Collage—a technique that involves the re-purposing or re-positioning of materials and images to create a new whole. It is quite possibly the most explicit reminder that all art—each act of creation—is ultimately a kind of re-arrangement of materials. The word itself emerges from the French meaning “to glue” or “to paste.” Collage, not unlike resurrection, is a method of sticking together. Both processes rely on a fundamental belief that preservation, freshly-executed, can be itself a kind of newness—startling, possibly auspicious, and yes, maybe, beautiful.
This series of works by GJ Gillespie begins with “Angelus #14.” The Angelus is a Roman Catholic prayer that commemorates the Incarnation of Christ. The lines which give this piece a charged energy are more concentrated and directed at the center of the piece. Towards the edges, however, they fling out, frenetic. Notice, too, the gold sprinkled around these shadowy figures—a yellow which persists throughout this series. The next image, entitled “Kyrie Eleison” meaning Lord, have mercy, is a depiction of the crucifixion. There is a distinct yellow-white halo-like space around the crucified figure—that clear separation between the ethereal and the human. This piece is followed by “Three Angels”—a title which alludes, perhaps, to those apocalyptic messengers in Revelation 14 or Abraham’s angelic visitors in Genesis 18. This piece emphasizes, with an arresting vibrancy, that same distinction between blue and yellow, between the anthropomorphic and the divine. Finally, this issue’s cover image, “Resurrection #3,” in which the human is most merged with spirit—the body not entirely erased, but definitely distinct. Here, too, color palette loses those sharp distinctions as seen in “Three Angels.” The darkness of this piece reminds us, perhaps, that the resurrection is not an erasure of what has happened or a refusal of suffering’s having-been. Jesus rises, quite literally, with wounds in hand. And there is being, again. There are these beings, again. There is dancing everlasting.
Alexandra Marie Green
By GJ Gillespie
GJ Gillespie is a collage artist living in a 1928 Tudor Revival farmhouse overlooking Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island (north of Seattle). In addition to natural beauty, he is inspired by art history—especially mid century abstract expressionism. The “Northwest Mystics” who produced haunting images from this region 60 years ago are favorites. Winner of 19 awards, his art has appeared in 57 shows and numerous publications. When he is not making art, he runs his sketchbook company Leda Art Supply.