Friday, June 15, 2007

work from ross conklin

Ross Conklin is often one of our more quiet artists, but he certainly doesn't lack anything to say. It seems that Ross carefully considers his words before sharing and the same applies to his artistic expressions as well.

Ross works in acrylic paints, and his control is amazing when you see him write or draw, because you realize that he has tremors in his hands that would deter most people from even attempting such fine motor control. Ross says that he uses both hands to control his paint brushes, and is rewarded with results that many artists without such physical hurdles would be proud of.

This piece is Ross's first Vision of Heaven, which he actually painted before we began this project, titled "Watch and Pray." Ross explains, "For the Son of Man will come at an hour you do not expect Him. All eyes will see Him. We must come to God as little children. Old things shall pass away and everything will become new. We are redeemed by His blood." He provides several scriptures to support his work, including Isaiah 9:2, which says, "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." He also sites Isaiah 12, a song of praise to God, and Isaiah 40, which describes how God would release Israel from captivity to Babylon as well as the final days when Christ returns to earth.

Ross seems to almost explain his artistic vision with Daniel 7:13, which says, "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence."

The child figure in the piece is explained by Matthew 18: 1-6, in which Christ speaks of entering into heaven as children and in Matthew 19: 13-14, when Jesus says to allow children to come to him. In Matthew 24 Jesus teaches about the future, his return, and about being watchful, giving overall context; it's also from this scripture that the piece gets its title.

An all too common refrain when Christian concepts are discussed is that it all seems a bit crazy, but Ross points out I Corinthians 2: 14-15, which explains that "the man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment."

The importance of the cross as access to heaven is explained in Colossians 1:20, "And through (Jesus) to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross." And again in Colossians 2:14-15: "Having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross."

Finally, Ross directs the focus of the whole artwork on the sun, a metaphor for God's son, illustrating Hebrews 12:2, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

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