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New Media: Leather, Digital, Painting, Reproduction Prints, Leather Carving on Canvas, Other, Paper, Wood.
Honor is hard to find
In a culture that sees through the eyes of lust
What is political correctness
Primal hunger born so blind
To be naked or not
In private or public
Ignorance in mankind
We search and seek
A missing link
For those who care
Cries out loud
If you want
I may be found
Inspired by Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel art in Italy and the Bible story of Jesus Christ’s life journey this leather carving became my storyboard. I started the original project (leather mounted on hardboard and shaped) around 1982. The leather was stored and untouched for 32 years where spiders and dust mites considered it a safe place.
Over 30 years in the making, the 2008 vision was rekindled and tooled in 2014. My observations of this story were changing and I became humbled to see that without a belief we have no anchor in life. Reading the Christian Bible, researching Michelangelo’s works, the birds and cultural voices of nations soaked up many hours of meditation. I saw a wonderful thread of similarity in our common want. This was discovered in, varied and colorful displays in fashion, art, music, and architecture. We all dream to live a vibrant life, with the overarching link of oneness in international unity, love, kindness, understanding, respect, and purpose. At the root, we are all seeking the missing link, a key to building bridges across walls of division. This Michelangelo Leather Artwork is really Jesus story.
For the project, I prayerfully studied some of Michelangelo’s and Dali’s works leaving me impressed with their workload, versatility and world views. I had visited Dali’s exhibition in Melbourne, Australia in 2009 and his flexibility as an artist challenged me to live my dream. My challenge was to draw on skills and disciplines learned to date because I wanted to produce like these heroes. The goal, follow in the footsteps of these giants of the art world and this carving planted the seed. The work heralded a breakthrough for me in more ways than one. Carving and bevelling were a physically demanding challenge with attention to detail. My much older, fingers were in a regular state of distress from overuse. Now that I know about RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) I could now take more discerning rests in the production.
I am indebted to their legacy and God for such an opportunity. His guidance and inspiration gave me a second chance to discover what I might be capable of. Who knows what my contribution will leave?
This work is a very poor depiction of His glory, but I have done the best I can to symbolically include the nations and cultures of the earth in as many varieties as limited time and the material will allow. Within this parable is the mystery of His love and amazing diversity of creative goodness.
The freedom from ignorance and spiritual art
The “Temptation of Eve & The Pearl of Great Price” is spiritual art. It is much about where it all began, the first lie and deception, the subjugation to an evil spirit and humanities search through history to find the missing link. We lost our peace, we lost knowledge of our beginnings, we lost our security and the world was subjected to the darkness of spirit. This orphaned spirit instigated a search for God.
In Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the embedded story is about the need to know someone, who can wash us and teach us to wash the impurities we defaulted to. The darkness that hampers our flights to love cleanly, to live happily without fear, to trust our neighbor, to know who God is and to play honestly on this extraordinary planet is engulfed in mystery. Without love, without mercy, without forgiveness, we all suffer the same consequences of wars, hatreds, jealousies, fears, prejudices, famines, the bitterness of spirit, depression and prideful arrogance and yet we all want peace, purpose, and fulfillment for our inheritance.
I discovered in this story looking past the religious Christianity, in fact, all religion, into the heart of a man called Jesus was the key to freedom from ignorance. The key to the Kingdom of Heaven within the temple was available to all who sincerely searched. Our body and our own personhood within the body are made in the image and likeness of the one who gave us life. Our body is a vehicle which carries our spirit which has a link to the supernatural world which Jesus revealed in our natural world.
Represented in wildlife and the cultural dress is, Australasia, The Pacific, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Africa, and The Middle and the Far East. We are all in this together and need to be washed from our bitterness, fears, skepticism, and prejudices if we are to find the love, peace, and mercy we want on this planet. God has given this world to us to have wise and caring dominion over and He has given us the manufacturer’s instruction book. It works if we care to apply to agree with the mysteries He says is the road map to life.
There is something in our collective conscience that is deeply ashamed or perversely corrupted with our sexual differences. No culture has escaped the perversion. God said what He made was all good. He loved and enjoyed what He made to be good. What has gone wrong?
A peculiar observation about religious beliefs and sex!
