Tuesday, January 5, 2010

First Entry!

I've come to love people as the main subject for my art. Drawing or painting a person from life, meaning with my model present with me, engages me and makes me, and my work come alive. A year or so I came across Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body and it became clear to my why God has given me this interest in and talent for representing the human form.

When people ask me what is Theology of the Body (as a result of my obvious passion for it) I tend to be at a loss for words. I haven't yet found the perfect, short description of it but I'll try to explain it briefly. Theology of the Body is JPII's integrated vision of man (male and female) ; body and spirit, man created in the image and likeness of God. The body reveals the spiritual mystery of the person. Because man is made in the image of God, studying man's body is a way to study God. TOB is a presentation of the gospel in it's entirety that is accessible and relevant to the people of today. I'm afraid my explanation needs refining so it's more coherent and accessible to people unfamiliar with TOB. That's why I'm making this blog, to invite others to help me out with such things! If you want to learn more about TOB, Christopher West's website that I linked to is an excellent resource.

So what does TOB have to do with art? For me, everything. As an artist I have this inherent drive to engage the culture. What for? What do I want to communicate with my gift? As a Catholic the answer is Jesus Christ. I want to make art that is redemptive. So what is it that needs redeeming? What is broken about humanity that needs healing? We have lost sight of our dignity as people, made in the image of God. Abuse of our God-given gift of sexuality has done violence to us as individuals and our relationships at the core. We are created for a love relationship with God, the only one who can fulfill us, and many are looking elsewhere for this fulfillment in vain and lead lives of emptiness. How does figurative art play into this? I believe that God has entrusted to me, and other artists of today, the task of reclaiming and communicating through our art the FULL truth of what it means to be human. And the truth will set us free to live as we were made to. The truth, revealed through our bodies, is that we are made for LOVE.

I realize that this initial entry doesn't so much resolve questions as it does raise them. But that's OK, gotta start somewhere!

About the name of the blog: Sacramentality.
Sacramentality means that the visible world communicates God, just as a painting communicates and reveals something about the inner life of the artist. The body of a person, more than anything else in all of creation, is designed to express or make visible the invisable nature of God.

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