Watching Eye by Ludmila Pawlowska. Photo from Ludmila's website here.
Since preparing for Lynne Perrella's Icon post I have been looking at contemporary art inspired by religious icons and have found some wonderful examples.
Earlier this year the Hereford Cathedral in Britain hosted an exhibition, Icons in Transformation, featuring the breathtaking art of Ludmila Pawlowska. This is an exhibition I would loved to have seen face to face.
Why by Ludmila Pawlowska. Photo from Ludmila's website.
One can see that Ludmila is particularly inspired by the eyes in ancient Russian icons as they stare out from most of these pieces.
"You see the eyes and you are hypnotised. You can’t escape them – it’s like God sees you.” says Ludmila "Do not be frightened. They are here to watch you".
Photo from this Flickr photostream, here.
"How am I inspired by almost 1000 years of tradition and what the icon stands for? What fascinates me most in the art of icons is the deep sensitivity they radiate. When I am looking at an icon I am irresistibly attracted. Looking into the eyes of Maria's icon feels like an encounter with the unknown and boundless deep. Something awakens inside me - I can just be quiet, just lose myself in it's depth, just listen .... an unexpected insight can flow through me - an impulse, a god's presence is there. Quiet but present."
Photo from this Flickr photo stream here.
When Ludmilla's mother died suddenly in 1997 she worked through her grief by turning to her art.
"Icons showed me the right way, both emotionally and for my art".
Many of the works on this exhibition reveal text.... "Letters to my mother, because I can no longer speak to her,” she explains.
Photo from Ludmila's website here.
Misty Mawn, an artist known to so many of us in the blogworld is another artist who is inspired by religious icons. These are such beautiful pieces and painted in the typical Misty style.
From early childhood Raymond Papka has been fascinated by books and unusual objects. In these altered books he has incorporated the things he loves, including his fascination with religious icons.
Altered book by Raymond Papka. See Raymond's website here.
Last but not least an icon inspired piece from Africa....
This piece is by Zerihun Yetmgeta, a contemporary artist from Ethiopia. Zerihun borrows symbols from the rich images of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church as well as using his own iconography. Read Article here. See Zerihun's website here.
"Yesterday I saw a collection of old Russian Icons. This is truly great art. I am quite taken by iconic paintings: I have only one thought in my head, and now we run, day in and day out, to monasteries, churches and the various collections. I am inn love with their touching sympicity.... The artist's soul emerges in these icons like a mystical flower. It is through them that we should learn to understand art. The Russians have no idea what treasures they possess. I have seen artwork from the churches of many different countries, but nowhere have i met such powerful expression, such a feeling of mystery .... everywhere the same luminosity and devotion .... " - Henri Matisse after his visit to Moscow
Misty's new book Unfurling is now listed on Amazon, and Kalahari.