This series of portraits is a work in progress. My vision is to challenge the enemic ideals of beauty promoted by our society and draw attention to the diversity of beauty in women that I have met from around the world.
be warmed, be filled
“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no works? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well, keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs what good is it?” James 2:14-16. Inspired by James 2:16, this piece depicts an Afghan mother and her daughter who have been displaced as a result of the wars being waged in their homeland.
After Jacob wrestled with the angel of Lord, he called the place Peniel because he said, “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” (Genesis 32:30). Several years ago I read a memoir by Madeleine L’Engle in which she talks about Jacob’s battle with the angel. She writes that Jacob was marked forever by his encounter with God, and that the same should be true of all believers. This piece became a sort of icon to me; as I created it I meditated on what it means to be marked by Christ.
work in progress
This series has a half life size sculpture and two small sculptures. I created them in response to a dear friend’s miscarriage, in an effort to “mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15). They show intense grief from the perspectives of a man and a woman. The pose of the female figure is particularly difficult physically, as she wraps herself in her arm so tightly, but it is the position I returned to again and again as I imagined the agony of losing a child. The male figure is also curled in upon himself, gripping the edge of the cliff he is crouching on. Both figures are nude and bald in their vulnerability; the woman cradles her head and the man seems to stifle a cry.
beside still waters
This piece is inspired by the 23rd Psalm and is meant to communicate the contentment, security, and peace that comes from being aware of the faithfulness of God.
This sculpture is one of my most explicitly Christian pieces, and a very personal one. The composition changed several times. At first I had his head down and his arms raised higher, hands apart. Gradually the pose you see now emerged. This is the first in what I hope to be a series on the Lord’s Prayer, and it is based on the familiar first line, “Give us this day our daily bread.” These words acknowledge that we depend on God for even our most basic needs. I wanted the figure’s pose to show humility and dependence; but his gaze is up because he is confident that God will faithfully provide. Beyond physical bread, I also wanted to call to mind the spiritual nourishment that we receive through the Eucharist, so the position of the hands echoes the way our hands are held when we are receiving the bread for the Lord’s Supper.
Utilizing the motif of the Pieta, which traditionally shows the Virgin Mary holding her son, Jesus, after he has been taken down from the cross, this piece depicts a Sudanese woman holding her son, dead as a result of the war and genocide in their country. I replaced Mary and Jesus in the sculpture because, as Jesus says in Matthew 25:35-45, “as you did to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” I hope to encourage us all to look beyond the comforts of our own lives and consider the suffering being endured by our brothers and sisters around the world.
The wall separating a North American man from an African woman and her baby represents AIDS. The figures are a part of the wall, connected to it, partially trapped within it, and yet it isolates them from each other. The inscription on one side of the wall reads, “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation. Rachel weeping for her children. She refuses to be comforted for they are no more” from Jeremiah 31:15 and Matthew 2:18. On the other side of the wall is written, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” from Matthew 22:39 and Mark 12:31.
Inscribed in Greek on the back of this statue are the words of Romans 7:24b, the translation of which is, “Who will save me from this body of sin and death?” Here a female figure is draped in funerary clothes, representing man’s spiritual condition before he is called by the Holy Spirit to new life in Jesus Christ.
This project was commissioned by All Saints Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas. I created the bowl and artisan Hawkeye Glenn created the base.
Job 7:11 says, “I will not keep silent; I will speak out the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.”
This work in progress grew out of a very difficult personal time. It became for me a meditation on doubt as an important part of faith.