Heretical Paintings: Meister Eckhart's Spirituality (1999-2001)
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Meister Eckhart, 14th-century Dominican monk and mystic, advocated a far-sweeping spirituality. Eschewing the necessity of organized worship, Eckhart proposed that man could attain a personal relationship with God, bypassing the church hierarchy and communing directly with the divine. Indeed, Eckhart's open-minded legacy has much in common with Buddhism or Sufism – bearing little resemblance to the heavy-handed doctrine of the medieval Church.
Apparently, the church elders felt so as well. Eckhart was summoned to the papal court and spent his final days defending himself against charges of heresy. On March 27, 1329, Pope John XXII posthumously declared Meister Eckhart a heretic.
This series of paintings captures the intent and spiritual passion of Meister Eckhart's mysticism. Working on raw and pitted wood, I have created images that address specific aspects of the Master's message. Echoes of Christian symbolism – the wood; the reoccurrence of trinities of corresponding images – interact with surprising and unknown forms. These images echo Eckhart's beautiful messages.
Ultimately, these paintings are steeped in the belief that ecstatic mysticism of the sort that Meister Eckhart proposes is an emotional experience. Based in specific Eckhart sayings, the paintings are deeply emotional expressions, with rich color and swimming images interacting to produce a visceral response. By using recovered trash-wood as a support upon which to base the meditations, I have addressed Eckhart's ultimate conundrum: How we can learn to see God in even the basest of human experience.
My art is involved with spiritual questions – not religious paintings per se, but work that explores humans' attempts to make sense of this world and our shared struggle to develop and live by a moral code.