The infinite range of imagination and potential found in Classic iconography has influenced me in many aspects of my regular life. In particular, I see the face of Christ in the lives of people around me. It is not exactly Christ but the icon style prototype, a kind of abstract distortion which reveals the essence of humanity.
The mind and eye interact, back and forth between reality and what I paint begins to merge, I find Icon painting and its iconology can easily be interpretations of the present. This small series of Icons are contemporary images not necessarily common to the tradition. They reflect ideas and meditations I have experience as a women in the presents of Christ.
Many modern intellectuals feel no need to participate in organized religion today. The idea of only one dogma set forth for the congregation is inadequate for some to inspire continued participation. There are attempts to response to those outside the church, formatting again theological precepts which are useful to the modern mind. We see it everywhere in the new age, new theology attempts to bring in new insights.
I am not a priest authorized by the church, to teach, I have no authority to write or paint icons. Canon #7 from the council of 869 states “to make holy and precious icons, as well as to teach one neighbors the precepts of divine and human wisdom, is very useful and not to be done by the unworthy. The excommunicated are therefore not allowed painting icons in the holy church…………” since I am neither Orthodox nor priest nor have I been excommunicated, I offer only the deep desire I have to communicate through icons?
When it is not possible to pray, we can always briefly look at an icon
which is so intimately linked with the experience of love.
Modern man has not accepted his laziness when it comes to living Christianity.
We want the church to conform to today’s pop culture so we stay interested; modern minds want what is new and find little value in the time tested precepts which have in large part formed our existing society. There is some fault in thinking the old church is dying. Carefully avoid throwing out the baby with the bath water , instead only the dirty water.
Christian faith is a journey lived and explored by each individual and to be mature and vibrant in ones faith we must come to realize spiritual laws do not change only the understanding there of. We are organic living organisms which yield and change with our environment and our relationship to our creator. Icons of the past lost their meaning when the images no longer carry a valid message for our spiritual growth; copies of them become pretty pictures or collectable antiques.
Examining the cult of icons, its long history and rules governing the painting technique of (writing) icons ultimately confirms:
– Icon painting and iconology represent a tradition of prayer
– iconography has enormous essential spiritual significance for Christians
– an icon is an image of the invisible, “What is not seen is eternal.” Corinthians
I offer icons a visual life, provide them with shape, send them into the world to carry my dreams and fears, prayers, hopes and screams to my fellow human beings. It is my way of letting others know me – and in the process letting them find themselves.
Original art by Mary Jane Miller offer a connection, a gift of togetherness, and promise that we are not alone in our suffering.