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Issue #35 | October 1, 2003


Artist of the Month: B.H. Fairchild
Images of God: Two Christian Artists from Asia
The Bitterness and Beauty of Espresso
Jerome Witkin: Taken
Heartland Film Festival
Continuing Art Exhibits: Incarnations: A Nancy Jackson Retrospective
Excavating the Image: Biblical Subjects by Wayne Forte

Message Board
Announcing the Paraclete Fiction Award
The Second Annual Arts Ministry Conference
Call for Papers
Pamela Nelson and Ginger Henry Geyer Exhibit
2004 Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop
Vision VIII Call for Entries

Spotlight on the 2003 Conference: Joy Williams
Intruding Upon the Timeless by Gregory Wolfe
Keeping an Eye on Image: Our New Contributors Index
Subscribe to Image online
Share ImageUpdate with a friend



He Qi, HeIs Risen III.

Artist of the Month: B.H. Fairchild
"A low prairie wind whistles through B.H. Fairchild's new volume of poetry," writes one critic of Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest. The prairie metaphor, drawn from the landscape that the poet knew growing up in Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma, is a perfect analogue for his literary genius. Fairchild's poetry, like the prairie, is deceptively simple and open, but the subtleties and variations are there for the attentive reader to savor and sift through. He is equally at home writing poems about the working class world of his youth (he's been compared to the painter Edward Hopper) and timeless philosophical and theological questions. Fairchild's faith is not something proclaimed; it is something inhabited. We're delighted to see that he's being recognized, with a series of awards and honors, as the literary treasure he is.

Click here to read his poems "The Problem" and "The Deposition" in Image #35

ImageImages of God: Two Christian Artists from Asia
This month Northwestern College's Te Paske Gallery will display the work of two Asian artists who recast Christian images according to the artistic traditions and current experiences of their cultures. Images of God: Two Christian Artists from Asia features Indonesian Wisnu Sasongko and He Qi from China. Sasongko's paintings emphasize Christ as messenger of peace in the context of Asia and the turmoil of the wider world. Sasongko offers a vision of Christian spirituality as solace for the crises and continuing violence in Indonesia. His paintings, mainly in acrylic and mixed media, have a cubist element softened by mild colors and languid, distended figures whose placidity match his themes: "Hope for Peace," "Under the Shadow of Love 1." Qi, a professor at Nanjing Union Theological Seminary and a doctor of religious art-one of the first mainland Chinese to earn the degree-aims to challenge the "foreign image" of westernized Christianity by reinterpreting tableaus from the Bible in the style of traditional Chinese art. Qi adapts both the minimal water-and-ink Zen form as well as more colorful Chinese folk and minority art to his subject, blending those techniques further with those of Western art. As a distinctly modern Chinese Christian artist in the context of a largely non-Christian society, Qi hopes to use Christianity to supplement Chinese art in the same way Buddhism did in ancient times. In his Bible series, Qi forges a rich balance of deep colors and sharp images to portray Christ as "a messenger of peace and rejoicing."

Northwest College is located in Orange City, Iowa. The exhibit will open Oct. 10 and will run through Nov. 26.

He Qi's art can be viewed here and Wisnu Sasongko's art may be seen here. For more on the exhibit, click here.

ImageThe Bitterness and Beauty of Espresso
In the middle of the play Espresso, while a small white cup is served to the main character, there is the line: "The espresso-she's life. Quick, black, bitter in the mouth. Don't expect sweet." It is true of the drink, and an apt description of the newest play by important playwright, Lucia Frangione. Nominated for seven Jessie Awards (Vancouver, B.C.), the play has achieved both popular and critical success. "Espresso is one of the best scripts ever produced by a Vancouver playwright," Colin Thomas writes in The Georgia Straight; "Artistic Directors from across the continent should be flocking to Vancouver to experience it." Now back at Pacific Theatre for a second run, the play will soon leave on a cross-Canada tour lasting until April 2004. Based in part on Frangione's own life, Espresso is "the sensual story of three fiery women-Vito's estranged daughter, his pit-bull of a second wife, and the family's wrinkled matriarch-who find humour and grace in the aftermath of a violent car crash that threatens to take from them the one man they all love." Woven in and amidst the family's temporal crisis, history, and search for human love is the story of a great Amante (lover) who shadows each woman and quotes to them from the Song of Solomon. "It is entirely biblical for Christ to manifest himself as the groom," Frangione said, "but we usually picture him at the altar in the suit, not in the honeymoon suite alive and kicking." Through the passionate acting of Frangione and fellow actor Todd Thomson, this painfully realistic story of love, life, and loss grows outward with multiple characters, shifts in both time and place, and expands far beyond the boundaries of the two actors, the writing, and the theater's intimate stage. By the time of the play's rapturous ending the audience and actors together have entered into something that can only be called transcendent. Those living in Canada can contact Pacific Theater for Espresso's tour dates. It's not too much to suggest that those who live in the Northwest region of North America take a long drive simply to see this important work of art. Espresso will be at Pacific Theatre September 19 - October 18, 2003.

