Scott Brennan

Man

 

Injury

 

Window and Exhaust Vent

 

 

 


Scott Brennan, a photographer, writer, and educator, lives in Miami, Florida.  His work has appeared in a number of magazines, including Smithsonian, Witness, The Journal, The Berkeley Journal of Sociology, and The Carolina Quarterly.  He is an associate artist at the Bakehouse Art Complex.

Amorelle Jacox

(New York), oil and graphite on canvas, 96″x54″.

 

Study of cups, oil on canvas, 16”x20”.

 

Study of shelves holding, oil on panel, 2018.

 

End of the Day, 2018, mixed media on stretched muslin, 83×71″.

 

All Grown Up, 2018, oil and graphite on panel, 6×6″.

 

 

 


Amorelle Jacox is a visual artist from Ohio, currently living and making work in Brooklyn, New York. She briefly attended Parsons, The New School, and has a BA in Fine Arts from Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Jacox has participated in numerous group shows in Ohio and New York and has had solo exhibits in Ohio, Kentucky, and Georgia. Her works and writing have been published in Penmarks Literary Journal.

Federico Federici

 

Brooks in the Woods, 2002, oil, watercolors, spray paint and paper on plastered canvas, 50×40 cm.

 

 

La Montagne Saint Victoire, oil, vinavil, white flour, plastic bags on board, 47x35cm.

 

Da ist der Waldrand, 2010, oil, enamel paint, spray paint, plastic bags, loam and other materials on board, 120×80 cm.

 

Noon in the Alps, 2002, oil, enamel paint, loam and plastic bags on board, 50x40cm.

 

22 Shortest Pieces, 2018, oil on rough paper, 210x297mm.

 

Winter Dance, 2018, oil on rough paper, 210x297mm.

 

Winter Arias, 2018, oil on rough paper, 210x297mm.

26 Solos and 4 Silences, 2018, oil on rough paper, 210x297mm.

 

 


Federico Federici is a physicist, a writer and a media artist across the fields of soundscape, visual arts and installation. He lives and works between Berlin and the Ligurian Apennines. His works have appeared in several print and online publications, including 3:AM Magazine, Otoliths, Raum, Sand, Trafika Europe, Magma Poetry, Stadtsprachen Magazin, The New Post-Literate, Utsanga. His website provides detailed information on his oeuvre, as well as video documentation, text excerpts and portfolios. His last asemic/concrete books are “The way I discovered the Berlin wall has fallen” and “Liner notes for a Pithecanthropus Erectus sketchbook,” with a foreword by SJ Fowler. With the soundscape Brief aus Treblinka, he is currently taking part in the installation “res.o.nant” by Mischa Kuball at the Jewish Museum in Berlin (2018-2019).

rolling archives: http://leserpent.wordpress.com
personal page: http://federicofederici.net

Searching for God in the ESC

by Heather Burtman

 

It was October and there were stars in the concrete jungle. You could kick a chip bag up with your shoe and scuff through plastic wrappers like fallen leaves, and it was almost like a perfect fall. Though we could not see them, the milkweed pods were spooning each other in the pastures and the seeds of silver dollar plants were sneaking into translucency. My roommates and I were all twenty-something and we believed things stubbornly one moment and doubted them the next. Everything was on the verge of nothingness or love. The apples were apocalyptic or else they were just apples.

The just apples I packed for lunch with a quarter cup of peanut butter in a lunch bag that smelled of leaked tomato soup. It was Thursday maybe, and running late per usual, I half-jogged the twenty minute stretch between the church where I lived and the homeless shelter where I worked. I passed by lemon and violet and gray houses, some peeling, others pristine. My focus blurred in and out: a bright blue slice of sky, a broken TV, a cracked flower pot spilling daisies, a cat with steel-colored eyes. I would sit in on my first depression screening at the shelter that day.

As I jogged, I thought about milk. Our fights back at the house seemed to start and end with milk these days. People drank too much milk – our grocery budget was exhausted. The women wanted to buy Greek yogurt, but that was a luxury item. Feta, on the other hand…

Our other pet argument was theology. Wasn’t open communion an abomination? Did the prayer really count if it didn’t come from the BCP? Or did the BCP actually invalidate prayer, make it rote and insincere? My roommates would discuss these things heatedly at community dinner over cheap cuts of chicken from Stop N Shop. As the night went on, knives would saw harder and voices would rise.

