REVEALED: Artist Interviews

Shortly following the launch of the Revealed traveling exhibit, the CIVA Blog ran three interviews with three of the artists from Revealed: A Storybook Bible for Grown-Ups. The first was with Tanja Butler, and the second was with Mark T. Smith. The most recent was a discussion with Edward Knippers. That conversation had to be edited down for length. Following is the entire conversation:

Ned Bustard: I often explain to people that Revealed: A Storybook Bible for Grown-Ups began with my desire to make a book featuring your printmaking along side works from your collection of other printmakers who explored Christianity in their work. In your flat files are some lovely prints by Otto Dix, Howard Finster, and many others that I had scanned to use in the book but ended up not making it into the final project due to copyright issues. If we could go back and make Revealed again (and your whole collection was in the public domain), what works would you have included?

Edward Knippers: I would have included the Otto Dix pieces for sure, especially The Flight into Egypt, the Entry into Jerusalem, the Massacre of the Innocents, and the Betrayal in the Garden. There are also a number of Chagalls such as The Gray Crucifixion and Joseph Before Pharaoh that would have been nice to use, not to mention Cain Slays Abel and David and Absalom (both of which would have added the problem of color, but we are dreaming, right?). The Baptism of Christ by Max Beckmann and the Veil of Veronica by Bernard Buffet would have been good additions. And one of my favorites, although not strictly Biblical in its subject matter is Georges Rouault’s The Just Like Sandalwood Perfumes the Ax That Fells Him from the Miserere. 

Ned: Otto Dix made it into the book (in a way) with my baptism of Christ print that I made based on one of his pieces. I also included in the book (through imitation) Sadao Watanabe, Vincent van Gogh, Saul Bass, Ben Zion, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, George Rouault, and Conrad Felixmüller. The Felixmüller homage along with several other pieces that I contributed to the book contain nudity. And nudity always illicits a strong responses from viewers. One of my favorite reactions to Revealed so far was on Christmas morning. My eight-year old nephew opened the book then slammed it shut, informing his mother “This book is inappropriate.” And of course I am not the only one in the book to include nudity. Right from the start your diptych on the cover of Revealed shows Adam and Eve in all their glory. But you’re no stranger to people being offended by art you have made. Your work often comes under fire for showing too much skin. How would you respond to Christians who take issue with Revealed over the nudity we included?

Ed: The answer to your nephew’s response is in the title: “A Storybook Bible for Grown-ups.” I recently wrote a blog post for Artway in which I addressed why I have chosen to use the nude in my art. I said, “I want viewers to reconsider the Scriptures in very human terms that might shock them out of their complacency about the things of the spirit. The nude is my way of aiming at the deep and saving Truth given to us by Christ. It is an attempt to strip away our hiding places.” Revealed is a place that nudity is not only appropriate, but should be expected. In its pages we should be kept on edge thinking new and penetrating thoughts.

Ned: Your new book is called Violent Grace. That title gets at another issue people have with Revealed. Folks may not be offended by the nudity in the book, but images like Steve Halla’s depiction of the murder of children are seen as crossing the line. Why do you think violent works like that are not only acceptable, but actually had to be in this project?

Ed: The Scriptures ring true because the difficult events are not suppressed but instead are recorded for all to read, and for all to try to comprehend in the light of the reality of God. The Bible is not a cover-up job, but instructive truth dealing with real people. In the other literature from back in the day if a king was defeated in battle, the narrative would stop. The king was to only be seen in the best light. Yet in the narrative of David, as an example, his worst sins were exposed. Likewise, Steve Halla’s murder of children should be seen. Even the cannibalism in II Kings (chapter 6) would not be out of place. Your linocut, What Evil Is This? dealing with the dismemberment of a woman is no easier to contemplate. Yet for all the violence represented, Revealed has much tenderness as well. For example, prints such as Tanja Butler’s Rest on the Flight to Egypt or Albrecht Durer’s Doubting Thomas (Small Passion). Though in light of the violent images in teh book we need to remember that the Bible teaches us the often difficult fact that we are to fear nothing but God. Since He has revealed Himself as our loving father, this is truly liberating and we should learn to embrace our freedom from fear in all things, even pictures in a book. 

