A few months back I was invited to contribute to an exhibition in North Wales that is being curated by my friend and fellow pioneer Gavin Mart. Here’s the link to the show, it will be well worth having a look if you can get there as Gav has gathered a stunning group of artists.
Each piece is based on an aspect of Jesus’ story running up to Easter. The part of the narrative that immediately leapt out at me was the passage where Jesus raises his friend Lazarus from the dead. It resonates with some of the things I have been exploring in my own life recently and so the painting ended up being quite a personal piece.
For me this was also a joyful return to painting in the studio. The model posed for photographs as he wrestled with removing his t-shirt. I printed some of the photos onto acetate and, overlapping the images, projected them onto the canvas to get an idea of how the painting might work. It’s such a rich, multisensory experience applying thick oil paint to canvas and I owe much to my recent visit to a Gerhard Richter show for inspiration as to technique and style.
Here is the painting and below is the commentary I’ve sent along to the exhibition.
Oil on canvas 100cmx150cm
“Lazarus, come out!” Jesus calls to his friend lying in a grave.
For me this call has a clear resonance with the experience of gay and lesbian people – that often painful, messy struggle of coming out. Thus exposing a deep and essential aspect of yourself that no one else has seen which is ultimately liberating and feels like rising to a new life. The wider call is to us all to come out and to genuinely be the person we were made to be, so much of which we keep hidden. It takes courage to face the difficulty and vulnerability of that process.