When the conversation promised to drag long into the night, I would clear my dishes and retreat to the attic. A pair of nuns used to live in that attic and there were still little wooden crosses hung on the wall keeping watch over our empty suitcases. One of the nuns’ names had been Ruby. She reportedly had had a drinking habit and definitely had a fierce stare which now looked out from us from a framed snapshot on our living room coffee table. “Welcome to the Episcopal Service Corps,” that scowl said. To Sister Ruby’s perpetual dismay, I was always late for Morning Prayer.

Our goals, as members of the ESC, were innocuous enough; most of us just trying to save the world in one way or another. Or else just trying to figure out what to do with another year of our lives and have a place to eat and sleep and grow up a little more slowly. Yet, the fact was that we often did not get along, and even the attic didn’t provide total escape. You could hear everything in that house, and the words would continue to drift up the stairs: liturgy, sacristy, thurifer, high church. Words that I couldn’t have argued about if I had tried. I had been baptized in a swimming pool at a Day’s Inn, for God’s Sake. I still didn’t know how to take communion properly, mostly because I wasn’t quite sure what the word, “intinct” meant. At the moment the most sacred word I knew was “alone.”

My first depression screening at the shelter felt voyeuristic at best, given that, as an intern, I had little to offer. The woman staying there with her four children wore her hair in a tight bun. She apologized for the mess and offered us glasses of water which we declined. We sat down, carefully arranging ourselves in a half circle around the woman, trying to make it look less like three on one.

The curtains were closed, and the light filtered in warm yellow. There was a jaundiced sadness to the stack of dishes that sat by the sink, especially the overturned sippy cup. Though very possibly I was just superimposing. “Do you have a support system?” The case manager began. “Are there people you can talk to? Do you feel alone?” The woman began to sob. I tried not to stare and also not to look like I was looking away. We should have agreed to the water, I thought. Though I quickly learned that this was a ritual: the client always offers water; the case manager always declines.

Afterwards I went home and a roommate, who was both very into the liturgy and experimental baking, had made a pie whose main ingredient was oranges. He offered me a piece; everything was the color of sunshine that day. I ate it and, though it was terrible, I thought then that I did not care about the milk, that maybe we should, in fact, buy more milk.

“What does a high church liturgy possibly have to say to a woman living in a homeless shelter?” I wanted to ask him.

“What does a low church liturgy possibly have to say to a woman living in a homeless shelter?” He might have asked me. But I didn’t start the conversation in the first place.

I choked down my pie and looked out the window. The leaves were falling, tarnished gold. Next month our church would spend a small fortune on wreaths and candles. Like the oil poured out on Jesus feet, they would say, there’s beauty in lavish waste. Maybe.

I had to laugh at myself a little. Just another day in the life of an ESC member; even the leaves prompted theological reflection.

Growing up my family attended a non-denominational church in Ontario called Shallow Lake. My memories of it are disjointed and fleeting: losing my Sunday school dues – a single quarter – down the sides of church pews; spitting watermelon seeds in the grass outside; the red glow of an oil lamp at a Christmas party. The day I picked a scab and showed up to Sunday School with dried blood on my shirt. My Sunday school teacher asked me if I had been eating chocolate ice cream, and I swallowed hard and said yes. That is, I agreed to the most comfortable deception. Is that all religion is? But even then I didn’t really think so. I remember also a woman at church who wore flowy pants and danced with a tambourine like she really meant it. And yet I might have been a happier child if I thought God hadn’t existed.

They say that our image of our father affects our image of God, but the fact is that my father left when I was two, and I never really knew him. I saw God as an opposite; as a hyper-presence, aware of my every action and thought, who knew, for example, that I loved my mother more than God. God, I also knew, was disappointed in my mother because she was getting divorced. God did not sanction divorces, even when they weren’t your fault.

