“Babel and The Babe”

This is the title of a small study that sums up my Global City Babel Series about the antithetical war between the words of men (Babel) and the Word of God (The Babe of Bethlehem). I mentioned following up on this painting in a previous post called Word/Image.

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Babel and the Babe   7″ x 7″ graphite, watercolor, text on paper

This painting and the one following are featured on the covers of Issue 8.1 and 8.2 of  Relief Journal. Babel and The Babe is on the Spring cover. (It was incorrectly titled Babel Baby, suggesting instead a human baby or our human condition, not the intended “Incarnate Word of God made flesh,” the baby born in Bethlehem.)

The City of God / The City of Man, 36 x 36 inches mixed media on canvas will be featured on the Fall issue.

Global City Babel City of God City of Man

This encaustic mixed media painting, divided into two parts, is also about the antithetical war between Babel and The Babe. The bottom half includes black and white photographs I took in New York City and images of the 1999 war in Kosovo and the Balkans. The top half includes church architectural drawings, Arabic text — the Word became flesh descending on the tower, biblical texts and the large text — I AM. It is covered with golden beeswax.

The City of God / The City of Man
takes its title from Saint Augustine’s book De Civitates Dei, in which he presents human history as being “a conflict between the Earthly City (The City of Man) and the City of God, a conflict that will end in victory for the latter. The City of God is marked by people who realize the transience of the earthly city with its concern for power and pleasures. They dedicate themselves to the eternal truths of God revealed in the Word of God. The Earthly City consists of people who celebrate the pleasures and cares of the present world and who believe the ever-changing words that promote power, peace  and comfort on earth.

The basic thesis of Augustine’s book is the history of the world as the universal warfare between these two cities and between God and Satan — the theme of my Global City Babel Series. This biblical warfare began when man sinned. God told Satan in the Garden of Eden, “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). This conflict is also summarized in the final prophetic drama of the book of Revelation (The Unveiling).

Last week, the painting Foundation/Global City Babel that began this series was purchased by collector Dona Spaan for the Permanent Collection at  Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a collection that includes  artwork by Gerhard Richter and contemporary Dutch photographer Henrik Kerstens (1965).

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IMG_4520Global City Babel FOUNDATION for Radix Mag

The Tower of Babel  (right) by Pieter Bruegel (1563) is my central motif. It references the biblical tower (Genesis 11) where God intervened to confound man’s words and his desire “to reach  the heavens” and “make a name for himself.” This Dutch artist had a biblical view of reality. His visit to Rome inspired this Babel tower styled after the Roman Coliseum.
Christians of his day equated Rome with the Biblical, Babylon the Harlot, the antithesis of the Bride of Christ. Babylon was the seducer of man’s heart.
Babel and Babylon symbolized all that is opposed to God’s Word and his glory.

The hand-made frame of this painting includes the all-seeing eye of God at top center and small pilgrims in the wood on either side. The incised text is the stylized acronym for the Tanakh or the Hebrew Scriptures.

vertical detail Power IssueThis series describes our postmodern culture where meaning and words are confused and manipulated for power. Breugel’s Tower is an apt symbol 500 years later as this cosmic battle between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent is revealed. It will continue until The Word of God, who is Faithful and True, returns to claim his kingdom already won by his sacrificial death.

Babel’s Child I (below) is also about this conflict. The figure is bowed with a Babel tower on his back. A snake skin, a symbol of The Fall, is embedded in the beeswax at his feet and the sacrificial death of Christ is alluded to by the snake on the pole.

Babel's Child I for Seeds LA

In  Purified Lips (below) God’s Word descends from the sky. The title is taken from Zephaniah 3:9 — For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, and all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him shoulder to shoulder.The Tower of Babel is situated on deconstructionist texts and city plans, while the text from the sky in the French language is from John 1:1 — In the beginning was the WORD and the Word was with God and the Word was God.

Purified Lips unframed P

Shoulder_to_Shoulder

Babel Grace Reactor

Shoulder to Shoulder 12 x 12 inches                      Babel Grace   24 x 24  (Hebrews 12:18ff)
The two paintings above were also inspired by this text from Zephaniah 3:9.

