Artists interpret ‘Telling God Stories’ theme

By Episcopal Journal

Artists from across the country participated in the yet-to-be released online exhibition “Telling God Stories in the 21st Century” organized by Episcopal Church & Visual Arts. Episcopal Journal invited several artists to present their work, accompanied by excerpts from the statements that each wrote for the exhibition.

“Visitors to the online show will experience art that is thoughtful, reflective, scriptural and challenging,” said ECVA President Mel Ahborn. “This exhibition will have the widest variety of media ever presented in an ECVA exhibition.”

The art forms include enamel arts, stop-action photography, assemblage arts, watercolor, acrylic, oil, fine-art photography, fabric arts and quilting, pottery and the ceramic arts, mixed-media arts, representational paintings and abstract works, collective works, works inspired by the Gospels, the Psalms and Taizé, spiritual autobiographies and classical illustrations, she said.

When assembled, the exhibition will be housed at

Kathy Thaden, Golden, Colo.

“Living Water”, Multi-media (ammonite fossil, abalone, raku, river stones, beach glass, stained glass, paper, ceramic and mortar)

I was inspired by the Standing Rock Sioux and the issues of water quality and sacred lands. The Dakota Access pipeline would cross treaty lands, disturb sacred areas and threaten drinking water for 8,000 Sioux who live on the tribe’s nearly 2.3 million-acre reservation, just south of where the pipeline would cross under the Missouri River at Lake Oahe. As with so many of our natural resources, once they are lost they are gone forever.

Steven Schroeder, Chicago

“The Absolute Absence of God”, Acrylic on canvas

Under the influence of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and F.D. Maurice, I began to contemplate the Incarnation as God’s disappearance into humanity. Bonhoeffer’s early scholarly writing (and the poetry he wrote at the end of his life) and Tom Sheehan’s “The First Coming” led me to connect that contemplation with Martin Luther’s theology of the cross and the Heideggerian idea of the absolute absence of God. As a poet and as a painter, I have explored that connection in relation to silence and emptiness, often in terms of what light does on edge. This painting, one of three recently completed for a “light and shadow” exhibit in the path of totality during the August 2017 total eclipse of the sun, returns to the theme.

Mary Jane Oliver Hubbard, Amherst, Va.

“Azariah’s Cloak”, Pen and ink, with colored pencil

This is my response to the story so many of us grew up with about Daniel’s friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, sentenced to death in Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace, saved from this terrible death by God’s angel. I chose to discard the Babylonian name given by Nebuchadnezzar in favor of Azariah’s Hebrew name, as it is more beautiful to my ear. The image of the cool interior of the “furnace,” with the gentle lines of billowy garments (cloaks) and the feathered wings of the protecting angel offer peace and contrast to the hot, tumultuous, threatening forms of the outer edges of the drawing. My art — paintings and drawings — are often about individuals and events in the Bible, and the “cloak drawings” represent garments “woven” with symbols of the culture and the events of that person’s life.  The person, however, is never presented.

The Rev. Canon Frank Logue,
Savannah, Ga.

“The Black Christ”, Graffiti

I created this icon-style graffiti inspired by Kelly Brown Douglas’ book “The Black Christ.” I live both in a neighborhood and city among a majority of African-Americans, yet around me are images of Jesus that reflect Northern Europe. I painted this image on a building slated for demolition. The owner asked police not to enforce laws against vandalism, permitting me to make a public installation of the design that offers a different image of Jesus.

Lucy Janjigian, New York

“Shadow and the Substance”, Acrylic

Abraham laid wood for sacrifice on his son Isaac’s back. God provided the ram. Jesus carried the wooden cross on his back. He is our sacrificial lamb. I was studying this story in Bible Study Fellowship and immediately thought this would make a wonderful painting. For five years I kept thinking about it until one day: “Eureka, I said, “I got it.” Immediately I got the canvas, started putting the figures in place and began painting. Finished it in one day, the fastest painting I have ever done, because I had been painting it in my mind for five years.

The Rev. Mark Bozzuti-Jones, New York

Stranger (Fruit) Still, Collage

Until we see Jesus in the peoples we keep crucifying, or those dying before their time, we do not see God, and the fruit is stranger still.