Ned: Continuing on with the violence thread, one of the things I like in several of your contributions to this book is the way the spiritual world violently thrusts itself into the physical world through your use of cubism. No puffy clouds or cute cherubs here. Just alien slabs of another reality marching in. 

Ed: I think that we are living between two worlds and that ours is the weaker of the two. I also think that we will have glorious work to do in that other world to which we hope to go. The puffy clouds with people sitting around doing nothing, seems to me, to be a boring anti-Christian image that makes Hell seem more interesting, even more important. Glory should be engaging and our participation in it will be wonderful, consuming all that we are and could ever hope to be—never boring. This is true because Glory is where God is and we will see Him face to face. It is difficult for paint to be able to even hint at that powerful reality. The least that we can do in trying is to not be sentimental about it. Give me Flannery O’Conner or C. S. Lewis, not Hallmark!

This brings to mind an overriding question that we should engage. It is: “Why is it easy to show evil and despair and so difficult to create images that embody goodness and joy?” 

Ned: For me that question immediately brings to mind you throwing down the gauntlet years ago during the time when I was developing the first edition of It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God. Back then you challenged me to write an essay on making art about GOOD. The task of writing that essay was certainly not a walk in the park. But in the end I was able to learn a great deal about goodness, and the ideas in that essay have shaped my artmaking ever since. In It Was Good I wrote that one reason it is so difficult to create images that embody goodness is due to a general misunderstanding of what the word really means. “We make good the equivalent of ‘nice try’ when we say a child has done good when they have merely put forth effort. And usually ‘nice’ or ‘sweet’ are presented as synonyms of good. This is where we begin to see our collective understanding of the biblical concept of good begin to break down. A nice or sweet God would not destroy every living creature (except those who could fit on one boat), in a worldwide cataclysmic flood. So we find that we all have a misunderstanding of the word, resulting from a distortion of true goodness observable in the world around us.” Also, we are completely sumbmerged in a broken world. We can neither rise above it, nor go around it. We are bound to it. It pervades everything we think and do. So portraying Good is hard because we can never get an objective viewpoint on it. 

Aside from the legitimate challenge that Good presents to the artist, I also think that the crude reality: “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” [Proverbs 9:17] comes into play here. Fallen mankind simply desires evil more than goodness.

Ed: That is certainly true, but as followers of Christ, I wonder if we fear that true goodness and joy is too remarkable to be real and therefore when we encounter any attempt to embody them we tend to discount the image as false or make-believe? 

Ned: C.S. Lewis credits that with the Temptor’s efforts. In The Screwtape Letters the senior devil writes, “The general rule which we have now pretty well established among them is that in all experiences which can make them happier or better only the physical facts are ‘Real’ while the spiritual elements are ‘subjective.’” This is why I like the cubist elements you use in your art to represent the spiritual world. We contrast the spiritual reality with the “real world.” For many, the hope of Heaven is “too good to be true.” 

Ed: Is this because we are more acquainted with grief than with joy? Can sentimental art be blamed, or is such art merely the result of a more all encompassing failure of imagination in the face of something so grand? 

Ned: I think of it as a “poisoning of the Imagination.” I have been struck over and over lately that many of our popular songs, TV shows, and movies are wrapping cyanide in Beauty. The goodness and truth of Scripture is disparaged and discredited as half-truths and lies are packaged in pretty moving images and heart-warming stories set to a good beat. We are distracted and mislead to the point that we are unable to embrace God’s ultimate reality.

Ed: There are rare times, nonetheless, when we do find goodness and joy depicted with authenticity. For example, I find such goodness and joy in the face of Jesus in Lovis Corinth’s Christ Falls Under His Cross and also in Rembrandt’s Christ Preaching (La petite Tombe). Do you see it in other pieces in Revealed?

