Ye shall be fishers of POWER

I've been considering several deep-winter painting projects recently; something to keep the digits warm through repetitious that's burst to the forefront is a piece which rethinks that ubiquitous, usually annoying, often meaningless, and by now hopelessly cliched symbol - especially as seen on cars: the ichthus, or the traditional symbol of Christ. It was used in the early centuries of Christian life as a surreptitious mark, to let others know of your loyalties; so as not to give yourself away to those who were unaccquainted with the symbol. Or so legend has it.

Recently, as mentioned on this blog before, I read a history of Art of the Early Church. It set into motion thoughts about what Christian art was, and is, in contemporary terms. (What initially made me pull the book off the shelf in the first place, was a lecture on Christian art, at DIAlogue...see ) Is it art made by people who call themselves Christian? What if their loyalties are suspect; does that make the art less Christian? Is it still Christian art if it espouses all the paraphrenalia and accouterments of Christian "life and witness," but the artist is not a professed Christian? What happens when someone who calls themselves a Christian, and displays the "fruit" of that life, makes art that is offensive, inflammatory or even seemingly "anti-Christ"?

These questions are not new; in fact they have been under the current for a long, long time; occasionally rising to the more publicized surface, in waters fomented by the likes of Andres Serrano and Chris Ofili. (Both, incidentally, supposed to be more-or-less conncected to Roman Catholicism). Interestingly enough, art work by artists such as the more infamous examples above, is often thrust into the limelight (at least ostensibly) by offended officialdom...e.g., politician cum "cultural critic" Jesse Helms, or New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. And much of this has to do with money, or MAMMON as those biblical insiders like myself like to cryptically designate it. Misused funds; scandalized public, liberalized power/aesthetic structures; crumbling family values, etcetera, ad nauseum.

Which brings me to my new idea for a large painting...I'm not going to give much away; you'll have to make a studio visit in a few weeks for more evidence. But it's somewhere in that trifold connection between the controllers of POWER and MONEY, the purveyors of CHRISTENDOM and RELIGION, and the creators of ART and CULTURE. Of course, the connections between all of these are positively legion. (Another biblical reference, I'm sorry if I'm alienating anyone with my "meta-language.") Suffice it to say, it will feature the ichthus, in what some might consider a, shall we say, "bombastic" manner.

Peace, my friends.

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