In Babel Overturned the Tower of Babel is upside-down in a turning sea. The cross, the means of Satan’s conquest, is referenced by the incised grid of red lines (the Nets of God).

c. Babel Down
Babel Overturned   2006 encaustic on panel  24″ x 24″

The Babe of Bethlehem pronounced Satan’s mortal wound and defeat as he approached the cross. He said, Now shall the prince of this world be cast out (John 12:31)And in his last discourse Jesus proclaims as if it were already an accomplished fact, The prince of this world has been judged (John 16:11). In the painting below you can see the plumb line and the tent or tabernacle over the Tower of Babel. This suggests judgment, when all shall be justified or made straight by the God who “pitched his tent” or tabernacled with us (John 1:20)

c. Global City Series He Tabernacled Among UsTabernacle  (2005)   24 x 34  (New Canaan, CT collection)

Global City Babel text encaustic S        A Day of Clouds  S 12 x 12 inches
A City that Cannot Be Shaken 12 x 12 inches       “State Protection” . . . 12 x 12

As this battle between Babel and the Babe wages, we wait. Until Christ has taken captive all His captives, we are “strangers and aliens on earth,” captives in a foreign land. As C.S. Lewis writes, “We are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of he door. . . . But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing, we shall get in (The Weight of Glory).

Finally, two recent paintings on “Ikea photographs” of cities — New York’s Brooklyn Bridge is turned upside-down, the city is burning.  It references Revelation 17  about the doom of Babylon, the Great Prostitute (aka the Harlot) — all that is opposed to the Bride of Christ. They (those who follow the Beast) will make her (Babylon the Harlot) desolate and naked and devour her flesh and burn her with fire . . . and the woman that you saw is the great city.

Global City Babel  New York I
New York City – Brooklyn Bridge /Global City Babel  54″ x 32″ oil and wax on archival Ikea photograph.

And London is turned sideways, painted in whites, suggesting the purified bride where the unrighteous deeds are covered by the God who came to take the judgment and wrath of God on himself. This  Vessel makes sins of scarlet “as white as snow.”

Vessel Series  London Yo 38 x 5u are the VesselLondon /Global City Babel  32″ x 54″ oil and wax on B&W Ikea photograph with red bus

Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away (Matthew 24:35), Josh Garrels  sings in  Words Remain.

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The Presentation


The Presentation
36 x 36 oil and charcoal on canvas

The Presentation M
This week my painting titled The Presentation found a home in Arlington, Tennessee. Dallas and Stefanie visited my studio in the River Arts District of Asheville earlier in the month and called to tell me they wanted to purchase it.  This blog is especially for them. It is a brief statement about the painting but also why it came to have poignant significance for me this year.

First a bit about my initial process. I began abstractly using oils and charcoal to make marks. I had no definite plan in mind. When I smeared the charcoal at the top of the painting, an  image of a lamb “appeared.”  Since it was at the top of the painting, it looked to be overseeing or ruling the scene below. This is paradoxical — a lamb that rules.

first washes of oil and charcoal

The lamb that rules is of course the baby Jesus, The Lamb of God,  who was born in Bethlehem. To reference this Incarnation or “taking on flesh,” I needed an image of a baby. My friend Mary (really) obliged me and gave me several old photographs of her baby daughter, Anna.

I sketched this “little lamb” into my piece.

baby cropped

2008 Incarnation studyThe painting remained in this unfinished state for several months. I named it Immanuel — God With Us but it was not finished. Although the babe was descending into time and space, the lamb was too dark and there was no hint of the anticipated sacrifice — the sacrifice of God’s only lamb.

The Old Testament foreshadowed this coming necessary blood redemption. (Leviticus 17:11 — For the life of  the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.) God’s people were commanded to sacrifice a lamb and put its blood on the doors of their homes when the Angel of Death came to take the first born from their Egyptian captors the night of the Passover. And until The Lamb of God came, millions of lambs were slaughtered as sin offerings

lamb detail with redI began adding white to the lamb and adding a hint of red to suggest the coming sacrifice and death. I integrated and subdued the golden background to greys so the lamb and the baby would be focal point in the painting. It was then that I saw the
large golden shape around the lamb emerge. It was the  glorious figure of The Father or a Shepherd standing behind his lamb. He was presenting “The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”

Unanticipated, on January 18th, we began the journey of leaning heavily upon this sacrificial loving Father, who did not withhold his only Son, but sacrificed his “little lamb” to rescue us dying ones. Death is the enemy we all face and fear.

Our son and wife’s baby daughter, Piper Jane, our first beautiful granddaughter, was PRESENTED into her heavenly Father’s presence. Her death completely unexpected and her “home-coming” a terrible departure before she opened her eyes to this world. It has been particularly hard.  We weep with our children in hope that the God who is  “the man of sorrows, acquainted with grief” knows and understands sacrifice and sadness, our God who PRESENTED his ONLY SON.