Ned: Well, the book intentially embraced the darker stories in the Bible. But for me, Steve Prince’s Slow Dance and Tanja Butler’s Kisses both convey real goodness and joy. Prince’s piece especially seems to be an authentic, non-saccherine display of goodness and joy. Also, Albrecht Dürer’s Noli Me Tangere (on the inside back cover of the book) shows Christ, the definition of Goodness, with Mary, who, in my mind, was at that moment was the personification of Joy.

Ah, but that is enough loftiness for now! Let’s get back to earth with a bit of reflection on the gritty art of printmaking. As a graphic designer sitting in front of the computer all day, I love the fact that in printmaking there is no “Save As” button and it can be such agreat exploration trudging through the cutting of a block and arriving at the end with and unexepected image rather than the cold predictability of a “Copy/Paste.” You spend most of your time making huge oil paintings. What about the printmaking process draws you back again and again?

Ed: Printmaking is, for the most part, an intimate art form that can be spread to many viewers in its original form. There is no need for those interested in art to gather in one place in order to see the work, as is the case with painting. A print is usually a humble sheet of paper that speaks more about the ordinary world than about art, yet in doing so it becomes quite personal. For me, looking at prints is like reading a real book that is held in your hands. You are in a physical relationship with an original work of art. One might say that paintings are more standoffish. You are taken into them in a different way, a way that is more mental and less physical. However, both can be quite emotional, both can speak to the heart.

I am also drawn to printmaking as I like to see how much I can do with the simplest means. That is why many of my prints are a white line in a black field, a technique used by Matisse. In working this way, without all of the tricks of the print medium to cover my mistakes, I feel truly exposed with very little room to hide. The line must carry everything, the image, the emotion, and the presence of the idea.

Ned: Yes, I understand the appeal. I began making Second Eve immediately after seeing a Matisse print one night. I was so taken by the simplicity of the line as well. You mention how printmaking brings you into a physical relationship with an original work of art. I feel that as well. And that is why I am so glad that CIVA made a traveling exhibit from a selection of the book’s prints. Seeing them in person is so much better than merely looking at them in the book. Not that the book is bad! Good heavens, of course I want folks to buy Revealed! But it is a different experience than expereincing the art in person. And no one will ever be able to see all the art in the flesh. Even I didn’t, and I made the book.

And with that, I think we will close this conversation. Thank you for sitting down with me and tossing around all of these big ideas. And thank you for inspiring Revealed and for decades of inspiration to love God and make art that seeks to bring Him glory.

 

Deeper Magic: The Theology Behind the Writings of C.S. Lewis

We are delighted by the arrival of our new book on the writings of C.S. Lewis. And we aren't the only ones:

“Williams has produced a bracing guide to Lewis as theological writer.  The sweep of the book delves into timely themes: imagination’s relation to theology, Lewis’s misunderstanding of Fundamentalism, Hamartiology (you’ll see), an investigation into Lewis’s “trilema,” Soteriology, meaning and function of the Church, and Theological Aesthetics—just to name a few. The work is, in short, a crash-course in Evangelical theological doctrine illuminated and constantly grounded in Lewis’s (and others’s) writings.  All is composed in Williams’s strong voice and with the same useful plain-spoken clarity as Lewis.  Deeper Magic accomplishes what tragically few writers today accomplish: deeper instruction.” —Rod Miller, Professor of Art History, Hendrix College, and editor of C. S. Lewis and the Arts: Creativity in the Shadowlands

___

“C. S. Lewis’s best books are his works in literary criticism; but most people do not read them. Perhaps it is because most people are unfamiliar with medieval literature specifically and literary criticism generally. But, what would happen if there was a guide to walk you through the riches of this particular Lewis material? Professor Donald Williams, a top flight medievalist, is such a trailblazer and guide. Lewis opens more than wardrobe doors, but for most, the door has been locked. Williams has picked the lock and allows readers to see how Lewis­—the great Oxford and Cambridge scholar—made his faith the means to an integrated scholarship. It is a model for all who want to see an embodiment of what it is to actually think Christianly about any given topic. I highly recommend this book!”—Jerry Root, C. S. Lewis Scholar and Professor, Wheaton College 