But always remember, even when God is disappointed, God still loves you. I was often reminded of this. But I had nightmares that said otherwise: sharks grabbing at the edge of my red dress, wolves lurking along forest paths, the Jungle Book gone gray scale and filled with snakes and sharp-toothed monkeys. The worst one was my mother being crucified. I had that dream once. I would wake her in the middle of the night and she would draw me a bath and try to coax my nightmares out of me, but I never would tell her that one because it involved religion and God, and I thought it might scare her.

We lived near Georgian Bay and I can remember looking out at night over the bay as the lights of distant cottages winked out one by one. In the dregs of the last light, I felt terror for what became of people when they died. Lord Jesus, come into my heart. Those were the words of salvation I was taught and I whispered them to myself each night before I went to bed in hopes that one of the times it would take.

Even now I can’t fully explain why I was such an anxious child. Perhaps the simple fact of it is that when there is one parent and not two, life becomes harder to hide from your children. You see your mother having a panic attack on the stairs. You see her crying over receipts, kneeling to put frozen pot pies in the oven after a sledding accident and a busted ankle that will not heal. She has been crawling around on the floor for awhile now, but it doesn’t seem like a game anymore. You are small and you do not really understand, and there is nothing you can do to make her feel better.

More than that, there is no promise that life will ever be good really. God, the God your mother prays to, did not make it good for her. Why will God, the God you pray to, make it good for you? Your worship doesn’t change anything; you owe it to God, that’s all.

Like many, I became suspicious of the God of my childhood in college. I thought I had left the faith of my childhood completely behind by the end of my junior year. But still there was something I missed about looking at a cherry blossom tree and thinking it might have something to do with the way the world was brought forth in love.

Towards the end of college I became increasingly conscious of my continued search for God. I didn’t know what I believed. I didn’t even know if I really wanted to believe. I just wanted something. I might have gone on a cross-country road trip or a really long hike or a retreat at a monastery, but I didn’t. Instead, I started attending a Lutheran church, I worked at a Lutheran summer camp, and then joined the Episcopal Service Corps.

As the weather got warmer, my roommates and I started laying out on the section of tar paper roof outside my bedroom window. The roof was clearly visible from the rectory where the priest lived, but the lights were off which meant we were alright. It was just spring and the air wasn’t too sticky. We were looking up at the pine tree and above that the church steeple. Even above the church steeple was a sky, a hierarchy which I found increasingly important. A pollution of light streamed out of J.Crew and the Apple Store, and the stars wrinkled in the sky.

The church steeple was beautiful really, burnt, red brick. I didn’t care so much what happened inside it, but here from the outside it was beautiful. The pine tree was beautiful too and the smoky, polluted sky and the moonglow eyes of a cat slipping in and out of the courtyard gates. That night my mom called to tell me that our neighbor in Ontario had been diagnosed with cancer. His wife had passed away from cancer years before.

During dinner my roommates discussed the merits of Rite I versus Rite II Eucharist. I ate quickly, rinsed off my dish and retreated to the attic. I forced myself into conversation with God. “This is bullshit,” I began. That’s all I really had to say, but God didn’t respond and that made me angry.

“If You can’t provide answers, You should really just leave me alone,” I called after God, “You should have let me stay an atheist that one year in college. Your leading me on, it’s irresponsible. I’m tired of moral objectivity and holding onto hope for the redemption of humanity.” I began to cry.

In college, when I first stopped believing in God, I found the news increasingly oppressive, not because it had grown any worse but because there would be no one there to fix it all in the end. Because it would not have mattered that anyone had suffered. All suffering was in vain, and birth, life, and death cycled on endlessly, meaninglessly. Believing in God, however, does not necessarily produce more comforting answers. If human suffering exists, then God must allow it to. That fact is inescapable and troubling.

Trying to believe in God, it turns out, means a lot of time spent raging against God in attics. “Explain Yourself,” I said finally through my tears, but God never did. I began to sob, and when I finally stopped I found myself once again alone with my silence. That night in the shower I tried my best to wipe away the tar paper smudges on my thighs. The roof and the beautiful sky overhead from earlier that night felt like some sort of betrayal.

