Jezreel, in its original Hebrew, means roughly "God will sow". These weapons of cultivation are inspired from Isaiah 2:
It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, 3 and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
5 O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.
These weapons once used for aggressive attack and, ultimately, death are now transformed into tools used to bear fruit. Their violence was stripped from them, and they were given new creative duties. Ornamented with medieval patterns, they allude to being Gothic relics, carrying a sacredness that both contrasts the rugged practicality of both gun and tool, but also point to the holiness of discipline, restraint, redemption, and transformation.
Jezreel IV - $400
In technical metal work, ancient church visual tradition has always inspired me. Pointed arches, repetition, and detail bring in the idea that a work is a sort of sacred relic. Using traditional materials of enamel and copper, these pieces heavily echo the past but allow for the modern age to make its advances.
These works, after spending time on the Jezreel series, are shaping up to become a new aesthetic. I still use Gothic-inspired forms and Biblical ideas, but these are much less pristine. While the work is simpler, I enjoy the manipulation of materials that happens more frequently in these. Stay tuned.
Growing up an evangelical Protestant in the South, I have unwittingly assigned spiritual meanings to otherwise commonplace objects. Snakes, locusts, cedar, sandals, and bread all carry biblical symbolism within them. It seems, through my religious worldview, everything, not just the heavenly, has become eternally significant. Every object is like a tiny parable connecting itself to its Creator.
In the cabinet lie a collection of these old-world objects, or relics, that are further manipulated in traditional or folk techniques to impose the sacred narrative upon them. Ƒor example, the rifle with a pickaxe as the barrel is a reinterpretation of the quote in Isaiah, “they will beat their swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks.” The sixty-six of them become a kind of biblical periodic table, each object organized and created in relation to the other. However, without prior knowledge of biblical symbolism, they may become an indecipherable barrage of symbols and messages. The simple, closeable cabinet reinforces the idea of these objects being in a mind or a book, where it can be easily seen or easily hidden.
While it would only strengthen the piece if everyone knew what each individual sculpture in the complex array represented, that need not be the case. Even if one is totally unfamiliar with biblical symbolism or, understandably, my own mind, The Word should still be comprehensible as a collection of mundane natural objects that, because of their manipulation, are made into something important, if not sacred. Each object is really just a reinterpretation of a symbol that already exists in Scripture to tell of a concept higher than itself. The multiple levels of metaphor can turn a pickaxe-gun into an emblem of transformative peace. My thoughts, through my handiwork, transform something unused into a holy object. By this, our worldviews affect not only how we interpret our lives, but how we value each part.
These pieces were originally made to feature in a collaborative show at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, of which I am an alum. They kind of evolved from these strange surreal looking trees that were supposed to represent various attributes of the Trinity. It was almost a scientific approach to the topic of God through art, which I honestly found to be less motivating. As the imagery become more and more non-objective (they obviously aren’t trees anymore), the motivation became more relational. I would dwell on things like, “Yes, the Lord says He loves me, but how can I even accept that in light of my past junk?” and “Gee, how do I fathom that the God of the universe has entrusted me with the knowledge that the prophets of old wanted and even angels long to look into?” So the works essentially became visual responses to these realities. It was worship for me.
What is the significance of the mediums you used?
The wood came from the tree forms I had done earlier. I found that making the wood from the scrap bin beautiful made a rather convenient metaphor to work with, so I kept it. With the oil paint, I honestly just love using it. The richness of it is incredible. There is also gold leaf in every piece as kind of like “Hey, this has religious undertones, man”.