___

“Williams has done the impossible: he has written a highly readable overview of C. S. Lewis’s theology. He draws from the deep well of a lifetime spent studying literature and theology and Lewis. My understanding has been greatly enriched; yours will be, too. This book is a marvel. I am happy to recommend it.” —Diana Pavlac Glyer, Professor and author of Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings

___

“In Deeper Magic: The Theology Behind the Writings of C.S. Lewis, Donald Williams writes with a clarity, freshness, fairness, and welcome worthy of his subject. Readers will find both breadth and depth in this very comprehensive and insightful analysis. One of the best-written books on Lewis’s theology.”—Devin Brown, Professor and author of A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C. S. Lewi

___

“This is the best book in print on the greatest Christian writer of our times by a noted C. S. Lewis scholar.  It is a treasure trove of systematized information—a must for every C. S. Lewis fan, and all the rest of us who should be.”—Norman Geisler, Ph.D., Author and founder of Southern Evangelical Seminary

Teaching Beauty: A Vision for Music & Art in Christian Education

Glowing praise for our new book on Art, Music, Faith, and Education:
 

The team of artists and thinkers assembled in Teaching Beauty have blessed art educators within the Body of Christ with an essential and timely discourse regarding the place of beauty, divine inspiration, and the role of the hand of the artist. As da Vinci once declared, “Unless the Spirit works with the hand, there is no art." —Tim High, Associate Professor of Studio Art, University of Texas at Austin

___

Teaching Beauty is certain to open important conversations about teaching art and music within the Christian community and beyond. I believe this book will be a valuable asset especially to all of us now involved—or yet to be involved—in arts education from a Christian perspective. —Peter Mollenkof, Professor of Art at Messiah College

___

Christian education has grown in leaps and bounds since I cut my teeth in the early 90’s. We have observed areas of weakness and made vast improvements. But by and large, the one area that seems to have been the red-haired step-child is the teaching of the arts. It is high time we realize that teaching beauty should have been central to it all. This volume is a glorious leap in that direction. —Bruce Etter, Head of School, Wilson Hill Academy

___

At the heart and in the soul of Christianity and classical education rests the soul-nourishing energy of Beauty: building bridges between souls, between communities, between spirit and body, heaven and earth, God and man; and drawing us to our eternal home. 
     Beauty, however, eludes us (and can mislead us) and its hard to understand how to teach it. The essays presented to us by this extraordinary fellowship of authorities and artists and doers gives us eyes to see, ideas to understand, and practices to imitate. I receive it as a gift of grace—even of “grace notes.” —Andrew Kern, President of CiRCE Institute

___

 I cannot say how glad I am that [these] reflections are now available for all of us, maybe especially those of us not connected to the classical schooling movement, who might otherwise not get to read this kind of stuff very often. As I regularly say, agree or not with every sentence, I heartily commend this book.
. . . But, again, I hope I am clear in saying this is not just a book for those working in classical Christian schools, or even for those who are working in Christian schools. In fact, it’s not even just for those who are in schools.  Parents, choir-directors, church school teachers, Christian ed professionals all will all be informed and aided in their efforts to think well about shaping the lives of those God has given them to influence.  Anybody who wants to learn more—maybe not having been schooled in aesthetics all . . . will benefit from listening in to these thinkers and educators about how to teach music and art within a context of learning to love goodness, truth, and beauty. —Byron Borger, Hearts & Minds Bookstore

CLICK HERE for Hearts & Minds Bookstore's lengthy (and quite insightful) review of this book.

Holiness

CLICK HERE to listen to a brief discussion of the holiness of God was presented by Square Halo author A.D. Bauer at Freedom Church (a Baptist church in Baltimore), as the first in a series of talks on the Attributes of God. To read a transcript of the discussion, CLICK HERE.

