Has Art Ever Been All About Beauty?

The Wall Street Journal recently posted an opinion article titled Remember When Art Was Supposed to be Beautiful with the subheading Contemporary art is obsessed with the politics of race, gender and sexuality. This rant-like post has elicited quite a response through social media, many sharing the article as authentication of their struggle with (or…

St Francis and Subversive Nativities

One of my favourite Yuletide memories comes from about five years ago when me and my uncle Philip were able to sneak a figure of Darth Vader just behind Mary, Joseph, and Jesus in my Grandfather’s Nativity set. Faithful throughout the season, the Sith Lord remained in the holy huddle long into January. … During…

When Christian Art is Pagan (And Pagan Art Becomes Christian)

We as the Western Church have our own brand of art. It is relatively safe, clean, and historical. Though often kitsch and sentimental, it draws from the giants of western art history like Giotto, Michelangelo, and Rembrandt. A brief survey of art history according to any well-known publisher reveals Biblical scenes and gospel illustrations aplenty….

A Tale of Two Crucifixes

For as long as I can remember I have always been a bit ‘picky’ with art. I do not claim to have great aesthetic tastes (my bedroom resembles a charity shop more than a peaceful sleeping space), but as I grew up I found myself strongly attracted to certain artistic styles and equally repelled by…

Christ in Art: Particular and Universal

“In all three faiths mankind strives for God through the Word. But unlike Muslims and Jews, Christians (or at least early Christians) have seen their God; for Christianity is the religion of the Word made flesh, and largely as a consequence, it is also a religion of the image.   Making an image of God who has…

Kan Xuan: Pound… Pound… Pound

Whenever I return home to Birmingham after a few months away, I am always impressed by the amount of quality art displayed across the city. Before I focus in on one specific work in the IKON gallery, I would like to recommend Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery’s Turning To See exhibition curated by artist John…

Can Maps Be Art?

Maps, particularly old maps, are ‘in’. As the high street clambers for everything that is vintage, maps have become a part of that movement. From map design dresses in House of Fraser to cartographic bed sheets in Debenhams, maps are part of our everyday graphic language. If we watch any news report, one cannot but…

Cildo Meireles and Creating Cracks In The Current Order

“Art shapes thought, and thought shapes life”: The Sputnik maxim speaks not just of the ‘fine’ arts such as painting and sculpture but also of all types of art; high and low, public and private, global and local alike. From the images that dominate billboards to the tunes that hum out from the radio, our…

Anya Gallaccio and These Beautiful Changeable Things

Christian theology has the tendency to exalt the abstract and immaterial over the corporeal and transitory parts of creation. When I was baptised, a scripture from Second Corinthians was given to me that spoke about how “the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). This…

Suffering and Healing in Arie A. Galles’ Fourteen Stations

Arie A. Galles’ (1944-) Fourteen Stations drawings take a radical departure from the customary representations of Christ’s Passion stations. Traditionally, viewers meditate upon a series of works that trace Christ’s physical and mental agony from condemnation through to resurrection. I would like this post to open a dialogue into how unorthodox approaches to the Passion can deepen…