Some artists will say that they want to communicate through the work itself, that talking about the work would not be helpful. Others believe verbal communication is an important component of the communication that the artwork is part of. I am usually inclined to put myself in the middle, but in this case I find myself moving towards the former position. It is new work and I do not really know what is going on. It has enough resonance with my experience of life to make me believe it is worth putting out there, but that is most of what I know.
I can talk about things that are happening around the work and maybe that is helpful. Eric Massanari is our pastor at Shalom Mennonite Church, Newton, Kansas. He did a series of sermons on Job in fall 2000 that helped me see Job in a new way. Some of us wrestle with the God in the Book of Job in ways like Job himself did. (Despite that I have always found the book to be a source of comfort.) Part of the last sermon was a letter to God, a poem. The text is included in the images, but those really reveal my processing of the writing and other things. A Very Open Letter to God should also be read on its own on the text page.
Two of our kids, Evan and Emily, but especially Emily, are included in the images. Emily has been included in a fair amount of my recent work because she brings a new perspective to many things that I think is valuable. She has Down syndrome and has been an important resource to my life, certainly, and, I think, to the wider communities she is a part of as well. I am not really sure why it seems to make sense to include her here.
A caution is probably in order. Pairing images of Emily with the Book of Job could easily make some kind of association between the experience of her life and suffering. She has never been a burden. She can be a prophet, as Seth and Evan and all children can, in different ways at different times.
That kind of statement should not roll off my tongue easily. It may be
correct, but if it is true it should jostle us hard enough to shift our balance.
More than enough said, only partly related to the work.