Dallas and Stefanie, thank you. Only after you committed to purchasing The Presentation did I discover that you are fellow believers and are now praying for our son and daughter in their grieving for Piper Jane. And in God’s providence, we are praying for your friends, David and Christina, who are suffering the same tragedy this very week. God’s ways are so above our ways. We rest in Him. Thank you for praying.

The Presentation  (photo: January 18, 2015) of Piper Jane Bomer

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Daddy (my son) presents his daughter                        The Father presents His Son

The Presentation of Piper Jane              BOMER The  Presentation 36 x 36 The One Who Comes to Us on the Waters of Time

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The Unveiling (Gk: Apocalypse)

The presentation 1 Last year, my ninety-nine-year-old Aunt Lucy gave me sl morris bookher 1928 copy of The Drama of Christianity / An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation by S. L. Morris. She had received it when she joined the church at age twenty. Why in God’s sovereignty was I the recipient of this treasure instead of one of her children?

Unbeknownst to Aunt Lucy, I had just completed a Bible study on Revelation and had been commissioned by my church to paint a summary of redemption — “creation / fall /redemption” — to commemorate thirty years of our pastor Robert Drake’s preaching. Revelation was the subject of my painting called Scrolls Unfurled. (blog post

The Weight of Glory 12 x12 oil and wax on panel BOMERMorris’s book unveiled this Revelation (literally translated The Unveiling from the Greek word for Apocalypse), which necessarily should not be an enigma or confusing if it is a revealing. God lifts the curtain to his dramatic picture book summarizing who Jesus Christ is, –God “who is, who was, and who is to come!”  It is his letter of encouragement to his bride, the church, called to suffer like Christ, “the faithful witness (Gk: martyr) and first born of the dead.”

Morris writes that “the reason for the confusion of thought is that many regard it as a prophetic revelation of the future. Instead, this dramatic prophecy is an “unveiling” of the purposes of God in the Christian Dispensation; the prophetic events that would take place from Christ’s first Advent until his second coming.” (It has been reprinted and I located twelve copies for a study I am now teaching.)

c. Global City Series He Tabernacled Among Us
He Pitched His Tent Among Us (Global City Babel Series) 24 x 32 inches

Morris’s main point is the dramatic structure of the book, styled after the Greek dramas of John’s day. This divine book contains completely perfect symbolism and seven (perfect) visions in the form of seven panoramas (heptads), which cover the entire Christian Dispensation, from Jesus’ birth to His Return.  The panoramas do not occur in historical succession but are a repetition of the same events in new settings from different angles, each augmenting the next. Like a Greek drama, each of the seven panoramas ends with an interlude and choruses about the coming of Christ or the Judgment scene. Common to dramatic structure it contains a prologue (Revelation 1),  parts, acts, scenes, interludes, choruses, plot and counter-plot, temporary defeat and ultimate triumph.

Stoning of Stephen studyThe Apocalypse is the “big picture,” a comprehensive epitome of the whole Bible, God’s story of salvation. This final Word of God was written for the consolation of the saints, the church militant which should expect fierce conflict but anticipate victory.

(right: study for Stoning of Stephen; below: Outside the Camp Series.)

outside the camp I WEBA drama is to be read aloud! The book begins with this command: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are they who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near” (Rev. 1:3).

3. Bomer, G. Carol - The Last SupperAnd important for not only artists who  attempt to visualize unseen reality but for all who long to see what “eye has not seen,” it is a visual drama! God uses symbols, symbolic images and symbolic numbers. Symbols use familiar things of the natural world to point to the heavenly realm. All of God’s creation is a living revelation of God. To mention a few: animals — Jesus is The Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah; weather — rainbows, earthquakes, wind, and a voice like thunder; colors — white, a symbol of purity; red, a symbol of life, blood and war; and measurements of time and order — twelve, twenty-four, 144,000, forty, and seven, the number of perfect completeness. The seven churches, seven golden lamp stands, seven stars, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven thunders, seven bowls with the seven last plagues, seven eyes of the Lamb, and seven Spirits before the throne, and even seven diadems on the Dragon’s seven (completely evil) heads, reveal that this prophetic Word of God is perfect and complete!

The VineSymbolism was the method of Christ himself for conveying to the minds of His disciples the most impressive spiritual truth as to His person, His mission, and His relation to the individual believer and the church. He said, “I am the true vine,”  “I am the Door,” and “The Alpha and the Omega.”

