. I also like the joyfulness of the images which comes from the design and the vibrant colours you use. I can remember quite a few of your earlier works using religious symbols.

    I’m not very religious in an organised church sense but I have a strong sense of the spiritual and I can respond to your work on that level.

    A few years ago I became very interested in the early Christian gospels (as in the Book of Kells with its early Celtic imagery incorporated in the illustrations), particularly the ‘Eagle of St. John’. I made quite a few drawings, paintings and textile hanging pieces, probably back in about 1994-5. At that time too I was looking back at the origins of Anglo christianity to see where the early symbols came from.

    • artkleko says:

      Thanks Edna for your kind remarks and for sharing about your own spiritual work. Symbols are indeed powerful and thought-provoking. Simplicity has much to offer!

  3. WOW, those acrylic banners are really beautiful!

    I was looking at some of the religious drawings you have on your website and I thought they were also really beautiful.
    The one that stuck to me the most was the one of the rocks, that some of them looked like the Commandment tablets, so you put on some of them the roman numbers, to represent the Commandments.
    I thought it was beautiful, not only because of the rocks and because your pieces of rocks have such a peculiar look to them (they’re cartoonish, but VERY real looking at the same time), but because I felt like it combined nature with religion.
    That may seem redundant, because it’s pretty obvious in the piece, but I just feel that spiritual things and God are so OBVIOUS and PRESENT in nature, it’s nice to see that sensation in a work of art.

    • artkleko says:

      Thank you Gabriela for your comments. There is certainly a lot of evidence in Nature that suggests a creator has been at work (and still is). I shall post some more examples of my banners in due course.

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