Edward Knippers » Art & Incarnation (5): On art and not “playing in the shallows”

Edward Knippers concludes our exhibition, “Art and Incarnation: Engaging the Art & Theology of Edward Knippers”, with a few responses, words of gratitude, and reflections on not “playing in the shallows” (may our stammering attempts at speaking about God risk the same).

The high level of theological discussion this week on Theology Forum about my work is more of a tribute pm_32than any artist could expect in a lifetime. That is because Professors Sanders, Myers, and Buschart each understand in a profound way what I have been trying to do in my artistic calling.

Their articulations of my core concerns of incarnation and resurrection have embodied my, often, intuitive understandings in a clear verbal form. When I read Professor Sanders’ succinct summation of my artist enterprise as an exploration of “…a visual vocabulary capable of expressing the remarkable things Christians believe….” I could only say, “Yes, that’s it.”

Professor Myers’ discussion of my cubist vocabulary in terms of Gerard Manley Hopkins stating that God’s grandeur “will flame out, like shining from shook foil,” only makes me realize how much further I have to go in order to even “stammer,” (Prof. Myers’ word) about such things.

Professor Buschart’s discusses the nudity in my work in terms of universality and particularity (also mentioned by Professor Sanders) stating that “…the absence of dress in his human figures removes an excuse for someone to hold the images at a distance, and yet these are particular people.” In reading his essay, I realized that he had seen past merely naked people to the common denominator of our humanity, the body and its place in the cosmos.

More importantly, each of these scholars has penetrated to the core of my work by talking more about our pm_421Lord’s Incarnation and Resurrection than about me. This is as it should be if I have done my job well. I have maintained over the years that art is not merely self-expression but an exploration of a reality greater than the Self. I have also maintained that the artist should be concerned about the most profound parts of that reality, not just play in the shallows. These essays are a conformation that with God’s help, I have accomplished in some small way what I have preached.

I offer my deepest thanks and appreciation for the essays of Professors Fred Sanders, Ben Myers, and David Buschart. I also offer my heartfelt gratitude to Kent Eilers and his colleagues at Theology Forum for making this conversation possible. I hope that many will find the rewards of reading and participating in Theology Forum in the years to come.

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5 thoughts on “Edward Knippers » Art & Incarnation (5): On art and not “playing in the shallows”

  1. I have been captivated by Ed’s work for years, and I even have the pleasure of having one of his linocuts hanging in my home.

    It is wonderful to see his work on this site and to read the discussions by the writers over the past several posts. I would encourage all who have visited here to make every effort to see his work “in the flesh.”

    If you are unable to get to one of his shows, the next best thing would be to look at his work and read his interview in “Objects of Grace: Conversations on Creativity and Faith” (http://www.squarehalobooks.com/oog.htm). Then read his contribution to “It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God” (http://www.squarehalobooks.com/good.htm).

  2. I realize this is a few years old, but is there a way to get in contact with the artist? The links for a personal website are broken. I would love to ask a couple of questions re: a book I am writing on the theology of the body….

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