My show was yesterday and it went very well. I will talk about it more in the near future, but for now I want to post the artist statement that accompanied my work. Here is what I wrote…
Portraits of Christ
Recent Work by Adrian Hanft, III
What causes someone to create a picture of God? Is it not incredibly arrogant to presume that you can create something that resembles the holy? When does a good intentioned tool of faith transform into an empty symbol? At what point does an image become an idol? A crutch. An obstacle between us and God? How many times can an image be reproduced before it has more in common with the enemies of Christianity than the truth it supposedly represents?
These questions eventually escape the realm of portraits of Christ and expand into criticism of Christianity itself. How insulting it must be to God that we weekly visit a pretty building expecting Him to meet us there. Do we really think God wants anything to do with our dust covered symbols? And then there are the Christians themselves. Hypocrites. Sinners. Who do we think we are fooling? Our hears are as empty as the crosses that hang around our necks. There is nothing inside us of value and that void is reflected in our religious routine. We don’t deserve to enter God’s presence and I don’t know why he would let us anyway. God should laugh at our art, level our buildings and destroy anyone with the audacity to claim to know Him. So why doesn’t he?
That about summed up my thoughts last year when I was approached about having a show of my “Christian” artwork. It caught me at a point where I was trying to figure out what it meant to call myself a Christian. If you can relate to the questions I was asking as I evaluated my Christianity, then I hope you can share my fascination with the images of Christ in my show. I also hope that your journey doesn’t end with the cynicism I have presented up to this point. I have come to the conclusion that Christianity is more than our art and religious pomp. The paradox is that God loves us. He comes with compassion. Where we deserve death, he gives us life. He sacrificed himself to cleanse our filth. Likewise he humbles himself and joins us in our churches. He humbles himself by using our images of Him for good. He humbles Himself by entering our hearts. He is able to make something beautiful where there was once only sin and corruption. While it is easy to be cynical about religous art and Christianity in general, these things do have power and great potential. God can (and does) use wretched ornaments to serve his purposes. He can bless our futile attempts at divine representation and fill our lives with meaning. You could say that He is the master painter and He wants to paint our lives. My prayer is that God will touch His brush to our lives so that we can live again, and that the love that we’ve lost in the painting of life may come again. Thank you for visiting my show. Sincerely, Adrian Hanft