Have you ever wondered about Michelangelo’s art in the magnificent Catholic Cathedral in Rome? This bastion of one stream of Christian religious thought has such strong opinions about the human body functions and the sanctity of male and female sexuality. The artworks display the sacred genitals in the art for all to see. I get it! Michelangelo’s art has a purpose of edifying the wonder and glory of Gods creation but I am confused. A good part of any religious community (Christian or not) are ashamed to talk about sexual pleasures as a God-given joy and wonder.
Why, I asked, do we have to cover up our nakedness on the streets because we are ashamed of our bodies functions. This seems to me to be a contradiction to the theology displaying penises and breasts in a religious setting. That’s why my work has the options of fig leaves to hide Adams penis and Eves’ breasts.
To the pure all things are pure, to the perverse all things are perverse. Your choice is to attach or un-attach the leaves according to your philosophical persuasion. Whatever, I know when God made male man as a seed bearer with a penis and seed sacks He also made a female man with a womb and breasts. She was to be a mother and incubator of our progeny called mankind. He said it was all good, meaning, He is delighted with what He made. So happy was He that He gave us His instructions on how best to live in our differences to compliment, love and function together as one. Genitals are part of the wonder, so how do we see them in the purity in which they were created and not the perverse shame we have inherited? Only the manufacturer can give that revelation to our hearts.
And what of the Seagull you might ask!
He’s having a wash. If he didn’t he would not be as effective in his flight paths and be less functional in his purpose. All of the humanity, all of life under the sun needs a wash and cleansing from the dregs of daily life, whether it be dirt, disease, bugs, nits, mechanical wear and tear and attitudes of the mind. Everything needs cleansing from what stops full functionality and efficient purpose. Even body odor needs to be washed so it is not an offense. All this is part of the mystery of a world separated from its original foundation. Until He returns washing will be a normal part of fully functioning as a purposeful being in body, soul, and spirit.
How do we wash away our ignorance
How do we wash from what we dislike about the world? Who has got the answers to cleanse us from the darkness in our mortality? As we hunger to live within our cultural diversity, our hatred and greed, our confusion and ignorance, our selfishness and arrogant pride we make a further mess without mercy and forgiveness. Outside the boundaries of religious, political and cultural laws, how to love one another with dignity is only be found in the pearl of great price? We all have a common lostness in ignorance. How do we love our neighbor without love himself? No one is unique in this painful separation and the mystery of God.
If we truly want to know we have to give up our prejudices and opinions and receive His counsel. This is called humility?
And where in the world should this piece of Michelangelo, Jesus and Ian Anderson find its place?
This beautiful leather carving deserves to go on display in a public place of worship or private home and business. From Dubai, London, New York, Paris, Sydney or Las Angeles, it will display proudly on any wall. Not only a beautiful work of art but the allegory written within its intention is a heartfelt inspiration to meditate upon. A guideline toward a liberating contemplation in your own heart.
God has given us a beautiful world to live and play in and this is my exhortation. “Don’t get so busy building your empire that you forget to stop and appreciate the wonder of humanity that God has put before your eyes”. Jesus has the key to ‘The pearl of great price’. A new covenant ratified in the courts of heaven and heralded throughout the nations and cultures upon the earth. The powers of darkness are defeated and forgiveness, mercy, and grace now flow freely to anyone accepting heavens testimony.
I offer this to you, who with open hearts want to hear and want to take to the nations and cultures, His wonderful story of redemption. The washing of all our impurities, under His watchful care, has been taken care of.
I have learned more than some, and need to know a lot more from others as God takes me on this wonderful journey. From out of darkness into the light of His presence, peace in my heart, love, and mercy in my actions, and helping others find their way is a privilege. Watching His spirit heal a broken world is awesome. Let the enemy of all goodness be exposed and shamed so that those who seek mercy and forgiveness may find it. Without fear and recrimination, the continual beauty and wonder are already available to all.
PS: The image of Jesus and the 2 girls was inspired by an illustration or photograph I saw in the early ’80s in Christchurch, New Zealand. I have no idea where I discovered it and I don’t know who to credit. If you know who the person was I would be grateful to credit them for the inspiration. Thanx.