Artist’s Statement on the Stations of the Cross

February 16, 2010 Comments Off on Artist’s Statement on the Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross

a series of ten 12” x 16” panels, acrylic & gold leaf on canvas

James Middleton, 2007-9

given by the artist  in loving memory of his Mother, Rae Fawley Middleton,

Holy Week, 2009 ~  Soli Deo Gloria

Two years ago, at the beginning of Lent, Sean Scheller challenged me to paint a series of the Stations of the Cross.  At the time, my mother was dying, and working on this series proved a tremendous help in channeling my grief:  She died on the Wednesday before Palm Sunday of 2007, and the drama of Holy Week and the joy of the Resurrection had never been more real to me.

My mother was a well-educated, agnostic Presbyterian lady whose simple Christianity was expressed in no-nonsense terms: “I don’t know anything about whether he was God or not,” she said on many occasions, “but if everybody treated everybody else the way Jesus said we should, the world would be a much nicer place.” My own Christianity runs much along those same lines – I am not very concerned with heaven or the saving of my soul ~ it has always seemed to me that those who do good in order to gain the reward of eternal life are missing something quite essential in Christ’s message.  To me it’s important to try to treat people right – the rest, God willing, will take care of itself.

I decided that since the series of Stations which I knew best – the powerful paintings by Simon Carr – depict the intensely human sufferings of Christ via facial close-ups, that I would do something different.  The idea took shape in the first I painted, which set the format for the series: “Jesus meets his Mother” – an event in the standard fourteen scenes which we do not use liturgically in our eight scene version, but which had particular resonance for me at the time.

James Middleton’s Stations of the Cross will be posted on this site during the season of Lent.

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