Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Visual Exegesis/Visual Theology: Bunyan's Order & Causes, Annie Vallotton, Chris Koelle, Challies, Chris Powers animation 'It is finished'

I have written before about an extraordinary young man named Chris Powers. He is using his artistic gift for the glory of God in creating visual art for the world. He calls his art and animations "visual exegesis" because he uses a verse and creates an artistic rendition of the verse or doctrinal concept in visual form. This is extraordinarily difficult to do.

Famously, John Bunyan did this with words and pictures in his allegorical book Pilgrim's Progress.


Bunyan also made the first visual theology chart in Christendom when he created his poster Order and Causes of Salvation and Damnation-

Source
Chris Koelle is an artist who worked with Matt Dorff in collaboration to create an artistic rendition of the Book of Revelation. There are multiple difficult images in that apocalyptic book of the Bible and the doctrines are difficult too. Yet some talented people have an ability to create images that communicate these doctrines with clarity and accuracy without disrespect to the Lord or the Holy Spirit who inspired the words. Koelle's images are drawn in complicated, eerily sinister yet glorifying ways.

Another noted Bible artist is Annie Vallotton, whose images are as far from Koelle's as it is possible to be. Vallotton's illustrations contain just a few clear, simple pen lines, yet are just as evocative as Koelle's grand and complex illustrations. Vallotton illustrated the Good News Bible and created about 500 images for the finished product. However Vallotton said in an interview that for each image she might make up to 90 drafts until she felt the verse's message was clearly communicated in the image.  You can read about her here, or more in depth here. Or here.
The largely expressionless figures make little attempt to interpret the text, but rather invite the reader to do so.
Job railing against the LORD'S 'injustice'.
I'd like to add Chris Powers to the list for your consideration. I've been watching his growth as an artist and as a Brother in the faith for some years now. His work is solidly dedicated to the Lord. He does what he calls visual exegesis, to what Challies calls "visual theology".
We live in a visual culture. Today, people increasingly rely upon visuals to help them understand new and difficult concepts. The rise and popularity of the Internet infographic has given us a new way to convey data, concepts, and ideas. But the visual portrayal of truth is not a novel idea. God himself used visuals to teach truth to his people. If you have ever considered the different elements within the Old Testament tabernacle or temple you know that each element was a visual representation of a greater truth. The sacrificial system and later the cross were also meant to be visual—visual theology. (source)

Tim Challies' book Visual Theology goes on sale next month. I've already pre-ordered my copy.

Powers is completing his art book titled "Visual Exegesis, Vol. 1" a book which has his visual theology on one page and his explanation on the opposite page. It will be ready for publication on Amazon in a few weeks as of this writing. You can learn more about the upcoming book, here. You can take a sneak peek at the new book, here. You can see Chris explain the book, here and take an even longer sneak peek. Here is Chris explaining his art book, Visual Exegesis:
[I]n the upcoming art book, I try to highlight the exegetical element in each image. The book has a picture on one page and a description of how the text was translated into image on the other. My goal here is to strengthen the tether between word and image so that the imagery might deepen our understanding of scripture, and scripture would enlighten our understanding of the image. 
It is a stunning art book:



Mainly, Chris Powers makes animations. To that end, he has completed a stunning new animation to the song It Is Finished. I'll post the video below. Below that is a video explaining his thought process for why he chose to depict certain arts of the song the way he did. Both videos are worth a look.

Powers' work is freely available. I repeat: he is giving his animations and study curricula, tracts, and other material away for free. He is also creating lesson plans and guides to accompany each animation, so they can be used n small groups. He has volunteer translators translating the work into Spanish and Portuguese. His website is fullofeyes.com. He is on Patreon and Gaius, if you want to make a one-time donation or support his work each month, even at the $1 level.

I personally believe his work is making a tremendous impact for the kingdom and I am fervently using this medium to promote him and his work at Full Of Eyes. I hope you feel his work is worthy of praise also, and promote him within your sphere.










2 comments :

  1. Elizabeth, have you ever seen any of Clarence Larkin's charts? They are excellent. Here is a link where you can view the charts: http://clarencelarkincharts.com/

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  2. my favorite is 'The Word of the Cross'. So powerful! Chris does a really great job of showing us the concept of being dead in sin. You see just how scary it is when you see his drawings of it.


    Jennifer

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