That year in the ESC, I found that there were certain parts of the liturgy that touched me deeply, and I thought they might have something to do with the something I was looking for. “Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep, this night…” the choir sang during Compline. The single red candle we had placed on the pulpit flickered red. Smoke eddied along the dark ribs of the church ceiling. The smell of incense would cling to the clothes of the congregants long afterwards. It was a smell that was neither sour nor sweet, equal parts must and mystery. Vetiver, I thought. I had never smelled vetiver before, but the word seemed right. I would sit in a comforting haze of smoke and darkness and cry for the single mothers at the shelter.  Not just for them, but for my own mother too, and ultimately myself.

Compline I found beautiful at least, the way in which it created space for reflection, for grief or rejoicing or awe. But at morning mass a priest would be standing wearing green and gold-stitched vestments. “Pity the afflicted,” he would say as the stain-glass filtered the light through lemon and orange and rose-colored, and I wondered at what happened out in the real world, who sat weeping in their stairwell while we sat unblinking in church.

There was a special liturgy for the last Compline service of the year. A roommate and I were asked to be torches. I had no idea what that meant, but I agreed. What it meant was that we would be part of the procession, carrying torches at the sides of the bearer of the heavy, metal cross. There was a certain amount of sweating and nervous laughter whenever I was asked to take part in the actual liturgy; I didn’t know where to turn, when to bow. This time the church, except the candles and torches, was completely dark, and I imagined the congregation might have missed the slight delay in our bowing, the extra shuffle of our feet to compensate for a missed turn. But as it so happened, after we had finished processing, we couldn’t get the torches back in their stands properly. Whoever was holding the cross dropped it on the stone floor. The clang reverberated throughout the church.

I looked out at the dark church; how did they remain so silent? I looked up at the choir on the balcony, their faces illuminated by clip lights on their music stands. They were paid musicians I knew, many of them not religious. They were laughing, I could tell. I began to think about the fact that I was wearing a cassock. I had the sudden urge to stand up and proclaim to everyone in the church that I had been baptized in a hotel swimming pool on a college ministry retreat. “This is absurd!” I wanted to yell. “Don’t you see how absurd this all is?”

I want to be able to say that all of the years’ questionings finally folded themselves into something as graceful as a stiff lemon meringue. That after everything, I met God again in the ESC.

I think, quite possibly, that I did meet God once after a party. Maybe that seems strange, but my roommates and I did, in fact, go to parties. We would walk home from these parties in the middle of the night and someone would still be smoking hookah outside of Mamoun’s. It didn’t matter what sort of thing we had fought about that day; we would link arms. The sky would shimmer with cold and someone would murmur something about the stars.

I remember that on one of these long, cold walks home, a roommate who had perhaps earlier been expounding on the virtues of Lenten disciplines, turned to me very wistfully and said, “Some days, I’m not sure I believe in God at all.”

I am not sure what I replied then, but I can hear the whispered response I would give now in my head, “Me neither, but I want to.” I wonder sometimes if it’s like Harry Potter and the sorting hat, if it’s what we want that really matters the most in the end, if God factors that in. If hope might in the end stand in very neatly for faith. That night I truly think I met God in my roommate’s disbelief. Maybe disbelief is exactly where God meets us.

I think now about haggling theology over dinner, about a woman at the homeless shelter who applied for jobs over and over only to be rejected, about my mother crying in our stairwell, about myself crying in our attic. The way in which even baking a pie or taking a snapshot of the stars requires a level of belief, and therefore questioning of belief, that is ultimately exhausting. In the end we fall to our knees; we have tried so bitterly for so long. The only comfort I can think of lies in the slightest possibility that in the end nothing else is asked of us.

When we lived in Ontario by Georgian Bay, we also lived by a dam. The trout would come to jump it and swim back to their birthplace to spawn. They would grate themselves to pieces on the rocks, and we would find them dead and eyeless among the lower rocks. I remember the one time, just another bright, unplaceable summer day, that we found one alive. It was floundering in the small pools at the bottom of the falls, fins torn, chunks of flesh missing, gills shivering in the sunlight.

I watched, not old enough yet to be surprised by such an action, as my mother picked the fish up. It regarded her with eyes bulging and glittery with panic, and its fins flicked water across her chest. She carried that trout up and over the rocks and set it down in the calm, golden afternoon water at the top of the damn. The water stirred for a brief moment and the trout swam away home.