To book tickets or find out more information on Espresso click here.

ImageJerome Witken: Taken
"As a figurative artist who deals in contemporary history, how could I avoid painting 9/11?" This question reveals the roots of Jerome Witkin's Taken, a monumental work painted in response to the 9/11 attacks. By combining what he calls "the privilege of imagination" with the loss of innocence, identity, and life felt after September 11, Witkin creates a monumental yet intimate portrayal of how the terrorist attacks changed Americans--especially New Yorkers--forever. From a woman on the subway being sexually assaulted by a devil-like figure (as two planes, visible outside the subway window, careen toward the twin towers), to a frame-by-frame depiction of a man's realization of wallet theft, identity theft, and, finally, loss of life, Witkin's painting illustrates how the events of September 11 affected not only the lives of those in the World Trade Center, but also the emotional and spiritual stability of an entire nation. Though tragedy permeates this painting, it does not exclude hope, suggested in the background of the painting by two heroic firefighters rushing upward to extinguish the flames of hate. This exhibit will be on display from September 6 - November 16, 2003 at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York.

To read Joel C. Sheesley's profile on Jerome Witkin in Image #11, click here. For more on this exhibit, click here..

Heartland Film Festival
The Heartland Film Festival is a nonprofit organization whose mission is "to recognize and honor filmmakers whose work explores the human journey by artistically expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life." From documentaries to animation, the festival screens films from around the world in an attempt to support those that strive for meaning and "take entertainment to a higher level." All of the films shown are awarded a portion of prize money. The festival also recognizes films released in the theater that seek to enrich, inspire, and provide hope to its viewers. Presented prior to a film's theatrical release, the Heartland Film Festival's Truly Moving Pictures Award, established in 2000, recognizes films of substance from Hollywood. The twelfth annual Heartland Film Festival is October 16-21, 2003 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

For more information, please visit Heartland's website.

Continuing Art Exhibits
Incarnations: A Nancy Jackson Retrospective

Incarnations, a Nancy Jackson retrospective exhibition of woven tapestries and painted icons, will be on display from September 27, 2003 to January 4, 2004 at the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum of Decorah, Iowa. Featuring three new tapestries created especially for this exhibit, Incarnations will also include the preliminary drawings, final cartoons and yarn samples that help shape the tapestry process; an intermediate-level gobelin tapestry workshop; and an artist talk. Jackson, known for her Norwegian and Byzantine inspired artwork, uses abstract spatial ideas to metaphorically explore the spiritual. About this approach she says, "Abstraction has been a fruitful visual form in my attempts to embody the sacred in my work. When I have moved into representational imagery occasionally in my career, I have always felt unable to find a voice that leaves enough mystery and open-endedness to resemble the Sacred I know at my core. This is not to say that other artists have not found a path through representation, but this has not been my path. Because I find that the grand Mystery of God is abstract, though felt, it seems fitting that my work should resemble that mystery in its attempts to embody this Mystery."

For more information on the Incarnations exhibit call 563-382-9681; e-mail [email protected], or click here.

ImageExcavating the Image: Biblical Subjects by Wayne Forte

The Reynolds Gallery at Santa Barbara's Westmont College will present an exhibit entitled Excavating the Image: Biblical Subjects by Wayne Forte. This collection, through which the artist explores the relevance of the Bible as a source for contemporary art, will include over sixteen years' worth of paintings and drawings of biblical subjects ranging from "narratives to liturgical pieces to updated interpretations of old master works." Acutely aware of "the tension between the figure and the paper's containing edge," Forte's work achieves a sense of compressed monumentality that is simultaneously majestic and intimate. His artwork was featured in Image #13 and his essay entitled "Confession and Revision" was also published in issue #38 as part of the "Bringing Home the Work" symposium. About his artistic process Forte says, "I initiate the creation of a painting, but soon the work takes on its own momentum and starts to feed its energy and ideas back to me. The painting guides me. This is what sustains me as an artist. This is what keeps me going. This is my reward."

