The Letter and the Spirit, by David Wojkowicz

October 27, 2021
(Used by permission of the artist)

Czech printmaker David Wojkowicz challenges our traditional ways of visualizing biblical narrative. A theologian and an amateur photographer, he developed a graphic vector software program to create what he calls “abstract Bible illustrations,” combining as many as seven overlapping and offset images in handcrafted digital prints. Wojkowicz’s nonfigurative art pieces are inspired by Bible texts, both well known and obscure. By linking word to image, he encourages viewers to tease out their own meanings in the interplay of simple geometric forms and patterns.

The Letter and the Spirit, based on 2 Corinthians 3:6b (“The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life”), lends itself easily to imaginative interpretation. The letter of the law is suggested by a uniform brown square, intersected by cruciform perpendicular lines. The Spirit is represented by a vaguely outlined, curvilinear shape, which penetrates and perhaps rotates the solid mass, bringing to mind germinating seeds, neural synapses, or swarming aquatic life caught in freeze-frame. One image is inorganic; the other pulses with life.

Wojkowicz welcomes multiple readings of his visionary prints. He says he believes that “a true work of art is one where the viewer understands the image better than its author.”