Reading The Seasons Sacred
Under the sections of this very long and involved work, I have offered a few clues for reading and understanding it from my perspective. I hope I have left much unsaid and yet to be discussed.
However, for some audiences, reading subject matter into an abstract composition ruins it. Art critics who only saw Rothko’s compositions as non-representational works frustrated the artist, because for him there was always subject matter. I have heard similar responses to other sacred works that I have painted – “don’t tell me what it means, I just want to see it as an abstract.” I have no problem with that. Indeed, offering too many cues from my personal interpretation diminishes the potential of the art to speak on its own terms to anyone looking at it.
The baptismal waters spill into the greens of a brief Ordinary Time. I chose two miracles that illustrate one of my favorite guiding principles: little becomes much in the hands of the Master. Two fish and a few loaves of bread blessed filled the stomachs of thousands and many baskets with leftovers. Water blessed pours out of earthen vessels as the finest wine at a wedding in Cana. This prefigures the Last Supper, as the poured wine flows into Lent.
True confessions: I have never been a very disciplined person. I have never completed a Lenten discipline, no matter how I have tried. Prior to August 17th, I had completed several sections of The Seasons Sacred, leaving Lent to the end. I needed to think about it. After discussions with my theological advisor, I decided that I would create a square labyrinth, which requires precision….and discipline. The morning of my accident, I was on the floor working out the first steps of drawing a square labyrinth, and then left it to go to work. When I returned home on the 31st, finishing the labyrinth and the forms that would enable me to paint it seemed oh so apropos!
Labyrinths interest me because they are not tricky, like mazes. They always lead to the heart of a matter, and then lead back out to the starting place. Is this undisciplined mind ever walking just one labyrinth at a time? Is Lent ever only 40 days a year? The liturgical color of Lent is purple, but so many colors asked to join the journey.