Revealed: Book Release Party and Art Exhibit Opening

On First Friday, June 3, 2016 from 6-9pm the Square Halo Gallery will be opening a new exhibit that will run through the summer entitled “Revealed: The Story of the Bible in Contemporary Prints.” This show is a collection of new works from the pages of Revealed: A Storybook Bible for Grown-UpsIn conjunction with the opening of the exhibit, the gallery will host a book release party for Revealed. A short talk will be given at 7pm by the author. Light refreshments will be provided, and copies of the book will be available for purchase. Click Here to learn more about this event.

Revealed: A Storybook Bible for Grown-Ups

When folks hear the words “The Bible,” images of Westboro Baptists or Precious Moments’ kitschy angels with freakishly large heads may pop to mind. But the Bible is very differently than either of those extremes. Revealed: A Storybook Bible for Grown-Ups is a new book from Square Halo Books that shows the Bible as it really is—in all its raw, violent, and sexy glory. There are over 130 images by a wide range of artists—living and dead, Christian and non-Christian. Artists in this book include Hans Burgkmair, Margaret Bustard, Ned Bustard, Tanja Butler, Matthew L. Clark, Lovis Corinth, Erin Cross, Albrecht Dürer, Jean Duvet, Wayne Lacson Forte, Richard Gaston, Eric Gill, Steve Halla, Craig Hawkins, David Busch Johnson, Diego Jourdan Pereira, Edward Knippers, Chris Koelle, Kevin Lindholm, Franz Marc, Chris Stoffel Overvoorde, Steve Prince, Mark T. Smith, Justin Sorensen, Ryan Stander, Rembrandt van Rijn, Henri Van Straten, and Kreg Yingst. Fifty-eight of the images were made specifically for this book. Each spread in the book is a different account from the Bible. On the left is the scripture passage and a brief commentary on the art and the passage. On the right is the artwork. The commentaries help the reader to look deeper into the passage and help them to understand and apprecaite the art more. They also quote from many writers including N.T. Wright, Tim Keller, C.S. Lewis, Luci Shaw, A.D. Bauer, Denis Haack, D.A. Carson, Eric Jacobsen, Billy Graham, John Piper, Bono, and C.H. Spurgeon to name a few.

J. Mark Bertrand (novelist, speaker, and founder of the Bible Design Blog) says: “Revealed sets out to crush any notion that the Bible is a safe, inspirational read. Instead the artwork here, historic and contemporary, takes a warts-and-all approach to even the most troubling passages, trading well-meaning elision for unvarnished truth. If you gaze deeper, Revealed springs another surprise, too: it debunks the equally prevalent misconception that a sacred anthology ages in the making can offer no single, unifying message. To see that message, however, might just require a second look at verses that make the pious avert their eyes.” 

The official book release party for Revealed is scheduled for June 3, 2016 in the Square Halo Gallery. More details can be found HERE.

An interview with The Gospel Coalition about the book can be found HERE.

An article from The Washington Times about several of the contributors to Revealed can be found HERE.

Heart & Minds Bookstore awarded Revealed the BEST ART BOOK OF 2015 and also wrote a nice review HERE.

A PechaKucha presentation about Revealed can be watched HERE.

An article about Revealed on ArtWay can be found HERE.

And Revealed can be found on First Things' 2015 Christmas Guide to Buying a Bible.

Bigger on the Inside: Christianity and Doctor Who

On Thursday, March 26 at The Trust Performing Arts Center The Row House hosted a book release party for Bigger on the Inside. The lecture from the book release can be heard HERE. A write-up about the book release can be read HERE. And another one is HERE. To read more rumination on ideas in and around the intersection of Christianity and Doctor Who, click HERE. An article by Gregory Thornbury on Doctor Who in The Washington Post can be read HERE.

