Stories perform an important function: they allow us to see how an individual action fits into a much larger history. The philosopher Alisdair MacIntyre writes the following about story-telling:
Man is in his actions and practice, as well as in his fictions essentially a story-telling animal. He is not essentially, but becomes through history, a teller of stories that aspire to truth. But the key question for men is not about their own authorship; I can only answer the question ‘What am I to do?’ if I can answer the prior question ‘Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?'
MacIntyre is arguing that our lives are only seen as meaningful when they are seen as part of something greater. In one sense, the feeling that life has lost all meaning and purpose is a matter of perception: we see the trees, but not the forest. My paintings explore parts and wholes, and the relationship, if there is one, between them.
I like to paint reflections because they offer the unique vantage point of seeing two things at once. one day, I found myself standing, waiting, in my backyard where there was a trampoline covered with a tarp. A pool of water had collected in the center, and on the surface I could see the house next door and the grey sky above. The pool opened my sight to astounding depths—astounding for such a flat grey-green tarp. In this moment two realities that seemed so different, even contrary, were fused together in a glorious metaphor.
The Christian story of the Incarnation would have us consider that God and all the seeming triviality of what it means to be a human were united. The biblical writers and theologians of the Church tell us that God and human beings move along intertwining plot lines.
Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten son of God… very God of very God… came down from heaven… and was made man.
The birth of Christ is an historical event and Jesus is an historical person. Jesus says, “No one comes to the Father except through me,” (John 14:6) because “he is the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15). Jesus is both real and symbol; man and metaphor.