As an altar boy at St. Mary’s Church in Charleston, I was intrigued with the pageantry and mystery of the Stations of the Cross. Father Duffy, our dedicated Irish priest ( lots of alcohol), made Good Friday and the Stations something to look forward to. There was incense, smoke, lots of colorful costumes, and the procession itself. Ever since I started painting I have wanted to paint the Stations.
The Stations are a relative newcomer, starting about 800 A.D.– about the time of the Crusades. It was a lot easier to walk around the church than join a march to Jerusalem. The original number of Stations was about eight and this number gradually increased to 14.
This project uses the Stations as a metaphor which dives back to the original message of Christ (with similar foundations found in most religions): So in everything do unto others what you then have done for you (Matthew7:12). Love thy neighbor as thyself. (Matthew 22:31). These universal truths are, for me, the message of the Stations. There are people suffering and dying just like Christ did every day all over the world. We must learn to embrace this suffering if we are going to live more than a comedic farce.
There are 14 panels 3×2 feet, to be arranged in a circle. The viewer is invited to stand in the middle. The background color in the panels moves through the color wheel starting with yellow for Station one and moving back to yellow for panel 14 to complete the circle. The painting style changes throughout from comic to realism to abstraction. Symbols from Paleolithic to modern cultures are utilized. Gender, race, climate, religion, culture and dreams are all game.
The goal of this endeavor is to bring the viewer into a quiet, personal space of awareness.
Below are Stations I through XIV with the artist’s descriptions.