The concept was to come up with a design that would be evocative of a life journey with an uplifting ambiance. It was laid out very clearly that the image must not include any overt religious symbolism but rather, it must only suggest a certain emotional framework with the use of such abstract qualities as color, mood and atmosphere. My initial reaction to this fairly open-ended criteria was to suggest three panels be used as the main motif...to suggest a feeling of transition or progression from one state of being to another. Later, I decided to use images of tree, a path, water, sky and light.
I just wanted to draw your attention to the third panel for this discussion:
|The third panel was a bit too foreboding.|
It was brought to my attention that the 'dark cloud' at the extreme right-hand side of the panel was perhaps a little too dark and foreboding. Was there any chance that I could peel back the cloud a bit to reveal more of the splendid light? One of the committee members is a Christian Pastor and he explained to me that he intended to use the mural as a talking point to council bereaved families.
He pointed out that though the image was deliberately non-religious, he nevertheless wished to refer to the artwork in his work with grieving families...and that he needed something in the mural to offer a sense of hope and serenity to his delivery. I was very intrigued to hear him explain how his work with grieving families would spin out of my artwork. Even more compelling were his pleas for a more revealing glimpse of the 'light'. Fascinating!
|Though it was not my explicit intention, the interpretation of the purple cloud was in fact the 'veil of death' by the committee members.|
The committee members expressed concern and regret that they felt it necessary to intervene when at the outset they had in fact granted me 'Carte Blanche' with the design...within a certain sensibility relating to the space in which the work was destined to hang. I, on the other hand, welcomed their input and said as much. I found the idea that they could perceive so acutely the subtle symbolic nuances of the piece a testament to the visceral power of visual art to stir up the emotions.
I was happy to meet their concerns -so diplomatically framed- by repainting that section of sky to introduce more light and to have this light reflecting more brilliantly on the water below. But I was not about to show the shining sun...as it would be getting too close to symbolizing the Face of the Godhead. Which is something I am not willing to do, as I feel it is quite preposterous and impossible.
|Reworked version of the third panel shows a more brilliant sky with its attendant sparkles on the surface of the water.|
|A more brilliant, promising sky.|
While I was only too happy to make the modification, I could only go so far with it. The face of the sun remains hidden and obscured by the remnant of the great purple 'veil of death'. I am comfortable with the idea that the 'face of God' remain mysterious and un-knowable.