It Was Good: Music — Book Release Parties

It Was Good: Making Music to the Glory of God is such an important book to us that it required TWO release parties! The North event was October 4 in Lancaster, PA. It included a workshop at Lancaster Bible College then a concert at The Trust Performing Arts Center. The contributors included: Diana Bauer, Rob Bigley, Bethany Brooks, Paul Buckley, Ned Bustard, Mark Chambers, Julius Fischer, Joy Ike, Steve Nichols, Doug Plank, and Gregg Strawbridge. (CLICK HERE or Joy Ike's impression of the Lancaster Book Release Event.). The South event was October 18 in Nashville, TN. It included a round table forum at Belmont (CLICK HERE for a write up about the Belmont discussion) then a concert at the Massey Performing Arts Center. The contributors included: Diana Bauer, Katy Bowser, Bethany Brooks, Paul Buckley, Ned Bustard, Ruth Naomi Floyd, Steve Guthrie, Joy Ike, Sarah Masen, Sandra McCracken, and Brad O’Donnell.

C.S. Lewis and the Arts: Creativity in the Shadowlands

On C.S. Lewis’ birthday we released the newest book from Square Halo Books: C.S. Lewis and the Arts: Creativity in the Shadowlands. The book is a collection of essays edited by Rod Miller and featuring David C. Downing, Bruce Herman, Scott B. Key, Don W. King, Jerry Root, David Rozema, Peter J. Schakel, Charlie W. Starr, and Will Vaus, with a foreword by Theodore Prescott.

Lewis holds a notable place in the church and in the world for both his creative literary contributions as well as his informed reflections upon artistic activity. He negotiated the intellectual and aesthetic issues of his day in his creative endeavors and sought to ground those in relation to his faith. The arguments, perceptions and values Lewis posited benefit those today who seek to use their creative gifts beyond mere fad but towards the holy.

“Helpful and worthwhile. Anyone seeking to understand Lewis’s approach to the arts will profit from this array of interesting perspectives.” —Dr. Michael Ward, co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to C.S. Lewis

“Even fifty years after his death, C.S. Lewis remains one the most popular and influential Christian writers and thinkers of the twentieth century. So much has been written about him, one wonders what else can possibly be said. But this book is a fascinating exploration of Lewis’s thinking about the arts, making it a must read book for anyone who loves Lewis and loves the arts.”—Mary McCleary, artist

“We need more books like this: books that not only celebrate and decipher Lewis’s defense of the arts and of the ineradicable links between the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, but that wrestle alongside Lewis, extending and nuancing his arguments so that they will speak with direct and prophetic power to our modern and postmodern colleges and universities.” —Dr. Louis Markos, author of Restoring Beauty: The Good, the True, and the Beautiful in the Writings of C.S. Lewis

It Was GOOD: Music —But Don't Just Take Our Word For It!

Karen Peris of The Innocence Mission writes, "Musicians will be encouraged and uplifted by the essays is this book, which seeks to put into words our shared wonder and gratitude for the gift of music in our lives."

Dave Perkins, Associate Director of the Religion in the Arts and Contemporary Culture program at The Divinity School of Vanderbilt University writes, “Is it possible to fully elucidate the spiritual, emotional, intellectual, even physical experiences of music making?  Perhaps the best way to go about it is to gather a choir of voices. It Was Good: Making Music to the Glory of God offers a rich resource of perspectives, each working to share some aspect or moment in the experience of that mercurial characteristic of human being we call music and its place in the life of faith.”

Erin M. Stephens writes, "If the Church is the Body of Christ, then music is its heartbeat. Music reverberates in the spirit, draws individuals together into community, and guides them in the common desire to exalt their Savior. Through music, Christians experience an inexplicable link to their Creator. Though mysterious, this interaction is a central facet of Christianity that intimately informs your relationship with God. Each follower of Christ, regardless of personal musical ability, should cultivate a God-centered understanding of music. For such an endeavor, It was Good: Making Music to the Glory of God edited by Ned Bustard is an ideal resource. In its engaging pages, thirty devout music-professionals offer their unique perspectives on music-making. Its content is accessible, its contributors authoritative, and its captivating insights universally applicable, making this book a necessary pleasure for worship leader and worshiper alike." CLICK HERE to read the full review.

