Holy Week Art Experience at AGTS
Each year, during the week before Easter, AGTS holds a series of special chapel services. This year's services each included an art presentation by Kathy Self, a professional artist. View more of her work at www.colorbrush.com. You can follow Kathy's presentations below.
Monday March 29, 2010, Passion Week Chapel Service #1
Today we are remembering the Words of Jesus on the Cross. The first piece of art I would like to share with is entitled “Lama: Aramaic for ‘Why.’” Jesus’ great cry of "why" reverberates through space and time, and His Word embraces all the times I have cried out “why?” God the Father offers no reply to Jesus’ cry; do we ever learn why things happen? This is a mystery, and a mystery opens a door to deeper intimacy with our Lord. The Jesus who cried “why” is the same Jesus who is the answer to that cry.
I contrast Jesus’ cry with a lament over the six million Jews who were murdered in the 20th Century. I cannot answer why the Holocaust happened; I can only say that Jesus’ cry covers all.
The blood of Abel cries out from the earth;
How much more do the Heavens echo with the murmuring of ashes?
Each grey flake silently floating across eternity
Six million moans rippling through a sea of time.
Mankind, so clever at naming,
Has a wordless void inside
When he witnesses the knowledge of evil.
My body is ashes
My hands flames, reaching up to the Lord.
The barracks look like tiny loaves of bread,
Little Bethlehems where my people were broken and burned.
Jacob’s ladder has fallen, curving on the ground like a serpent
Bringing us in its coils to these houses of death.
When the ladder tries to rise,
It becomes twisted, bent into sparks of pain
That tear our flesh.
Where are the wells dug by our Father Isaac?
The only water here is the burning tears of my people.
We have become the death that passes over
The murmuring of ashes on the wind.
May these artworks help us understand the breadth and depth of Jesus’ cry.
Tuesday March 30, 2010, Passion Week Chapel Service #2
This painting is called “Wounded.” I wanted to focus on the wound in Jesus’ side, and the marks left from the crown of thorns. One paradox of the Cross is that God took the One Perfect Man and cut into Him with nails, thorns and a Roman spear. Most paintings of Jesus’ wounded side show the wound on Jesus’ right side, and the wound itself is rather delicate looking. However, most Roman soldiers were right-handed, thereby indicating that this wound would be on Jesus’ left side. And Roman spears were designed to kill, not to gently cut a surface; it was a spear, not a scalpel that cut into Jesus’ side. Jesus Himself said to Thomas, put your hand into my side; that’s why I cut the canvas to indicate the severity of Jesus’ wounding. His wounds unveiled are the covering of my sins, my sorrows, my own wounds.
This next piece, called “Prayer Shawl” speaks of the many prayers wept and sung over the lives lost in the Holocaust. How much more do Jesus’ wounds and stripes cover all loss, all brokenness, all woundings, all wanderings.
Wednesday March 31, 2010, Passion Week Chapel Service #3
Today I share with you two paintings: the first is entitled “Man as a Tangent on the Eternal.” This painting was inspired by the writings of Rabbi Abraham Heschel. Here we see the Cross, God’s embrace of humanity, and a sphere which represents the infinite, eternal essence of God. The line of prism colors is a visual metaphor of our soul; it only takes one touch, one point of contact with the sphere of God’s divine Being to completely illuminate our soul. This one point is our tipping point into God’s presence and blessing.
The next painting, “Pathway of Hope,’ demonstrates God’s presence lighting the way before us. The past is reminiscent of the distance the two women walked to Jesus’ tomb on Easter morning. No matter what path we’re on when it is illuminated by the Light of the Lord, it will always lead to an empty tomb.
Thursday April 1, 2010, Passion Week Chapel Service #4
This painting is called “Streams of Mercy.” One day I was listening to a contemporary Christian vocalist, Sarah Groves, and she was singing a beautiful version of “Come Thou Fount.” As she sang the words “Streams of mercy never ceasing” I saw this picture in my mind; the wounds of Christ flowing with living water that refreshes my soul.
The second painting is called “Stairwell to the Soul.” Here I painted a visual interpretation of our soul. I used squares to suggest a mosaic, as an echo of the mosaic art created by early Christians many centuries ago. The squares are also a metaphor of the inner integration of our souls; Jesus finds and rescues all the random bits and pieces of my life, and creates wholeness, a holy place within.
Thank you so much for welcoming these visual expressions as part of our worship this week.
About The Artist
Art and painting have always been a main part and expression of my life. I am grateful for my family that has always encouraged my painting.
As an adult I have lived in Europe, the East Coast, the West Coast, and the Midwest. In all these places I have learned to see and create the beauty that surrounds me.
I am blessed to be able to paint, and I have enjoyed sharing art with others as an art docent for the Union School District in San Jose California, and as a private art teacher for students of many ages.
Another source of inspiration has been the gathering of fellow artists, especially the Art of the Covenant group in Menlo Park, California, and CIVA, a nation wide association of faith-based artists.
My art has been shown in juried shows in Los Gatos, CA, Saratoga, CA, and Grantham, Pennsylvania. I have also had private shows at Western Seminary, and Bethany University. I have created community murals for faith-based groups and for local television.
View more of Kathy's work at www.colorbrush.com
Wednesday, May 5, 2010 5:48 PM