 

 

 


Heather Burtman is a second year Masters of Divinity student at Yale Divinity School. If she ever writes anything even half as good as Everything On A Waffle she’ll be satisfied with her literary career for life.  

Nicora Gangi

“Miro Dots”
Pastel, 15”x13”


“Kline Musings”
Pastel, 16”x15”

 

“The Call”
Pastel, 15”x15”

 

 

“The Open Way”
Pastel, 14”x8”

 


Nicora Gangi was educated at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York (BFA 1974 and MFA 1976). She was a Professor of Art at Syracuse University for 29 years. Gangi has been awarded many Grand Prize and First Place awards and grants including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award. She has been and continues to be published in numerous artist’s books on pastel paintings. She has lectured regionally and nationally as a visiting artist at universities and artist’s guilds. She is represented by: MME Fine Art, New York, vNY, Bender Gallery, Asheville, NC.

Artist’s Statement: In both my pastel drawings and oil paintings I explore Realism of the natural and human culture evoking a mysterious and nearly miraculous feeling of God’s light filled presence, contemptible darkness, glorious space, and even the passage of time. In the still life assemblages from which I draw lie implicit narratives and deeply symbolic communications humans instinctively seek: hope in the face of death, the possibility of genuine permanence, and the perseverance of meaning in spite of our weakness, brokenness, and failure.

My aim as an artist is to be the observer penetrating with eyes and heart this material world to realize and visualize at its core its ultimate corporeality, Jesus lives. Through His inspiration, I aim to render that aesthetic experience of being overwhelmed, filled with awe at something so majestic it evokes a sense of the One God, who created everything seen and un-seen.

http://www.nicoragangi.com

Ellen Carey

“Pull with Flare & Rollback” 
Polaroid 20×24 color positive negative prints, 60”x66”

 


Ellen Carey (b.1952 USA) is an educator, independent scholar, guest curator, photographer and lens-based artist, whose unique experimental work (1974-2017) spans several decades. Her early work Painted Self-Portraits (1978) were first exhibited at Hallwalls, an artists-run alternative space, home to the Buffalo avant-garde — Robert Longo and Cindy Sherman — and led to a group exhibit The Altered Photograph at PS 1, another avant-garde institution. The visionary curator, Linda Cathcart, of The Albright-Knox Art Gallery (AKAG) selected Carey’s work for this exhibition as well as The Heroic Figure which presented thirteen American artists for the São Paulo Biennale including Cindy Sherman, Nancy Dwyer, Julian Schnabel and David Salle, portraits by Robert Mapplethorpe; South/North American tour (1984-1986).

In 1983, The Polaroid Artists Support Program invited Carey to work at the Polaroid 20 X 24 Studio. Her Neo-Geo, post-psychedelic Self-Portraits (1984-88) were created, quickly followed by her stacked photo-installations Abstractions (1988-95). Her pioneering breakthrough the Pull (1996) and Rollback (1997) name her practice Photography Degree Zero (1996-2017). Here, she investigates minimal and abstract images with Polaroid instant technology partnered with her innovovative concepts, often using only light, photography’s indexical, or none, emphasizing zero. Her photogram work is cameraless; it parallels her Polaroid less-is-more aesthetic under her umbrella concept Struck by Light (1992-2017). Carey has worked in a variety of cameras and formats: Polaroid SX-70 and Polaroid PN film; black/white to color; 35mm, medium, and large format. Her experimental images, in a range of genres and themes, are one-of-a-kind.

Carey’s new series Caesura uses the photogram to introduce visual breaks in color; caesura is Greek or Latin for pause: in word (poetry) or sound (music). The images use color theory—RGBYMC—as palette and conceptual point-of-departure and light, photography’s indexical, as it blends, bends, and breaks across the paper. What remains are vertical bands in colors, dividing the rectangle in half, leaving white as the break or pause, in the composition; its “ caesura” or cut, dramatic black forms signal too much light, colors overlap as well.

www.ellencareyphotography.com

He Li

“untitled”
oil on canvas


He Li is a first year MAR in the Religion and Visual arts concentration within the ISM. He is a practicing painter with academic aspirations. His visual art intends to interpret reality through in a subtly spiritualizing and abstracting manner influenced by Christian philosophy and mysticism.