Jeremy Begbie, author of Resounding Truth writes, "Lively, engaging and eminently readable—this book shows that it is still possible to write about music in a way that enriches our experience of it. Above all, it will renew your gratitude to God for making such an art possible.”

Denis Haack writes, "I was delighted about the first in this series, It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God, and equally delighted by this second volume on music. Each chapter explores a different aspect of the topic, from silence to listening to improvisation to instruments to touring to harmony and much more. Written by musicians, theologians, songwriters and musicologists, it becomes a valuable resource for both musicians and those of us who cannot make music but cannot live without it. Reading this book is like hearing from the other side—from those writing the music or recording it or playing it live—so the experience of music is less fragmented and we are better able to see how it can all play out to God’s glory." CLICK HERE to read the full review.

Composer J.A.C. Redford writes, “Making music to the glory of God is both a calling and a delight. Dialoguing with other artists who embrace the same vocation is a source of particular joy for me, and this collection of thoughtful essays invites readers into reflections and conversations that will nourish and inspire. The diverse voices represented in It Was Good: Making Music to the Glory of God weave together rich harmony with subtle dissonance. If you listen carefully, you may just hear the answering voices of saints and angels in heavenly counterpoint.”

Christopher Dicram Hale of Aradhna writes, “A book like this is a life line of hope, encouragement, and joy to a musician whose journey continues to be anything but normal after twenty-two years of worshiping Jesus through Hindi devotional music genres.”

Walt Harrah writes, "For musicians, ruts are a normal (even if potentially hazardous) part of the job. The musician’s field of vision can tend to shrink, unless the musician is forced—often kicking and screaming—outside of his comfort zone. This book had that effect on me, and I trust will do the same for my fellow musicians seeking to make music to God’s glory." CLICK HERE to read the full review.

Beauty Given by Grace

Square Halo Books is pleased to report that coming soon is a new book published with CIVA to support and complement the upcoming traveling exhibit,

Beauty Given by Grace: The Biblical Prints of Sadao Watanabe. The book will officially be released at the opening of the show at the Billy Graham Center Museum. Even though Watanabe's art can be found in the most important museums in the world, he always desired to have his work displayed where it could be seen and enjoyed by ordinary people. It is hoped that Beauty Given by Grace will introduce many new communities to the luminous biblical prints of this dedicated and gifted Japanese Christian artist. Lavishly illustrated, half of the book features full page reproductions of the works found in the traveling exhibit along with the passages from the Bible which inspired their creation. The rest of the book contains other works by Sadao Watanabe not in the show with essays by Sandra Bowden, I. John Hesselink (his interpreter), Makoto Fujimura, and John A. Kohan.

Visions of The End

Square Halo is getting into the ebook side of publishing.  We already published a Kindle version of Intruding Upon the Timeless by Greg Wolfe and our most recent ebook is a really helpful little booklet on Revelation titled Visions of The End: A Glossary of the Images in Revelation.  Some of you may have seen or read The End by A. D. Bauer.  The new ebook takes what most people like best about The End which is the glossary of images and presents it in an even more accessible form.  Nice features of the new ebook include; additional images are defined, you can use the table of contents to go directly to the images that start with a particular letter and as with all ebooks, whether you get the book through iTunes or Kindle, it is easy to take it with you on your phone, tablet or laptop. The thing that is so exciting about this new ebook is that it makes Revelation really accessible.  If you have ever read Revelation, after you get through the first three chapters and you are thinking, ’this isn’t so bad’, you are suddenly bombarded with a series of images that can be completely incomprehensible. Visions of The End tells you all the places in Revelation where an image is found, it points you to where in the Bible the image originates and it helps you understand the meaning of the image in light of how that image is used in Revelation, and elsewhere in Scripture.  The thing that is so nice about this ebook is that you do not have to start from a particular end time view to benefit from this book.  You can disagree with one or more definitions and still find definitions that help you understand a part of the book that you always found confusing.  Additionally, we are offering discounts on our other traditional books.  How do you get the discount?  Find out in Visions of The End

.

