The Passover

48" x 84"
oil on Canvas
This work was created in collaboration with the Group of 27 Concert presented on Feb. 9th 2013.

When I was given the programming of Testimony and Reason it was hard for me to simplify my thoughts on the varying complexity of the musical subjects; The Holy Eucharist and an Unreasonable World.  How do I visually contribute or narrate on these deep subjects dealing with Faith and Mystery, reason and unreason?  I stood staring at the canvas, listening to the Schubert Mass and didn’t know where to begin.  It felt some how appropriate that my journey on this project was beginning in mystery, but I had to trust that if I remained a humble participant my faith would reveal the imagery to me…… and so I began.

I painted the back drop of the work, mimicking what I imagined the first swirling particles of life to be; full of harmony driven chaos, an uninhibited expression of dynamism and a flurry of contrasting motion and color full of brilliant light!  Taking a moment, I stood in front of this flurry of color and motion, and I saw that it desired a purpose or direction; it couldn’t merely remain a meandering swirl of the firmament.  It needed to be anchored with imagery and meaning….it required a story.

I sat for a moment to flip through my art books and was guided to one of art’s great masters, one of my favorite teachers, Leonardo Da Vinci; I opened to The Last Super,(a masterful illustration of Jesus and his 12 disciples sharing his last meal, a Seder in remembrance of the Passover).  I sat and I stared in awe and excitement and suddenly felt the burden of unknowing give way to deep inspiration and direction.  The revelation of this biblical narrative set me on a frenzy of unhampered creativity and understanding.  I soon began to see how my faith was informing my reason and how mystery was a necessary component of my discovery….Was it like this for Pascal when he set out to discover his theory of probability?  Beginning with a spark of an idea that led him on a journey to prove what he intuitively knew to be true?  Could we say the same for Moses and his monumental task of emancipating the Hebrews from slavery? I continued amassing oil onto the canvas in methodical increments, allowing for a slow gestation of abstract imagery to immerge.  Eventually, after many sessions of waiting and watching, “the Passover” came to be; a dynamic reverberation of the Holy Eucharist in color, narrating the mystery of our faith and the duality of a reasonable and unreasonable world.

As the motion of my brush died down, it occurred to me that the only thing missing from the painting was a simple word; a word that could bring cohesion to all the varying complexities of this multi media program and more importantly, justify the reasoning behind our creativity…TRUST.

After all, we do not always begin a journey with understanding but rather do so in faith.
The Rite of Spring  by  Stravinsky
With Permission:  2013 Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Recorded live in Roy Thompson Hall, December 4 & 6, 2008
Listen to the TSO's full 2013 performance of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring: