Art · Art critic

The Unknown artist

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Unknown artist in my office

I stumbled upon Leanne Goebel like a hidden book in an old bookstore. I was hanging a picture in my office, one that I loved but that had been residing in our waiting room. My suite mate decided to take it down and put a different picture up over the coffee machine, and the lowly picture that I loved so much was resting nicely on a chair in the middle office, waiting for me.

I had loved the picture from the start. It reminded me of an album cover for the band Bon Iver that I had seen and mused over. It was serene, patient, and made me feel like I was walking in the middle of Psalm 23. I have no art experience, nor do I pretend to know anything about what art is or isn’t, but as a writer I am moved by the things that I see, and write about the things that are unseen…

I quickly carried the picture to my office like I had stolen the world’s most expensive painting, and asked a friend to hang it up. Six months before when I had resigned from my job at the same desk I sit at now, I had a beautiful picture of a blossoming cherry tree in that place. When I packed my stuff to head for home, the cherry tree ended up my centerpiece at my writing desk, and there was an empty space on my wall. When God redefined my job and had me move back in, I knew I needed a new center.

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The Bon Iver album cover by Gregory Euclide

So the picture by the unknown artist was up and it made me happy. I thought back to that Bon Iver album cover and looked it up. The artist was Gregory Euclide. I noticed an article by an art writer named Leanne Goebel who wrote a profile on him back in March of 2010 for Art Limited Magazine. There was a quote somewhere in the article that said,

and even when looking at a remote pastoral scene, it is impossible to escape the human fingerprint

My soul shook. I am not sure whether she or the artist said it, but that was of no matter. The eerily similar picture hanging in my office reminded me of The Creation of Adam by Michaelangelo, the human fingerprint touched by God.

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The Creation of Adam, Michaelangelo

So my focus shifted from the painting back to Leanne Goebel, and I couldn’t help but feel her words through the page. She made me love and understand art in a new way, not one that was cold and unwelcoming but one that was inviting and warm. I felt that I could look at art and not have to be an expert or even understand what I was looking at. She made me feel that I was worthy of an opinion.

I noticed that she was living my dream- a writer and journalist and doing what she loved. Her page at Leanne Goebel includes a “manifesto,” which word in and by itself is brilliant without anything further. And she says this,

The role of the artist is to report the visible, but to reveal and communicate the unknown

I couldn’t help but gasp. For all the writing I have done, this has been so deeply held inside my heart. That God may count me worthy to use my visible words on a page to bring Him to life. To communicate truth in the way He tells me how.

A review of her person is even more beautiful. (An excerpt)

To sit down with Leanne and “talk art” is akin to sitting down with an intelligent cool old friend and enjoying a good glass of red wine and simply discussing life… There is a satisfaction that you walk away with after an art conversation with Leanne.

That’s what I wanted more than anything for my readers. Not that my work would produce medals or honors, not even necessarily that it get published, although that is my goal, but that people would walk away gaining a sense of God that they didn’t have before, feeling a new rhythm, made better or more inspired by some words that appeared on my page…

I already felt like I knew Leanne and I hadn’t even read one word of her writing. It was obvious from her works and from her life she had a deep satisfaction and love for what she did. She left me better off than when I had started. Her life reminded me of my goal, and our goal as believers, to always leave people better off than how we found them…

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

Philippians 4:11

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4 thoughts on “The Unknown artist

  1. It’s great to get it…………

    Well done M.

    Reminds me. The dance pioneer Isadora Duncan when asked to ‘explain’ her craft in dance, she said, ‘if I was able to explain it, I wouldn’t be able to dance it.’

    I’m paraphrasing but you get the point. So we use what we have, God sanctifies it, and presto, there is a manifestation of the divine. Your ‘rhythm’ idea sums it up. But we are all but unknown artists I suppose………..but known to the One who knows all.

    Liked by 1 person

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