http://http.heliportfolio.com

Timothy Collins

“Ephphatha City” 
Mixed media assemblage on museum board, 12”x12”

 


Timothy Matthew Collins (b. 1981) is a collage artist, professional architectural designer, and architecture professor at the City College of New York (CUNY). Inspired by philosophy and theology—especially the works of Giorgio Agamben, Walter Benjamin, Léon Bloy, and G. K. Chesterton—his art focuses on the interactions between collage and the miniature. His recent projects explore Christian Eschatology through mixed media architectural models that incorporate found objects.

Artist’s Statement: This mixed media architectural model combines Catholic theology with collage techniques derived from early 20th century European Modernism, transforming the visual debris of our throwaway culture into a medium for prayer. Collage can preserve and even celebrate the discarded fragments prevalent today by identifying the source of their dignity in Christ’s incarnational reality. Praying before the Blessed Sacrament, I have often thought that it is not only humans who seek salvation in the Resurrection. I imagine the fallibility of matter itself, as it groans in its own decay, also sees fulfillment in Christ— with the Eucharist as a proleptic sign of this Eschatological materiality.

https://www.timothymatthewcollins.com

Constance Pierce


“Witness to a Healing “
Monotype

 


Constance Pierce received an MFA from the Hoffberger School of Painting, Maryland Institute College of Art, in Baltimore, MD. Over past few decades the artist has exhibited her work regionally, nationally, in Europe and most recently in Japan. Her sketchbooks were twice exhibited at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. Her monotypes and drawings are in the collection of this museum, as well as the Smithsonian Archives of American Art (DC), the National Gallery of Art Rare Book Library (DC), the Yale Center for British Art sketchbook archives (CT), the Georgetown University Special Collections (DC), the Henry Luce III Center for the Arts and Religion (DC) etc. and numerous private collections.

Artist’s statement: My work engages allegorical themes such as pilgrimage, lamentation, absolution and rebirth. Such themes reveal to me the ancient archetypes reborn in our culture of dissonance and division. These narratives, in all of their mythic and consuming drama, play out metaphorically in our global media daily.

My work often bears witness to the dispossessed and afflicted within our midst. I would like my images to disrupt complacency and bestir compassion. However, I also attempt to express the transcendent aspects of life, especially those liminal experiences wherein we are entrained by a grace beyond ordinary perception. Through expressions both intimate and expansive—emanating from both darkness and light—our art informs our humanity and may seed an interior metamorphosis.

http://www.oxfordtreehousegallery.com/constance-pierce/

(4) Art Images (and retrospective excerpts) © Constance Pierce | constance pierce – Academia.edu

Andrew Hendrixson


“Babel (I Will Never Leave You Again)”
Graphite, charcoal, and acrylic on paper. 36”x24.”

 


“Hard Ground in Winter”
Oil and wax on canvas, 72”x 72.”

 

Virga (for Kay Ryan)”
Oil on canvas, 72”x 122.”

 


Andrew Hendrixson holds a MFA in Painting & Drawing from the University of Florida. He has taught at the university level, was an Artist-in-Residence at the Whale and Star Studio, and has traveled the country as a part of an experimental performance work entitled The House Shows Project. He has collaborated with poets and incarcerated youth and his artwork and writings have been featured in publications including New American Paintings, The International Painting Annual, Curator Magazine. He is currently a graduate student at Yale University.

Artist’s Statement: These works were made after returning to the rural Midwest after a season of living and working in Miami during an artists residency. I left my studio in Miami and drove straight through to Ohio, arriving in the middle of the night to a heavy snowfall. I knew that it would not be an easy year. Each of these works is a recognition of things that were difficult and limping about that season, but each is resolute to bend life toward better trajectories, to find a life that I cannot refuse.

“Virga” employs a reference to the meteorological event in which precipitation falls but evaporates before reaching ground. “Hard Ground in Winter” is a memory of the floodlight outside the window of my childhood bedroom. “Babel” is a meditation on earnest but misplaced efforts and what it might mean to reassess and do better.

https://www.instagram.com/andrewhendrixsonstudio/?hl=en