Taking advantage of its visible location in downtown Staunton, Virginia, Dixon Gallery has installed a temporary work on the exterior of its building, offering a contemporary perspective for Easter weekend.
On view from Good Friday through Easter Monday, the work features an empty wood cross at the center, flanked by a scripture passage and an original drawing of an angel in the windows. These traditional images of the Resurrection are juxtaposed with modern displays of mourning in an effort to place Christ’s sacrifice in the context of our present world and its secular rituals.
Unlike most contemporary art, this composition does not challenge the viewer to question the truth of religion or the value of faith, but rather to examine whether we even consider ourselves worthy of such gifts. We can only begin to grasp the promise of the eternal in contrast to the reality of the temporal; perhaps the Resurrection would be more relevant if we were more reverent.
ANOTHER ROADSIDE DISTRACTION
mixed media street art installation by Dixon Studio, Easter Weekend 2019
wood cross & readymade objects in foreground, pencil & ink on paper in background
Because a liturgical artist doesn’t have a statement, but rather visualizes statements of scripture, we offer instead, CURATOR’S QUESTIONS:
What would we do if Jesus were crucified in our lifetime?
Probably the same thing we do when newsmakers or neighbors die on our streets. We erect makeshift memorials at the site of the slaughter, heaping flowers, candles, and stuffed animals in a compost of condolences. Why have we abandoned the church and its sacraments, if only to replace those sacred spaces and profound rituals with transient shrines and fleeting gestures?
What would the government do if Jesus were executed as a criminal today?
Probably the same thing it has done for centuries. It makes examples of those who break the law. The Romans mocked their convict with a sign that declared him ‘King of the Jews,’ as a warning of the fate that could –and did– befall his followers. The department of transportation posts signs at the sites of traffic deaths as a caution to those who would exceed the limits. Why have we allowed the government to usurp our loved one’s memories, reducing whole lives to ominous yet generic memorials of the place and manner of their deaths?
Where would the angel find mourners today to announce the Resurrection?