"I am not strictly a realist,” says Los Angeles artist Madeleine Avirov. “Where traditional oil painting is mostly about exteriors, speaking to us by way of what it refers to rather than by the way in which it envisages, I have, since childhood, been driven by a faith in the mysterious forces that allow me to enter my subjects. To be present, in other words, to other modes of being. The goal is not only to show ‘things,’ but also the soul of the thing, whatever it is in the middle ground that makes us go toward this thing and not that. Some of the works read like hallucinations—real and unreal together, some elements way out of normal scale.”
Vermont artist Jerry Geier’s sculptures often feature commonplace moments and ordinary people. Even the material he uses—terra-cotta—reflects the most common of elements, earth. In this representation of the Last Supper, in which Jesus’ back is to the viewer, Geier captures a moment of companionable humor. Trust and appreciation are on the faces of the disciples. But clearly something else is also going on. Arms stretched as though in embrace and blessing, Jesus is the one who faces the window, the curtains blowing. “The window shows a breeze, which I see as a symbolic breath of fresh air, new life, perhaps the Holy Spirit flowing in,” Geier writes. “It all takes place in a modest little house of some kind, with wooden floors and simple walls.”
While many artists seek to convey a sense of the layers of suffering and anguish in the Passion of Christ, few consider what the medium itself conveys. This life-sized sculpture appears weightless, and it radiates light and lightness. “In the context of my artworks,” Scala writes, “the use of partially transparent wire fabrics allows the examination of the underlying structure of the subject. By shaping Christ’s image into a hollow form and introducing gold to the surface, the sculpture takes on a transparent and yet reflective character.”
Artist-musician Chris Taylor writes that he was driving home one day, with his thoughts spiraling “into stress and sadness.” A truck pulled in front of him with the message “Jesus loves you” written on it. At first he thought, “What a cruel cosmic joke.” His next thought was to pray the Lord’s Prayer. “So I prayed the whole thing, top to bottom. Forgot I even know it . . . how simple and all encompassing it is.” He then produced the prayer in visual form.