One thing leads to another. Well, that does go without saying. Still, pursuing the Quiltart list today (by the way, thanks to everyone who helped me master its usage given the amazing volume of discussion on and off topic), I was led to the amazing work of Nacogdoches artist Mary McCleary, and then, through her "news" link to the homepage of the journal Image: Art, Faith, Mystery. The serendipity of the internet answers me with such directness sometimes. (No doubt what people feel like when they open a Bible at random and sense that the verse gives them the answer sought.)
Here I sit this winter afternoon, confronted by sleet, by my own shortcomings in the organizing and business side of personal and professional life, by doubts and hesitation about going to the studio (the fireplace is so tempting), by haunting critique of my work ("hands and hearts are trite imagery"), by that nagging doubt that shows up when I look at my bank balance and how I chose to spend my time on this planet.
Finding Image and digging into it, just for half an hour, was restorative and challenging, invigorating and thought-provoking. Just what I needed to combat the woe-is-me-what-am-I-doing-I'll-never-make-it glum that had me frozen to the windowpane.
Here's what the website says about it:
About Image"Image, a literary and arts quarterly founded in 1989, is a unique forum for the best writing and artwork that is informed by—or grapples with—religious faith. We have never been interested in art that merely regurgitates dogma or falls back on easy answers or didacticism. Instead, our focus has been on writing and visual artwork that embody a spiritual struggle, that seek to strike a balance between tradition and a profound openness to the world. Here the larger questions of existence intersect with what the poet Albert Goldbarth calls the "greasy doorknobs and salty tearducts" of our everyday ."
I won't say too much, you can take your own stroll into its text and images, but be sure to look under RESOURCES at the Study Guide. That alone could keep me engaged for a month of sleet-bound afternoons. Leaving you then, with this quote from said Study Guide, (copying the guide is encouraged, by the way.)
"One of the perennial tensions in the Judeo-Christian tradition is how the inwardness of faith relates to outwardness of culture. Believers often withdraw from culture on the grounds that it is worldly and dilutes or corrupts religious truth. But from the moment that John began his gospel with "In the beginning was the Word," a statement that would speak to the wider Mediterranean culture of his time, it can be argued that the church was committed to incarnating faith into creative language, story, and image. The tradition of Christian humanism holds that faith becomes abstract and meaningless unless it engages culture, seeking not only to preach to the world, but to listen to and assimilate what the world is saying. The material covered under this theme heading can be said in some way to grapple with this tradition."