Edge of Faith May 2017 - Page 44

development team, who all really helped. I’ve been here now, at Gordon, for 33 years. I’m not doing a whole lot of classroom teaching. I’m mostly painting and being part of their traveling exhibit around the world; in Japan, Hong Kong, and Britain as well as a lot of cities in the United States, and doing a lot of public speaking. So that’s kind of the focus of my career nowadays; more of a public career, rather than the classroom, but I still believe very much that art-making and teaching are deeply intertwined for me. It is kind of a twin calling for me. So that’s where I’m at. I’m in my mid-’60s now. Thankfully, by God’s grace, both my wife and I are in good health. We are still very active and, like I said, my art career is burgeoning at the moment. I’m traveling a lot. Speaking of your art career, could you tell us about some of the artists who have influ- enced you most in your life of art. It depends on what what period. I’ve been painting and disciplined as either a profes- sional-in-training, or a professional artist now for over 40 years. I’ve gone through lots of different changes as an artist, and the artists I would say were most influential depends on the period of time. Probably the most influential of all time, for me, is Rembrandt simply because of the pen- etrating, human quality in his self-portraits, which are paintings he did after he fell out of favor and was not making a lot of money, and he was just basically painting for the love of painting. There are lots of others. I’ve been influenced by Italian masters like Fra Angelico. Mainly artists from the past, the distant past, like Rembrandt, and a few others. More recently, probably in my formative year of an artist, people like Cezanne and Van Gogh. The early modernists, like Picasso, didn’t really have much of an impact on me, but the post impressionists, and then the German expressionists, like Max Beckmann, had a huge impact on me in graduate school. Georges Rouault, I don’t know if you know his work, a French painter, who was a believing Catholic, and very deeply committed; a very important 20th century artist, but not real well known these days because not a lot of people are writing about him. I think that’s going to change because the art world is beginning to warm up again towards religious art a little bit. It’s still kind of a bit of a marginal enterprise. That’s the goal of The Art of Faith. We want to make it so that art is not marginal anymore. I think it’s really important that people understand their faith in art and that it intertwines. One of the things growing up, in my late teens and early twenties in art training when I was in art col- lege, I didn’t see many examples of serious religious paintings that were anymore recent than 200 or 300 years ago. Most of the art since the 1890s was totally non-religious, at least as far as I knew. What I’m finding out now as I’m doing more research, is that actually a lot of modern artists were deeply, if not religious in the conventional sense, they were really trying to find spiritual truth in and through their process as an artist. It just didn’t get written about much.The influence of the Catholic theologian Jacques Maritain was very profound on a lot of artists, including people like Georges Rouault. Some of the cubists like Jean Metzinger and Albert Gleizes. I don’t know if any of these names mean anything to you, but the Art Sacré Movement in the first third of the 20th century was heavily influenced by Father Curitae and Jacques Maritain and Etienne. They were all Catholic thinkers who really took visual arts very seriously and unfortunately, they’ve been downplayed by art historians, but I think that’s changing. I think there are a lot of younger art historians who are digging into that past. A book came out fairly recently called, “Modern Art and the Life of a Culture: The Religious Impulses of Modernism”, by Jonathan Anderson and William Dyrness. It’s a very good book. Telling us about your piece in The Faces of Mercy traveling exhibit. The curator, Michelle Arnold, is a former student of 44 • The Art of Faith Magazine • www.aofmag.com The Art of Faith Magazine • www.aofmag.com • 45