With so much in the art world that is either decadent, political, or full of despair, it's refreshing to know of two abstract visual artists who actually offer a message of hope and healing in their work. Both I have known of for some time, but both are artists for whom I continue to develop renewed appreciation. I'm speaking of Carol Bomer and Makoto Fujimura. Both are Christians painting out of their faith and Christian worldview.
Born in Alberta, Canada, Carol Bomer resides in Asheville, North Carolina where she has a studio in her home. When I've visited Carol, I'm always encouraged by the appreciation and joy she takes in her work. She'll excitedly pull out work in progress, most of which are multi-medium, that is, they have texture in more ways than one -- perhaps a Bible verse or other text running through the painting, a thread giving t a 3-D effect, or even pressed down pieces of newspaper or architectural drawings. Generally there is a human element, a figure or figures, albeit often only suggested. I love the colors, and the multi-layered effect that allows you with patience to see more and more as you sit with the painting.
In contrast, while Makoto Fujimura is also a Christian who is an abstract painter, that's where the similarity ends. Fujimura, who resides in New York City, has merged the ancient Japanese art of nihonga (where mineral pigments are applied to paper) with abstract expressionism, creating beautiful paintings of shimmering color. These are not disturbing, dark works, like so much of modern or post-modern art, but works of beauty that communicate hope, healing, and grace. In the wake of 9/11, Fujimura is attempting to demonstrate that an art that flows from grace, from a belief in a good, sovereign, transcendent God, can be used to heal downcast souls charred by circumstance.
My wife and I bought one of Bomer's paintings, and I'd like to but one of Fujimura's painting as well. Why? Because they are works of beauty, and because I want to give these artists the ability to feed their families as they follow God's call. Consider doing the same. Celebrate the good, true, and beautiful. And support Christians who are being artists in the world, but not of it.