That Humbled and Astonished state that leads to irresistibly foolish Compliance with Extraordinary Plans
©Jennifer Neal 2017 / acrylic and pen on paper / accordian fold booklet
Acrylic, pen, and watercolor on canvas 16"x20" / Jennifer Neal / copyright 2016
Yes, the crown is upside down. I painted it that way because it reminds me that when the Messiah comes to us, when he is born into humanity, he brings a kind of authority and order that takes our understanding of power and righteousness and turns it upside down. What kind of authority rules out of humble, vulnerable circumstances? What kind of King honors the outcast, sick, dirty, and diseased? What ruler has the capacity to see the full substance of people behind the distorting facades of wealth, position, and access to power, or oppression, imprisonment, and abuse? How do love, mercy, and sacrifice establish a Kingdom?
This artwork is an attempt to engage those questions, and affirm that Jesus ushers in a kingdom that takes much of what we understand and turns it upside down and backwards from generation to generation throughout time and place. Every name of the lineage of Jesus as recorded in Luke has been included on this canvas, with at least one letter of every name turned upside down to represent both the separation of humanity from God and the turning of humanity towards Him through Christ. If you look carefully through all the layers of names from all the generations you can see God behind it all, at the beginning.
This one started from a photo that I took in New Zealand of the this twisted, wind worn, tree, and the plants around it. The photo was kind of mediocre. But this tree strikes me as being so creaturely. The branches are like antlers, and it just seems so ALIVE to me, in a more personal and responsive sort of way.
I did this art for a Thanksgiving Eve Service and wrote an explanation/meditation for it.
Abundance is for Everyone was inspired by a French fashion show designed by Raf Simons, the head of the House of Dior in Paris. The venue was an old French mansion that was a bit run down. Instead of slapping on some fresh paint he covered every wall, inside and out, from floor to ceiling, in fresh flowers. The perfume of the house was noticeable from several blocks away. It was a stunning statement of beauty and abundance that has stayed with me since I saw it in a documentary last summer. Abundance is for everyone. That is the stunning promise of Christ. It can be a shocking, and even offensive statement depending on who you are and where you are in the world and what’s going on that you may or may not be thankful for. But it is a statement of hope that like a house overflowing with fresh, blooming beauty, should catch our attention even if we can’t yet see it right in front of us.