Explaining the parable of the weeds, he says, “. . . the field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age and the reapers are angels (Matthew 13:36).

The Harvest is the End of the Age and the Reapers are Angels 12 x 12 oil and wax

Mvc-Shachah002f copyAbove:
The Reapers
12 x 12 inches oil and wax

The Seed 36″ x 36″ oil and 23K gold leaf on panel           

The great prophecy of the Old Testament was the first coming of Christ. The great prophecy of the New Testament is the Second Coming. The Apocalypse is the unique interweaving of all the symbols, types, shadows, figures, and fundamental ideas of both Testaments into one comprehensive and final UNVEILING.

Be Lifted Up O Ancient Doors 2

Painting Ancient Doors center panel Door Way to Glory! Ancient DoorsMy installation Be Lifted Up O Ancient Doors references Passover, a lamb’s blood on the  doors, Jesus as The Door, and the triumphal return of the King of Kings who leads his people out of slavery.

All Scripture interprets Scripture. It is God-breathed and reveals Jesus Christ. It is the UNVEILING of His Story from beginning to end.

Another example from the Old Testament is from Ezekiel 9. A scribe is commanded to mark the foreheads of those people belonging to God before he destroys Jerusalem. In Revelation 7 an angel seals the 144,000 “servants of our God on their foreheads” before the other angels are allowed “to harm the earth or the sea or the trees.” Both prophets Ezekiel and Daniel also had visions describing the four living creatures that are repeated in the visions of God’s glory in Revelation.

Ezekiels Vision 1                        Ezekiel’s Vision  12 x 12 inches oil , wax, and text on panel

The second panorama of Revelation is the Opening of the Seven Seals (Revelation 5-6). This vision again reveals how God fulfills his divine plan in the Christian Dispensation — conquering kings (the white horse), war (the red horse), famine (the black horse) and death (the pale horse). Unfortunately in this vision the four horsemen are often separated into an apocalyptic end-times drama (even by Christians). The fifth seal, the prayers of the saints, is equally important in God’s plan and fulfillment of His purposes.

I painted the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse after 9/11 upon the request of a DC gentleman who sought me out and asked me to help him paint this “apocalyptic” scene.  We worked together and as a result I produced two paintings as demonstrations.

Four Horsemen 1    Four Horsemen2with frame
               The Four Horsemen oil on canvas each 24 x 26 with handmade frames

Albrecht Durer‘s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

I especially like Russian artist  Victor Vasnetsov‘s painting because he shows the white horseman leading the way with his victor’s crown. He also shows the Lamb of God in the heavens above in charge of history overseeing his sovereign plan. Jesus is the victorious King of Psalm 45 and the Rider on the White Horse of Revelation 19 .

1200px-Apocalypse_vasnetsov

I made the assemblage (below) The Great Assize / Day of Judgment long before I read Morris’s book. A copy of a playbill from Richmond, VA 1774 is attached to the back of a discarded medicine cabinet. It begins, “By Command of The King of Kings, and all who love his appearing….The Lord Jesus will be revealed along with his mighty angels.”

The sun-bleached horse vertebrae seemed perfect props for this drama! Inside the Veil  The Unveiling or Apocalyse

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ADVENT /INCARNATION III — EPIPHANY

Epiphany is the last celebration of the Advent of Christ. This is my 2014 post.

grace carol bomer

HAPPY NEW YEAR from SOLI DEO GLORIA STUDIO

ADVENT Week 5  (December 29-January 6)  EPIPHANY
We are still celebrating Advent.
This first week of 2014 2015, when our calendars remind us that time is passing, consider things eternal: Celebrate Epiphany, the feast that ends 40 days of Advent!

I’ve discovered that there is more to Advent than the anticipation and coming of “Emmanuel” (God with us) to Bethlehem. The climax of Advent is Epiphany, when The Babe was recognized by the wise men of the world. It is a celebration of the coming of Christ to the Gentiles, not just the Jewish people.

The Magi were members of the religious hierarchy of ancient Persia and Media (the region corresponding to modern Iran). They were scholars and practitioners of astrology and the first Gentiles, men of renown, to come and worship Jesus the King (Matthew 2:1-12).

Hieronymus Bosch painted an account of this historical event in 1495 (detail left — now in Madrid’s Prado).

