Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Light

by Gregg Chadwick

Gregg Chadwick
Joshua Tree
24"x24" oil on linen 2014

My recent paintings are taking me to times and places that have deep resonance. This newest body of work is marked by time and memory and  explores our present reality in the context of the sometimes hauntingly real shadows that come and go in our daily existence. 
At times spiritual echoes find their way into my art. Sometimes this sense of something bigger or deeper than ourselves is found in the images and locations created within the paintings. At other times this numinous quality is carried by the light within the work.

Recently in the studio, I have been thinking about the works of Caspar David Friedrich in  the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin. Many of Friedrich's paintings depict what I see as an Easter light - a light of promise and redemption. 

Caspar David Friedrich
Village Landscape In Morning Light
21 5/8"x28" oil on canvas 1822
Nationalgalerie, Berlin
photo by Gregg Chadwick

This morning I have been playing a video of Bruce Springsteen playing his moving ballad, Jesus Was an Only Son. Almost ten years ago I wrote - Bruce Springsteen is not afraid to create music with deep spiritual roots. “I was brought up Catholic -"Jesus is my home boy", Springsteen exclaimed to the audience at the Pantages - then gently moved into Jesus Was an Only Son.

The great religious historian, Huston Smith said something similar to me when he professed his deep admiration for the wisdom traditions of the East yet described his spiritual practice as rooted in his childhood upbringing as the son of a Protestant missionary family in pre WWII China. Springsteen seems to echo Huston Smith's thought that spirituality can quickly become mush if time has not been given to one's own history. Only by knowing who we are and where we come from can we understand that the beauty of religion, and life, is found in inclusion not exclusion. 

Bruce Springsteen - Jesus Was An Only Son - live on Storytellers 

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