While wanting to be faithful to the Russian tradition of icon painting, Ludmila Pawlowska seeks a new way of expressing what Matisse (when he discovered icons) termed “luminosity and devotion.” Her own Orthodox faith and cultural heritage (she was born in Kazakhstan and has been influenced by art movements in Sweden, where she lives) shape her exploration. “God is not an idea, and praying is not an exercise to improve our idea of God,” she says. She calls an icon a kind of prayer—“the cultivation of the awareness of God’s actual presence.”
He peoples the darkness with stars: Eyes in all that vastness. He stores sunlight in his tabernacle Meting out each day enough to gladden The trees and moons with their changing Colors. Vestments over land and sea.
Space is a trellis in his garden. He scatters organelles, pods, bulbs, Protozoa, spermatozoa, ovaries All bursting into blossom. Every womb Awaits the coronation of its birth. Stone fruits and star apples.
The universe plays his tune-book. He breathes sacred airs Obbligatos, cantatas, Sephardic chants. The seasons speak through him: The timbrels of spring, the blare of high summer, Fall’s blue cello, winter’s gusty pipe organ. Angel rapture and our plainsong.