Religious Inspiration

Religious inspiration in my work as a landscape-painter

Religion is in my opinion the relation between heaven and earth and this connection becomes visible in the horizon. Religious stories told in a painting, have sometimes a horizon and this horizon can be interpreted as a semiotic sign. For instance: the goal of a journey, the past, the future becomes visible. In stories without a horizon the spectator is confronted with the directness of what is happening. There is at this moment no yesterday and no tomorrow because the focus is on the pictured action. In an experience of revelation mostly the moment is described and then what has to be done. In a dream someone dreamed about an expectation, a goal or a task. Painting these events gives you the choice to concentrate on the moment itself, the dream, the revelation or the action, or to show also the content of the dream, the goal or purpose and why it was given (for example the past or the reason in the past to intervene).
The last years I started also to concentrate on this stories because life and death of Jezus Christ and of his mother Mary took my attention. By painting these stories you get a new connection to them and many questions are raised. How did they look like, how was the situation and how to paint it? Emotions, feelings, expressions, you can only presume. So fantasy has a role in this kind of painting.
But these paintings invite the spectator to look carefully. To make his own decisions and to make clear for himself what is happening in these stories. Maybe a new relation between his own life and the told story pops up, maybe he started to look with new eyes, stimulated by the vision and the expression of the artist. Hieronymus Bosch is a good ans extreme example because his paintings raise many questions and invite the spectator to look in a new way to this religious context. His outstanding style and expression of religious experiences and the subjects and objects he painted may confuse us up till today.
The landscape and also the abstractness of these landscapes in detail and in common are my theme in my art of painting and a reference to them you can also find in my paintings of religious stories like the way of the cross and life of Mother Mary. You can cut a painting in parts and you find these abstract elements, these little landscapes. But also in general so get an impression of the abstract approximation of these stories. Figurative painting is not my goal. In the abstraction I try to express emotions and feelings. As a spectator you’re invited to bring in your own attitude and openness to experience what is expressed in the painting.
Painting is for me also a way of survey, a search to meaning. In words the proces of giving meaning (I call it the proces of ‘semiose’, a semiotic way o acting and thinking, speaking and experience) is quietly different than with paint. This proces has therefore a sense that not in words can be captured.
Painting is a way of framing reality and the impressions of it. When the horizon is missing the possibility ‘to escape’ from the focus on the action to what maybe will come or has been, expressed in the horizon, is cut off. I never saw the horizon in that way but realizing what I was doing when I painted scenes out of the life of Mary, I got this insight. The horizon is more important than I supposed and its function in paintings is significant. These way of seeing increases your understanding of a painting.
In the paintings I made of the way of the cross and last words on the cross you can experience what is happening and how it gives you as a spectator an impulse to overthink what I’m have said about the horizon.

John Hacking
2016

landscape