OT: Exciting Bible publication event - Makoto Fujimura's illluminated Four Gospels

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Mar 17 2011 1:00 PM

Republished (with permission) from Iambic Admonit:

Artist Makoto Fujimura has recently finished what may very well be the masterpiece of his lifetime: illuminations of the Four Gospels. This project was commissioned by Crossway Books in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Version Bible. Fujimura painted five large canvases (one for each gospel and one for the frontispiece), more than eighty illuminations of first-chapter letters, and more than one hundred and forty pages of illuminations.

This is a stunning project. The works of art are, of course, magnificent. They are also non-figurative, that is, abstract. It is revolutionary to combine abstract art with the Biblical text; it is also pretty much just revolutionary to illuminate the Bible at all in this century!

The original works are on tour; see if you can catch a show!

Fujimura is blogging about his thought process here.

You can purchase a copy of the book from Crossway or (less expensively) on amazon.

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Greg Masone | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 17 2011 2:28 PM

I know I'm probably setting myself up for crucifixion by saying this, but I would have found more value in the project had it not been abstract, as its called.

I'm sure this man is considered a good artist in the right circles, but I'm more inspired by great and dramatic scenes clearly presented then I am by splotches of colors and vague concepts illustrated.

Just my opinion though.

 

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Mike Pettit | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 17 2011 2:34 PM

Greg Masone:

I know I'm probably setting myself up for crucifixion by saying this, but I would have found more value in the project had it not been abstract, as its called.

I'm sure this man is considered a good artist in the right circles, but I'm more inspired by great and dramatic scenes clearly presented then I am by splotches of colors and vague concepts illustrated.

Just my opinion though.

 

 

At leat being abstract it avoids any second commandment issues.  

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TCBlack | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 17 2011 2:36 PM

Greg Masone:
I know I'm probably setting myself up for crucifixion by saying this, but I would have found more value in the project had it not been abstract, as its called....

  but I'm more inspired by great and dramatic scenes clearly presented then I am by splotches of colors and vague concepts illustrated.

I'm with you on this Greg.  There is a pdf excerpt available on Desiring God.  After looking at it, I wouldn't even consider it if it were free. Ick!

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 17 2011 2:46 PM

Greg Masone:
I know I'm probably setting myself up for crucifixion by saying this, but I would have found more value in the project had it not been abstract, as its called.

Not to worry; you're not setting yourself up to be crucified by me. Art is a very personal thing and different people have different responses to it. One's own responses to it are valid and cannot be fairly judged by another who has a different response.

I too generally prefer representational art (the opposite of abstract), and I don't have an immediate spiritual connection with some of Makoto Fujimura's work. But I do think this is an important publishing event. Mako is an evangelical Christian who has done a lot to engage the Christian artist community in integrating their faith with their art. His work is respected by many across the theological spectrum, including deeply conservative evangelical believers, whom one might not normally think would find abstract art important or relevant to faith. He was the featured cover story in World Magazine a few years back, for example. There's a blurb by Gene Edward Veith in there (visible even without buying the full article) explaining the value of abstract art. Here are some more articles about Fujimura's work: http://www.makotofujimura.com/press/

I'm on a journey of growing in understanding of art, particularly in its relation to faith, so I find it intriguing to get more familiar with what makes abstract artists tick, and he's certainly one to pay attention to.

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 17 2011 2:56 PM

Greg Masone:

I know I'm probably setting myself up for crucifixion by saying this...

 

Crucify him, crucify him! LOL...note: the "him" is in lower case, so it's refering to Greg and not you know who. Smile

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 17 2011 3:07 PM

Rosie Perera:
Art is a very personal thing and different people have different responses to it.

A while back the New York Times ran an article on a study that showed representational art and "modern" art are processed by different parts of the brain. Shall we develop a set of brain exercises for appreciating all are? We ought to be able to make money off it given the topics included in the Biblical Counseling Keys series thread .

 

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 17 2011 3:17 PM

Douglas Alvarenga:

Greg Masone:

I know I'm probably setting myself up for crucifixion by saying this...

Crucify him, crucify him! LOL...note: the "him" is in lower case, so it's refering to Greg and not you know who. Smile

OK, how about an abstract art crucifixion? That would only be fitting. Smile

This is "Brooklyn Crucifixion" by Chaim Potok, designed to bring to life a fictional painting mentioned his novel My Name is Asher Lev (the latter is about a Hasidic Jew with an artistic gift who wrestles with his vocation because it is not accepted by his religious community).