This exhibit is open from August 18 to October 18, 2003 with a reception for the artist taking place on September 6 from 3-5. For more information see the gallery website.

If you have information other ImageUpdate readers might find interesting, share it here! Do you have a question that you hope a member of the ImageUpdate community might have the answer to? Ask it here. Have your messages posted by sending an email to [email protected].

Annnouncing the Paraclete Fiction Award
The 2004 Paraclete Fiction Award will be awarded at the Calvin Festival of Faith & Writing by contest judge Leif Enger for a novel with Christian themes by a new or emerging author as yet unpublished by a major house. The winner will receive $2000 in advance royalties and will be published by Paraclete Press. Submit a full-length novel manuscript of 40,000 words minimum by February 1 with a submission form and $25 entry fee.

Visit these two websites for guidelines and submission forms.

The Second Annual Arts Ministry Conference
Tending God's Garden: Arts Ministry in the Church
From October 16-18, 2003 IMAGO DEI: Friends of Christianity and the Arts, a regional, ecumenical Christian arts organization, will sponsor its second annual arts ministry conference, entitled Tending God's Garden: Arts Ministry in the Church. The conference will be held at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Mission, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City.

This conference, intended for all who appreciate the arts, represents an attempt to extend the creative dimensions of the life of faith and foster the development of ministries in a wide variety of different artistic disciplines. The conference will include worship services that incorporate music, visual arts, dance, poetry, and drama; twenty-eight workshops ranging from arts ministry, to sacred dance to the environment; and speakers from both Roman Catholic and a wide range of Protestant backgrounds. Topics include Father Paul Turner's Church Music: What a Garden Sounds Like; Executive Director and founder of the Cathedral Arts Project, Brother William Woeger on Faith and Art: Cooperating with the Creator; and former president of the North American Academy of Liturgy, Gail Ramshaw's address entitled In the Midst of the Garden: The Tree of Life in the Bible and Christian Tradition. The weekend will also include performances by the Störling Dance Theatre, the Northwestern College Drama Ministries Ensemble, and an art exhibit from Christians in the Visual Arts.

For more information about the conference or about the work of IMAGO DEI: Friends of Christianity and the Arts, click here, call 785-842-2680, or e-mail [email protected].

Call for Papers
A conference entitled "The Arts and Visions of the Apocalypse" will be held on January 31st, 2004 at St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri. This conference is sponsored by IMAGO DEI: Friends of Christianity and the Arts, with co-sponsorship from the St. Paul School of Theology and the Friends of Chamber Music of Kansas City.

Speakers include Marilyn Stokstad, Emeritus Professor of Art History, The University of Kansas; Thomas Allen Seel, Author of A Theology of Music For Worship Based on the Book of Revelations; Leland Ryken: Professor of English at Wheaton College; and Michael Bauer, Professor of Organ and Church Music at The University of Kansas.

Paper proposals may be sent to Michael Bauer, 3908 Stetson Drive, Lawrence, KS, 66049. Proposals should include a brief biographical sketch and are due by November 15, 2003. Special consideration will be given to proposals that integrate theological and artistic concerns. For more information, click here or e-mail [email protected].

Pamela Nelson and Ginger Henry Geyer Exhibit
The Cidnee Patrick Gallery of Dallas, Texas presents the recent work of Pamela Nelson and Ginger Henry Geyer. This exhibit will run from September 5--October 18, 2003 with the Dada Fall Gallery Walk taking place on Saturday, September 20, from 12--8pm. For more information email [email protected] or click here.

2004 Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop
The 2004 Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop will be held March 25--27, 2004 on the University of Dayton campus in Dayton, Ohio. The workshop focuses on humor and human interest writing. Faculty include Jill Conner Browne, New York Times best-selling author of the Sweet Potato Queens' books; Craig Wilson, USA Today columnist and author of It's the Little Things: An Appreciation of Life's Simple Pleasures; Karyl Miller, Emmy award-winning writer-producer who worked on "The Cosby Show" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"; Bruce Cameron, syndicated humor columnist and New York Times best-selling author of 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter; Jeff Herman, literary agent and author of Writer's Guide to Book Editors, Publishers & Literary Agents; and many more. A complete faculty lineup and workshop schedule can be found here.