But…

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Thanksgiving from Soli Deo Gloria Studio -140 D Roberts Street, Asheville

Last September, I posted Updates at 140 D — A year later there are many more updates!
The studio space has been purchased by the glass studio next door at 140 C. And Shelley Pereda, who has held the lease, has decided to leave the studio and bequeath the lease to me–as long as it lasts! 

Thankfully, the glass studio owners have no plans to move into this building for at least a year! They are merely raising the rent! (AND that’s one good reason to have an INVENTORY REDUCTION SALE—that sounds so commercial!) The other reason is, I currently rent space to three other artists: Ron Maffett (painting), Barabara Wade (painting), and Lynda Sondles ( silk scarves and fabric art quilts), with space for one more artist. SO even less SPACE for my work.

UNTIL CHRISTMAS, I am selling my work for half the gallery price. Last week I finished the commissioned pieces for Grace Community Church on the book of Revelation and have canvases waiting to continue this series but need more space. IMG_1121I also teach oil and wax workshops which means I have many 12 x 12 inch paintings for sale. Some are abstract layers of color but like most of my work they are rich in metaphor and spiritual meaning.

(The large piece above Put Yourself In The Path of the Wind http://gracecarolbomer.com/artwork/3653220_Put_Yourself_in_the_Path_of_the_Wind.hAsian influencestml
was featured in a show called Eastern Breezes this summer at the Andrew Charles Gallery.)

I want to take the opportunity at this THANKSGIVING time to thank my patrons and those who have visited my studio this year. Here are several of them holding their new purchases.
new owner KFrench holds her new painting  Wendy from Durham holds her new purchase

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New encaustic monoprints
Using a smooth hotplate I designed the paintings. Then I carefully placed rice papers. (In theses I used Di Chiri 8 x 11 inch paper). Experimented with other surfaces as well. Below encaustic monotype on existing oil monoprint.

The Fall encaustic monotype on Dai Chiri brick rice paper S   encaustic monotype on Di Chiri Japanese paper   encaustic monoprint

One Who Came On the Waters of Time encasutic monotype on oil monotype       One Who Came on the Waters of Time encaustic  monotype over oil monotrype
One Who Came On the Waters Series (framed 17 x 21 inches)

And new giclee reproductions of particularly significant paintings. (see website)
http://gracecarolbomer.com/artwork/3368036_Scrolls_Unfurled.html 

One Who Came on the Waters of Time S  40 x 40 inches                        Unfurled Scrolls -orig20x30   
  One  Who Came on The Waters of Time                         Scrolls Unfurled /Revelation 6
10 x 10  inches on Provence rag paper                            14 x 20 inches on Provence rag

OPEN STUDIO AND SALE
FRIDAY AND SATURDAY
November  28-29
10:00-4:00

Thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1

Let Earth Receive Her King 
http://gracecarolbomer.com/artwork/2982620_Let_Earth_Receive_Her_King.html

Let Earth Receive1-300 dpijpg

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worlds prepared by the word of God

One Who Came on the Waters of Time II will be featured on the August issue of Asheville’s Rapid River magazine.

grace carol bomer

“By faith we understand that the worlds (ages/times) were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.” Hebrews 11:3

My paintings are a process of working and waiting on God to direct my heart, soul, mind, as well as my hand. The Word of God informs both my life and my art. “For in Him we live and move and have our being, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are his children,’ ” –Paul is explaining the divine to the Athenians at the Areopagus in Acts 17. Life is sacramental in that we are created in the image of God to give him glory.

This painting is upside-down now, compared to my previous post  https://gracebomer.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/one-who-comes-on-the-waters-of-time-a-series/. The sky became water and the earth became sky. This seemed “right” for a painting about worlds (times/ages) suspended in…

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Word (logos) and Image

grace carol bomer

Although logos is common to all, most people live
as if they had a wisdom of their own.
1. p.77. Fr.2  FOUR QUARTETS, T.S. Eliot

Word Image

The above quote by T. S. Eliot is still on my old website(http://www.carolbomer.com/quotesandreadings.cfm). Is T. S. Eliot referring to the Logos, who is outside of our manipulated words and images and puny stories — the Logos who holds all things together (Col.1:15) and whose creation pours forth speech day after day (Psalm 19), –the Logos who was in the beginning with God and who is God?

The Logos created all things that have come into being. And The Logos became flesh and lived among us (John 1). Jesus is the Logos or “speech from God.” He is Word of God and Image of God. My current focus is this dichotomy of word and image and how it can be brought together in Christ, the incarnational mystery that brings heaven and earth together (see my statement at www.gracecarolbomer.com).

Words and images have always…

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