See: http://soulfoodvancouver.blogspot.com/2011/02/chaim-potok-paintings.html

And I'm just kidding about the crucifixion, Greg. Your views (probably shared by most on these forums) are still very welcome and valid.

Occasionally the modern is threatening because it's inherently anti-Christian, but sometimes it's only fearsome or distasteful because it's unfamiliar. Sometimes a study of the forms and traditions reflected in modern art can bring us to an appreciation of it. However, I realize there are much more fruitful uses of most of our time. I was only posting this notice for those who might find it intriguing or who have an art history background. I'm friends with Christian theologians (such as pastor, artist, and pastor-to-artists David Taylor) who see art as absolutely fundamental to life and worship, so I can't help plugging it once and a while.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 17 2011 3:51 PM

Rosie Perera:
I'm friends with Christian ... who see art as absolutely fundamental to life and worship

As do I ... and most in the Catholic-Orthodox-Church of the East spectrum. Although one of my favorite books of liturgical art is on quilting in the liturgical setting - I think it is Lutheran.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 17 2011 4:53 PM

MJ. Smith:
Although one of my favorite books of liturgical art is on quilting in the liturgical setting - I think it is Lutheran.

Fascinating! I'd love to know the title of that book. I've been worshiping with the Mennonites for the past 14 years and have enjoyed their quilting tradition, though it wasn't until you mentioned "quilting" in the same sentence with "liturgical" that I thought to Google and find out that Mennonites too have been using quilting in liturgical ways of late. Previously their quilts had been used only for bed coverings and then gradually as art pieces. There's a big quilt show and auction every year at the MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) Festival in Abbotsford, BC. Funds raised go towards relief efforts. The craft-work there is amazing! But I found an article called "From Cross to Cross-Stitch: The Ascendancy of the Quilt" on how Mennonite quilting has begun to shift to liturgical practice and quilts have gained almost iconic status. I own a quilt that would probably be considered of liturgical value, though it's never been used in a worship setting. Now that I think of it, that's kind of a shame. A friend of mine -- not a Mennonite -- created it for a class project. It was shown afterward in the art gallery at Regent College, and I bought it and have had it hanging in my home in a prominent place where visitors see and appreciate it. But I'd love to lend it to my church for a season.

Quilt by Illene Hayes. The colors symbolize the life of Christ, from his incarnation and baptism (blue, an earthy/watery color), to his royalty and crown of thorns (purple), his suffering/passion/crucifixion (red), his resurrection (yellow), and his purity/eternal reign (white). This is an example of a somewhat abstract work that I find absolutely beautiful and emotionally/spiritually powerful. Aside from the cross shape and the outline of a stained-glass window, there's nothing representational about it, just swatches of color, and rather splotchy patches at that. But oh how beautifully stitched together! And the splotches remind me of creation and suffering, baptism and the Christian life, light and joy and the hope of the kingdom of God.

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William | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 17 2011 5:36 PM

oH!!!! I love that quilt!

 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 17 2011 6:22 PM

That's a beautiful quilt. I'll see if I can remember the precise title ... or find my copy (it's boxed). You might be interested in Handmade Midrash by Jo Milgrom for a different take on Bible study.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Sorina Higgins | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 30 2011 8:05 AM

Wow, this quilt is really beautiful. Your posting it here ties in with something I've been thinking a lot about recently: the weakness of the boundary between "high" and "low" art or, in this case, between "arts" and "crafts" -- and then, I suppose, between "faith" and "work." I have been hoping that my church would start integrating the arts into worship and our faith into our vocations. This is a great example of both. Thank you!

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 30 2011 8:55 AM

Sorina Higgins:

Wow, this quilt is really beautiful. Your posting it here ties in with something I've been thinking a lot about recently: the weakness of the boundary between "high" and "low" art or, in this case, between "arts" and "crafts" -- and then, I suppose, between "faith" and "work." I have been hoping that my church would start integrating the arts into worship and our faith into our vocations. This is a great example of both. Thank you!

Welcome to the Logos forums Big Smile 

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Marianne Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 4 2011 10:38 AM

I just signed on because I loved the quilt and just read "The Promise" by Haim Potok. Actually, I am fascinated with fabric art, and especially interested in abstract Biblical quilt art. I would love to see more examples. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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