to kill an embryo
rite controversial, but ‘a jewel’
The Catholic Weekly - Spiritual tension
Art truly is an alternative form of expression. Indeed, many artists have been famously inarticulate and can only express themselves visually. Perhaps the most famous example was Vincent Van Gogh, who had difficulty expressing himself other than in paint and once cut his ear off in passion. Thankfully, he mostly stuck to paintings, many of which are sublime.
Even those artists who can talk articulately about art and life cannot convey in words all that their art conveys.
This is certainly the case with the work of Carl Coxall, the Year 12 student who has won first prize in this year’s Catholic Secondary Schools Religious Art Exhibition.
Carl’s work is conceptual - which is what makes it art, not craft, a trap many ‘artists’ fall into. Carl’s work deals with ideas and in the work that won this year’s competition (see pages 12-13), he deals with modern mental imprisonment. The work consists of several twig-framed picture boxes, holding spindly creatures made of wood, metal, plastic and computer components, trying vainly to escape their box prisons.
The work is a visual metaphor for life in a modern world, in which we turn to computers to help improve our lives, but find this often doesn’t happen.
a visual ‘collision’ of old wood and the newer plastics and metals that computers
are made of as a metaphor for the modern-day collision between old wisdom and
modern invention, a collision that calls for a new enlightenment and a new spiritual
code. Carl sees his work as the
The spiritual tension Carl’s work evokes is nothing new to Christianity,
which has always been as much a religion of the city as the village. Indeed, the
mettle of the early Church was tempered in Rome, the major city of the day, quite
as inventive a place as modern cities. So Carl is right on the
The images Carl has created are not beautiful. They are spiky
and uncomfortable - much like modern life. But beauty is not the point of modern
art; ideas and questions are. And the question Carl poses is profound: How do
we develop a spiritual life in these modern technological times?