Religious inspired paintings

Art and religion
Some reflections about my work as a landscape painter

The horizon is a place of insight. On the horizon heaven and earth are meeting. The horizon is a border and borders are places with possibilities. New things can happen. Old thoughts can be renewed. The horizon shows you where you’re coming from and where you’re going to. The horizon gives you the feeling of space and time – it is the start of an orientation, a perspective on life. Your life.
In the landscape is the border not only point of orientation, he is also the place where you will be in future. The horizon moves, you never get there. That’s important. You are always going on. The border is your perspective.

I believe that there is a poetical truth next to other kinds of truth. In my painting this poetical truth is the most important one. A poem with his layers en dimensions reveals something of the presence of the transcendental reality. In the landscape this transcendence can be discovered. It is not only in the light or the shape of the landscape. Maybe it is a feeling, a thought, some kind of meaning you put in. The landscape can carry you, the meaning comes always afterwards. Your perspective on the landscape is product of your behaviour and your vision.

The message carries the messenger. The scientific believes carries the scientist, the gospel the evangelist. That means that the message is more important. It structures our way of life, our vision on living. It is like a road in the landscape. It is maybe a way to follow or to leave. You never know where this road is going to. Only by following it, you will discover. The same with freedom, there is no way to freedom, freedom is the way. It is the same with love. The same with God and your own believe in the possibilities of a transcendental reality.

In my work I’m not looking for answers. Questions are more important. Painting is a quest, a search, following intuitive expressions. Krishnamurti already said: truth is a landscape with no trails. Therefore I’m going after the questions, and new answers create new questions. I’m quite comfortable with it, because it is like life. The spirit of God needs new words, human words, so that language can inspire. Every time again and again, new people, new words, old events, new meaning. You’re in this process, a never ending story.

To be religious means to be connected. You’re part of it. Religious art connects. It links heaven and earth, human kind and the transcendental. Religious arts points out, it searches beauty, spirit, balance, the deeper layers of life. It is a way to discover and perceive reality in a broader sense. And it can carry you like the landscape carries the people who walk in it.

John Hacking
Tuesday, 12 June 2007

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
24 of February 2016