A collaboration in word, image, and sound
Why do we cherish pictures of the faces of those we love?
Somehow we know that a carefully made portrait––whether painted or sculpted or photographed––is qualitatively different from a snapshot likeness.
There is something in the lovingly conceived and wrought image of the beloved that compels us to stop, to look––to meditate on the mystery of the Person.
Such images communicate real presence. In the tradition of religious icons, the images of saints and of Christ are understood as more than portraits––no real physical likeness––rather, the image is meant to be a portal of communion and remembrance––a sacrament like the elements of bread and wine in the Eucharist.
We tend to think of saints as extraordinary people, particularly renowned for their virtue or holiness. Yet we can be arrested by glimpses of such qualities in those familiar to us. Or perhaps we miss them through inattention.
Ordinary Saints is a collaborative creative endeavor, comprising portraits by Bruce Herman, ekphrastic poetry by Malcolm Guite in response to the paintings, and integrative instrumental and vocal music by J.A.C. Redford, that will seek to focus the attention and plumb the liminal space between portrait and icon, inviting the viewer and listener into deeper communion with the faces of “those immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit.”
Will our own faces be unveiled in return? Will we find in them hints of an original icon from which all of our faces are derived?
The Ordinary Saints Project will take place on Wednesday 29 July 2020