I have been thinking a lot and drawing a lot this past few days. The thing that has occupied me for a while has been this idea of ecstasy. Bernini addresses it in his sculpture of St. Theresa, but I have been wondering about it in my own work.
At this stage of my life, I am barely a Christian. I do have a long personal history as a Catholic so I do have access to ideas and models of trasformation, the miraculous and so forth. I can call to mind many stories of the lives of the saints, for example. But in my practice these have not been helpful in determining aesthetic frameworks for this project.
I remember seeing a movie when I was a kid about the Rapture. Essentially, this kid and his mom had a fight and she sent him to the store. While he is there, the Rapture happens, when the faithful are taken bodily from the earth. There is a terrifying, slow motion bottle of milk falling and smashing on the floor. The holder had been "raptured" and there was only a pile of clothes where she had stood. The kid rushes home and finds a pile of clothes in the kitchen where his mom used to be. Needless to say, this scared the shit out of me.
I have been thinking a lot about that while in Savannah. The possibility of being taken away in religious ecstasy. Can that happen now? What does it look like? And really, since I am gay and an abomination in a cosmology that contains the Rapture, I know I will be "left behind." Who gets to go? Who has to stay? And since the sinners create the opportunities for the saints, is there a way that I am helping the faithful get to Heaven? What sort of service can I provide for the faithful? Similar to the service gay men provided to people of faith like Ted Haggard. (FYI if you see the movie Jesus Camp, there is a scene of Pastor Ted exhorting the children to hate gays. It's edifying.)
As I keep making these drawings it is becoming clearer to me.