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The art of Easter: transforming the ordinary

Spiritually motivated art enriches us by its affirmation of our faith, laid bare through the artist’s own struggle to search out meaning, says Queensland artist Marion McConaghy.

As an artist, I am often taken off-guard by the impulse to create.

When visiting my brother the other day, I discovered him dismantling his wooden sawhorse.

Three splintered pieces lay discarded at the base of the frame, which was sitting ready for a replacement piece of timber.

However, when I looked down, I didn’t see rubbish ready for the bin.

I felt compelled to re-form these simple elements into something whole again.

Within the impulse to create lie the seeds of challenge and questioning.

Once the artwork is complete, that same impulse may translate into the viewer being pushed out of their comfort zone. Is it art?

What is the meaning of the work?

Recycling elements refreshes and re-forms their familiar meaning into another entity, giving them the potential for a new, valid reason for existing.

I often wonder at how the process of transforming ordinary, raw elements into art has the power to touch others. Art represents much that we can’t really put into words.

The symbols of faith, hope and love cut across the human experience, tapping into our common belief systems, thus holding and focusing our attention.

We are presented with this in Michelangelo’s Pietà.

Carved out of marble, this life-size sculpture of Mary holding the crucified Christ in her arms speaks eloquently of Christ’s vulnerability, and of the depth of his mother’s love and grief.

It is breathtaking and harrowing in its beauty.

We, as viewers, are transformed ourselves by witnessing it.

The three pieces of discarded wood from the sawhorse found new life in a freestanding sculpture representing Calvary, named Three Crosses.

The sculpture will be part of the 2013 Lent to Easter exhibition by Visionaries, a group of 50 Christian artists from South East Queensland, in the Vera Wade Gallery in Brisbane.

Working within different genres and across denominations, these artists give expression to their faith through the visual, reminding us that we belong to one family in Christ.

This powerful and eclectic exhibition challenges us to reflect, to reach out to others in the spirit of forgiveness and redemption, and to rejoice in the ordinary made extraordinary.

For more information visit visionaries.org.au.

For more information on artist Cees Sliedrecht (artwork on right) visit http://ceesart.com/.

Photo : Artwork by Cees Sliedrecht.