I am framing this week, a series I did that has never yet been seen together. Four images done with ink and watercolor on polypropylene paper will hang for two months in the Reece Museum at East Tennessee State University’s main campus. I will show here each of the images from this small series in coming posts.
The paper these were worked on was an experiment for me, this surface is completely synthetic which allows the marking media to set up and modulate on the surface in such interesting ways. The first in this collection, seen here, is an image that startled me in the making of it. Artists sometimes speak of allowing the work to become what it is. . . not fighting or over-editing what emerges. I partially agree with that idea. In fact, using new materials and process that hinder my tendency to superintend while working has been important in what I have found to be my best work. This piece however strong, I do not want to call best, though it leads the series. For the nature of this piece’s subject is daunting to say the very least.
This is an exposure– a hint in a small visual way, of a most difficult concept: the problem of evil. An excellent writer I admire has crafted a brilliant attempt to understand the challenge of real evil. In Unspeakable, Os Guiness says “Modern people have shown a chronic inability to name and judge evil and to respond effectively. . . Evil dwarfs our best discussions and remains a mystery even after our best explanations.”
Abaddon was the obvious title for this once I saw what melted and dried onto the page before me. I would have rather this be something else, but it would not. To me that fact alone is an illustration of the dilemma I share with every reader and every viewer. We would all rather deny or dismiss this subject. Abaddon is a Hebrew word of the place refered to as the bottomless pit, or the abyss of fire. It is also used as the name of one identified in Revelation as a being, called in Greek “The Destroyer.”
Quoting the prophet Daniel: “As for me, my spirit was distressed within me, and the visions in my mind kept alarming me.” 7:15