MENNONITE PREACHER 1996
acrylic / screen print / collagraph: triptych
78 in x 204
The HERITAGE WORKS exhibition is an attempt to remember, express and record Midwest rural communal life. Having grown up in a Mennonite family on a farm near Fargo, North Dakota, my life and worldview were strongly influenced by farm work, reliance on family, and a strong identity with the church community. Expression of these influences is sought in imagery that symbolizes honesty, simplicity, and scriptural literalism—characteristics of Mennonite life. These memories also find expression through the directness of photo silk-screened images on untreated cotton duck canvas, an aesthetic that is forthright and expressed in a monochromatic style results. Conversely, this intention is contrasted with brightly painted elements signaling secular society and the lure of “worldly” enticements. “Being in the world, but not of the world” is further symbolized by dividing the painting surface into components. The heritage series of paintings caused me to probe the most intimate aspects of personal memory. The challenge for me, however, was to remain honest to a personal aesthetic, to pay homage to a nurturing community, and to explore a visual arena that is symbolic, iconographic, and spiritual.
*The HERITAGE WORKS are part of the Midwest Museum of American Art’s permanent collection.