Friday, October 22, 2010

Painted Prayers

Painted Prayers

By Tom Wachunas

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. – Ephesians 6:18 –

The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you. – Luke 17: 20b-21 -

Prompted again. This time by all those I know personally, and those I don’t know at all, who are hurting and assailed by wounds seen and unseen, fleeting or chronic, curable or terminal. Diseased in mind, heart, and/or body. Prompted by a litany of longing and supplication, a great crying out for comfort and hope.

Every word and image in the Wednesday, October 20 edition of The Repository floated on a field of pink newsprint in commemoration of Breast Cancer Awareness month. And there on page A7 were two articles about the artists participating in the online art auction ( ) sponsored by The Repository and its sister publication, The Independent. The auction has inspired a genuine and generous response from our artists community, and I’m deeply grateful to be part of it, and for the commitment by Dan Kane and Erin Pustay in organizing it. Additionally, the project was yet another prompting for me to consider human suffering in general. This is certainly not to diminish the specific objective of the ‘Think Pink!’ initiative and the other participating artists, nor to ‘pitch’ my own work (called “Re-Paired”) in the auction per se. But I did see the project as an opportunity – a blessing, actually – to re-examine the process and intent of my own work as a visual artist. More important, I saw the initiative as time to link the making of a work directly to the act of praying, which is a very real event that has become an ever more present accompaniment to my studio activities.

And so it is that while I rarely use this forum to speak of a specific art work of mine (in fact I’ve done so only once, on May 28 of this year), I simply want to share a few thoughts about my contribution to Think Pink, and how it embodies my overall artistic vision of late.

Prior to 2000, the majority of my work as a visual artist took the form of acrylic and oil painting on canvas, as well as mixed-media sculpture that fit loosely into what became known as “Neo-Expressionism.” Over the past ten years, my creative activity has been increasingly reflective of my growing relationship with Christ. The result has been the evolving of a ‘language’ that embraces far more than just painterly concerns.

Recent works continue to be tactile narratives that are for the most part mixed-media painted assemblages. They are evidence (fossils?) of my attempt to engage all my perceptual sensibilities to excavate the merely apparent, and illuminate the fully real life of Christ’s Kingdom NOW, albeit symbolically. Call it an archaeology of the soul. These pieces are Spirit tableaus, constructed with a codified language of the heart, symbolizing hope, faith, discovery, and praise. They are in fact my prayers made tangible.

“Re-Paired” (the image that accompanies this post), while obviously a play on ‘repaired,’ is a prayer for re-connecting, for healing and for binding of wounds both physical and spiritual. It is a call to fix our attentions and affections on Christ and His promise - amid the mortal thorns and fragile pleasures of human life – of “life more abundant” in His Kingdom. Not only in the hereafter but, again, NOW. It is a promise sealed with His blood, and guaranteed by His victory over death. The recurring use of the rose motif in many of my pieces can be seen in several ways. But I like to see them as the simplest of reminders: He…rose. And He has invited us to do the same by clothing our selves with Him, by binding ourselves to Him.

You could call His invitation a divine subpoena of sorts. If that’s the case, consider yourself served.

Photo” “Re- Paired,” courtesy

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