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Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Visual Commentary on Scripture: A Question of Faith

I'm delighted that my second exhibition for the Visual Commentary on Scripture has just been published and can be found at A Question of Faith | VCS (

It's called 'A Question of Faith' and explores Hebrews 11 through the paintings of New Zealand artist Colin McCahon. McCahon is widely recognised as New Zealand’s foremost painter. Over 45 years, his work encompassed many themes, subjects and styles, from landscape to figuration to abstraction and an innovative use of painted text. His adaption of aspects of modernist painting to a specific local situation and his intense engagement with spiritual matters, mark him out as a distinctive figure in twentieth-century art.

The VCS is a freely accessible online publication that provides theological commentary on the Bible in dialogue with works of art. It helps its users to (re)discover the Bible in new ways through the illuminating interaction of artworks, scriptural texts, and commissioned commentaries. The virtual exhibitions of the VCS aim to facilitate new possibilities of seeing and reading so that the biblical text and the selected works of art come alive in new and vivid ways.

Each section of the VCS is a virtual exhibition comprising a biblical passage, three art works, and their associated commentaries. The curators of each exhibition select artworks that they consider will open up the biblical texts for interpretation, and/or offer new perspectives on themes the texts address. The commentaries explain and interpret the relationships between the works of art and the scriptural text.

The McCahon exhibition varies the usual VCS format slightly by providing a greater focus on works by one artist than is usually the case. That is possible in this instance because all of the works in the exhibition explore aspects of Hebrews 11.

My first exhibition for the VCS was 'Back from the Brink' on Daniel 4: 'Immediately the word was fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men, and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws.' (Daniel 4:33). In the exhibition I explore this chapter with William Blake's Nebuchadnezzar, 1795–c.1805, Arthur Boyd's Nebuchadnezzar's Dream of the Tree, 1969, and Peter Howson's The Third Step, 2001.

Find out more about the VCS, its exhibitions and other resources through a short series of HeartEdge workshops introducing the VCS as a whole and exploring particular exhibitions with their curators. These workshops can be viewed here, here, here and here.


 Crowded House - Weather With You.

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