This thesis exploration spans the changing, seasonal nature of my Christian devotional and art making practice as they have become intertwined through the process of painting. It began with the desire to uncover a personal “visual theology,” defined by contemporary artist Makoto Fujimura as a way for an artist to build a visual vocabulary for exploring, and thus communicating, their ideas of God, religion, and faith.
In the interest of fulfilling a desire to merge my spiritual journey with art making, I began my thesis work with a structured daily practice based on the traditional elements of a Christian devotional experience of prayer, reading and writing. Utilizing specific constraints, with a focus on maintaining a meditational mindset, I began to paint small abstractions everyday. Inspired by other artists working within ideas of discipline and devotion, such as Agnes Martin and Giorgio Morandi, I anticipated the daily practice to be the totality of my thesis work, but left room for growth and revelation during the proposal process.
A deepening interest in the visual language of abstraction, looking to the ideas and processes of artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Mark Rothko, and Helen Frankenthaler, led to a greater exploration of attempting to communicate a full experience of faith through demonstration rather than illustration. In a desire to be vulnerable and honest in demonstrating the dissonance of disbelief, resolution, struggle, and hope, I began to work on a larger plane thus allowing a more dynamic experience for the viewer and a more physical and performative process of painting.
This culminated in a painting process spanning six weeks in which a single canvas became a record of my dialogue with God, a locus for expression of the ineffable emotions experienced in struggling to reclaim a tumultuous faith. The totality of the thesis works act as relics of what was experienced, learned, and lived. The end result is what I consider to be only the beginning of a more disciplined, thoughtful, art-making practice that has now become seamlessly intertwined with my spiritual journey.