Vision VIII Call for Entries
Call for entries for Visions VIII, 8th Annual International Juried Art Exhibit of all media, fine art and craft, works having spiritual and religious themes. $4000+ in awards. Prestigious jurors. Submission deadline: January 31, 2004. Show will run April/May, 2004 and may travel. For prospectus, send SASE to: Visions VIII, c/o The Cathedral Foundation, 1140 Madison Avenue, Covington, KY 41011, or contact Jennifer Weber at [email protected].


Spotlight on the Conference
In this section of ImageUpdate, we will occasionally present short features on individual workshops and other aspects of the Image Conference that might catch your interest…

Image Conference Feature: Joy Williams
Novelist Joy Williams will now be featured as a plenary speaker at the upcoming Image conference, "A Narratable World: The Theological Implication of Story," to be held in Seattle November 6-9. A recent and welcome addition to the conference, Williams replaces Alice McDermott on the roster of speakers and, as a writer of fiction, will make a distinct contribution to the discussion of the function of story. Williams's first novel, State of Grace, appeared in 1973 to overwhelming critical acclaim and was nominated for a National Book Award. She has produced three additional novels-The Changeling, Breaking and Entering, and The Quick and the Dead-as well as two short story collections, a travel guide to the Florida Keys, and nonfiction articles published in such magazines as The Paris Review, Esquire, Tri-Quarterly, The New Yorker, Harper's, Granta, and Spin. In 1999, she won the Rea Award for Short Fiction.

To learn more about the Image conference or to register online, go to the conference website.

ImageIntruding Upon the Timeless:
Meditations on Art, Faith, and Mystery

By Gregory Wolfe
Originally published as the editorial statements at the beginning of each issue of Image, these short, evocative essays constitute a new Christian aesthetic for our time. Each of the meditations is like a polished gem: radiant, gracefully written, beautiful in itself, but also serving as a stimulus to further reflection. They remind us of the way that both faith and imagination reach beyond the limits of reason to intuit the mystery of redemption. Among the subjects of these meditations are: the intimate relationship between faith and imagination, the spiritual value of irony, the great divorce between Christian subculture and the larger American mainstream, and post 9/11-America's lack of a tragic sensibility. The book is enhanced with the engravings of Barry Moser, one of America's leading artist/illustrators.

Annie Dillard writes: "Gregory Wolfe's vision is the animating force behind Image, one of the best journals on the planet. Intruding Upon the Timeless, a collection of his pieces from Image, takes its title from a phrase of Flannery O'Connor. That's apt, because not since O'Connor's Mystery and Manners has there been such bracing insight on the pile-up where art and faith collide. This book will rev your engines and propel you down the same road."

To order Intruding Upon the Timeless at a pre-publication discount of 20% click here. (Offer good until October 1.)

Keeping an Eye on Image: Our New Contributors Index
You can now make use of a complete list of contributors for every issue we've ever published! The index is divided by genres, including poetry, fiction, interviews, and visual art, as well as such features as our "Confessions" and "Life in the Industry" essays. Clicking on any of the genres will link to a page that shows an alphabetical list of authors, the issue they contributed to, and the title of their work in that issue. If the artist is a past Image Artist of the Month, their name links to their Artist of the Month page. The issue number links to the table of contents for that issue. And if the material has been uploaded to our site, the contribution's title links to the work itself. We think it's a pretty handy item; we hope you do, too.

Click here to go directly to the Contributor Index.

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Publisher: Gregory Wolfe
Editor: Julie Mullins
Contributors: Rachael Darden, Matt Malyon, Julie Mullins, Gregory Wolfe

ImageUpdate is the biweekly e-mail newsletter from Image, a quarterly print journal that explores the relationship between Judeo-Christian faith and art through contemporary fiction, poetry, painting, sculpture, architecture, film, music, and dance. Each issue also features interviews, memoirs, essays, and reviews.

ImageUpdate brings you news about books, CDs, organizations, websites, conferences, exhibitions, and tours -- all of which inhabit the intersection between faith and imagination. ImageUpdate will also notify you whenever a new issue of Image is printed, an Image event is upcoming, or new content is posted to our website.

To unsubscribe, send a message to [email protected] consisting of the text "unsubscribe imageupdate" in the body of the message.

Copyright © 2003 Center for Religious Humanism. All rights reserved.