A three-panel mixed-media painting was the focal point of this installation. A corridor of six doorjambs, each suspended slightly higher than the one before it, progressed toward the painting. This "hallway" of lifting doorjambs directed the viewer toward the painting as well as gave one the sensation of ascent. The painting continued this motif of deep space with a series of columns receding into distant light and glory.
My initial plan was for an enclosed space, a blood-red, womb-like space that could be closed off, so it would be possible to add the sound of a roaring of many waters or waterfalls (Niagara Falls). This sound, a symbol for the voice of God, would heighten the sense of mystery and power when entering the room, and as viewers made their way through the blood-stained doorjambs.
In our culture of image overload, reality is being challenged. Bill Viola said in a recent interview in Art in America, "The crisis of representation and identity is how the world meets the mind, not the eye" (March 1998, p. 76). I too am using universally understood images to create a complex perceptual experience that deals with issues of faith.
I hope this installation will challenge the viewer's mind as well as his eyes, as he considers issues of life and death and faith.
In James Thompson's article "Faith and Doubt in the Postmodern Wonderland: Searching for the Spiritual in Contemporary Art" (ARTVU, Spring 1991, V. 5, No. 1), he writes, "How much profoundly religious art our time can produce is unclear. It may be stating the obvious to suggest that there are only two positions from which it may be achieved, one of serious doubt and skepticism or one of profound belief that does not aim at clear understanding but aspires to suggestive evocation." It is the latter position that my proposed installation would attempt to arouse, that is "suggestive evocation." And as Thompson says, "Mortal creation cannot rival divine creation, but when it ceases to try, it rapidly loses consequence."