Keaton Sapp has installed the eighth and ninth stations in his Stations of the Cross series. I will turn to his ninth at a later date, but I first want to focus on his eighth which is by far the most abstract of his pieces. It is simply a white page. Whether it is a scanned image of a white page or whether it actually reflects some shading is a mystery to me, but I think it’s brilliant.
The series of pen and ink drawings he has submitted thus far are intricate and detailed. This piece makes you think he’s forgotten something. Certainly, this is a mistake. This can’t be it. But it is.
This eighth piece, titled “The Rising,” is another example in which abstract art shows its worth. Looking at this piece begs the viewer to assign some meaning, to make some sense of it. The picture itself depicts the moment of resurrection. Here it is.
What was Keaton thinking? What can it possibly be saying about the resurrection? You need to sit on that question for yourself for a moment. It’s okay. I’ll wait….
Could the empty page signify the empty tomb? That’s a great thought. How can that be further expounded upon?
Could the brilliance of the stark, white page, portray the shining of resurrection and new creation? I think that’s good too. For me, that’s where I went.
White, does not seem like a color. As a child, using a white crayon on white paper seemed frustratingly futile. What was the point? The irony about white is that it is, in fact, every color. At some point though, I learned about “negative space.” Watercolorists make use of this effect often. Color doesn’t always need to be applied. It’s not as if a page needs filling, sometimes a minimalist stroke is the best way to communicate shape and light. I received Keaton’s latest piece in this way: not an empty page, but as a page filled with the brilliance of resurrection.
As for the poem, I’ve written in response to Keaton’s work, it is a quatrain and was inspired by Malcolm Guite‘s latest series of poems which his titled, Quarantine Quatrains you should check them out. A quatrain seemed like a good challenge, so here is mine in this season of social distancing.
You may listen to me read the poem via the player below.
There is a saying that goodness reads white,
That value and shade, whether stark or slight,
Makes more interesting the subject, more real
Than the purity of colorless light.
We think we can see, that we can see through,
But that’s false, whatever we claim to do;
To see through something is so that we may
See something beyond, what is real, what’s true.
As for light, we don’t see it as a thing,
But by it we see the bird on the wing
Whose colors give joy as he flies above;
It’s how we know, how we see everything.
White isn’t simply the absence of hue
It is all color: red, green, yellow, blue—
A spectral rainbow bound as one
Until split by prism or splashed by dew.
The black of night is when color is gone;
It is no thing, it’s singing without song;
As music fills silence, day fills the dark
It’s the good that illuminates the wrong.
Darkness sought to grasp, put the good to flight
By thinking itself something, by its might,
But on Sunday, into that nothing of a tomb
Love drove out darkness with fullness of Life.
© Randall Edwards 2020.
This poem is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thank you.
Artwork: © Keaton Sapp 2020, “The Rising” Pen and ink. All Rights Reserved.
I adore this poem! And the white page of Keatons work! Thank you for illuminating the brilliance of resurrection day!💖
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Pat and I are sitting at dinner weeping upon hearing these words from Him.
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