This summer I have been participating in a series of conversations about Art and Synodality. Sponsored by the Catholic Artist Connection, the conversations are in conjunction with the Catholic Church’s three year conversation on listening and walking together in its Synod on Synodality.
In Genesis 1:27 the author tells us that God creates man and woman “in the image of God.” The woman’s reflection in the mirror is a metaphor for woman created in the image of God. She and the child within her reflect the glory of God just as a mirror reflects light.
My new painting “Closed Door to Paradise” explores the relationship between Eve and Mary. The painting shows the door to heaven, to Paradise, closed after Adam and Eve took of the forbidden fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve’s doubt led to the closing of the door to Paradise. God forced them to flee the garden afterwards. They left the Garden of Eden and the harmony of life there and humankind has suffered from sin ever since.
The narrative thread of a tree continues throughout the entire Bible. The tree grow in Genesis, but by the time we get to Isaiah it has been cut down and only a stump remains. However, there is still hope that from the roots a shoot, a small branch will grow again and bear fruit. The image references the words of the prophet Ezekiel, “I the Lord … have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish” (17:24)… And then, towards the end of the Gospel narratives, we come to the tree of the cross.
Ascent/Descent is a contemporary interpretation of the Virgin Mary as Jacob’s Ladder. This reading of Genesis 28 views Jacob’s vision of the stairway ascending to heaven as a pre-figuration of the Virgin Birth. Mary was the fulfillment of the LORD’s promise in this passage “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Through Jesus’ salvation (brought forth by Mary) we are able to ascend to heaven, and through Mary, Jesus descended to earth. Mary was the vehicle, the connection between heaven and earth which allowed salvation to come.