A Faith Visualized
January 21 - March 14, 2003
I began the GRAVE IMAGES project in 1994 while a Research Fellow at Yale’s Institute of Sacred Music, Worship, and the Arts. The digital prints, artists books, and the GRAVE IMAGES, A FAITH VISUALIZED book spreads were continued over the two years I held the Messiah College Scholar Chair position. The large archival digital prints were created in 2001-2002. Kathy T. Hettinga
IN THE DADIAN GALLERY
This work is about the Saturday after Good Friday and before Easter Sunday, a time of Lamentations and Praises, when Christ is in hell, yet pulling Adam and Eve out of hell, thus saving all of humanity. The bird has a heart shaped wound yet its under wing is brilliant yellow giving the effect of rising.
Into the hands of the
Living God series
While at Christ in the Desert Monastery , my friend, a Mexican seminarian said, “What better place to fall then into the hands of the living God.” Though it mean judgment (Hebrews 10.31) still what better place? Into the hands of the Living God series looks at scanned dead birds and small animals at monumental size. Some like the Robin enter with grace, some like the Thrasher do not. This series is printed on the Epson Stylus Pro 9500 using long-lasting archival pigmented inks. The works are printed on cold press 100% cotton rag paper, Epson Textured Fineart. The edition is limited to 10.
Lambs of the San Luis Valley,
volume I and II
Grave Images, A Faith
This book project is organized into major categories by kind i.e. The Church and the Land; Wooden Markers and Crosses; Cast Concrete: shaped, embedded; Figures: Freestanding and in Niches. This work is now under consideration for publication by the the Museum of New Mexico Press under the auspices of the Center for American Places.
The Church and the Land,
series of six
Concrete Crosses, Del Norte,
These works show the setting for the GRAVE IMAGES and selected markers. The images and symbols found in the cemeteries are an embodiment of the faith of the local people; and thus, contain a statement about faith in a certain place. These GRAVE IMAGES demonstrate how meaning is amplified when content takes visual form and is set in place. These are printed on the Epson Stylus Pro 3000 using dye-based inks on Epson Matte paper. Editions are limited to 10.
Cross Above Fort Garland,
Iris print on
Somerset paper, 22x30
I first met Kathy Hettinga many years ago, when we were both learning to combine our artistic sensibilities with the intriguing possibilities of a then-new technology, the personal computer. Among the twenty thousand or so computer scientists and techno-geeks gathered at a conference to share the latest advancements in the burgeoning field of computer graphics, the artists and designers were a small band of pioneers, early adopters of a tool that seemed to be foreign to our traditional purposes and processes. Even in those days of user-unfriendly interfaces, and painfully slow machines, Kathy’s work had a poetic quality that was deep and affecting.
This exhibition, Grave Images, is a study of grave makers, crosses, and the bodies of dead birds and small animals. A play on words, the title refers both to places of burial and to the seriousness, the gravity, with which the artist views matters of life and death. It is also prescient, as the works were largely completed before Kathy was diagnosed with cancer, on Good Friday, 2002. In the ensuing months of surgery, chemotherapy, healing, and planning this show, the images took on a new resonance.
The large, digital prints in the “Into the Hands of the Living God” series look unflinchingly at death. The scanned, digitized images of small creatures enlarged to human size force us to think about the difference between a living being and a corpse. Like the trompe l’oeil paintings of dead pheasants and other game popular in the nineteenth century, Hettinga’s images lovingly reveal each feather, scale or hair. However, these are not tributes to the hunter’s skill, but rather suggest the way that God might see each of us in death as well as in life: infinitely beautiful, intensely ourselves.
The crosses, buildings, and other structures in the “Grave Images, A Faith Visualized” series are in some ways easier to confront. Soft colors and subtle allusions to the American Southwest in which the original photographs were taken allow a sense of distance and romance. Death is present here, but mediated. The artist’s faith, and our own, is called forth by the evident faith of those who erected these monuments, a faith in One who is greater than death.
Kathy Hettinga teaches art and graphic design at Messiah College, in Grantham, PA. Her work has been in numerous regional, national, and international exhibitions, and her artist’s books and computer prints are in the permanent collections of the Grunewald Center for Graphic Arts, UCLA, the New York Public Library, and the library at Yale University.
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