A GOOD Look at the Sistine Chapel

There is a wonderful website you should visit to experience the Sistine Chapel, here.

But perhaps before you look around the chapel you should read Dr. James Romaine's essay about the Ceiling in our book It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God. In that chapter Romaine helps us understand the order of it all: "Michelangelo’s frescoes on the Sistine Chapel ceiling represent the Genesis narrative of Creation, Fall, and Redemption as an epic history of divine action. The program is constructed of nine scenes divided into three groups of three. In order beginning from the altar, these are: The Separation of Light and Darkness, The Creation of Land and Vegetation and The Creation of the Sun and Moon, The Bringing Forth of Life from the Waters, The Creation of Adam, The Creation of Eve, The Temptation and Expulsion, The Faithfulness of Noah, The Flood, and The Drunkenness of Noah.

The nine scenes that run the length of the chapel thematically group into three triads: God’s creation of the world before humanity, the creation and fall of humanity, and the life of Noah."

Where Were You?

Funny how our culture marks significant events by asking the simple question, "Where were you when..."

Where were you when John F. Kennedy was shot, when Neil Armstrong took those epic first steps on the moon, or when the Berlin Wall toppled?

In my lifetime perhaps no better answer to this iconic question would be where I was when the planes hit the World Trade Center's Twin Towers. I don't think there has been an event in our collective American consciousness quite like what happened to our country on the beautiful day, September 11, 2001.

Why is that so? For one, millions of us watched in real time when the first plane hit that first tower. We were confused and thought surely this was a mistake. The plane veered off course. We thought this until the second plane hit its twin. That was deliberate. We saw smoke, fire and debris of an ungodly nature.

That second act begs a more significant question then just the standard “where were you”. That question is, “Where was God”?

Square Halo Books took on that question in our book, Light at Ground Zero: St. Paul’s Chapel after 9/11. This book is a compilation of photographs taken by Krystyna Sanderson of the relief efforts after those towers and our hopes collapsed. These photographs document God's hands, feet, and heart in action as Saint Paul's Chapel became the center where the first responders found relief. The Church open itself up to became a sanctuary to all who bravely took upon themselves the massive task set before them. And Krystyna's photographic heart captured it all without any expectation that her pictures would ever see the light of day. At Saint Paul’s we answer the question, “Where was God?” We found God hard at work through His church binding up our Nation’s wounded bodies and souls.

Since September 11th, thousands and thousands of people visited Saint Paul's Chapel and purchased this wonderful book of healing, Light at Ground Zero. It stands as a photographic tribute to good triumphing over evil. Pairing Biblical verses and thoughts from the Book of Common Prayer with Krystyna’s photographs makes Light at Ground Zero very distinctive.  Photographs paired with verse helps make sense out of a senseless act and answers the question, where was God on 9/11. He was there and Krystyna captured Him in action for all of us to see. We recommend this book to you as you face situations where you may be asking, “Where was God when...”

—Diana DiPasquale, President of Square Halo Books, Inc.

--

On September 24, 2011, Square Halo Books is helping to sponsor a forum at  The Row House that will feature Krystyna speaking about Light at Ground Zero

.

WORLD Magazine

We're very pleased to announce that WORLD Magazine has featured Krystyna Sanderson's book Light at Ground Zero: St. Paul's Chapel After 9/11 on their book review page in the Spotlight section. This issue of the magazine focuses on remembering the tragedy of 9/ll. Light at Ground Zero is the first title from Square Halo Books to be featured in WORLD. We have always been so very proud of this book, and are thankful that we could be a part in making it.

08.18.11

Square Halo Books was delighted to release The Art of Guy Chase this past year. It was the second in a series that we are developing that will be focussing on excellent visual artists who are followers of Christ. So it is with regret that we received the news that Guy passed away last week on the eighteenth of August. James Romaine commented that: "Guy was a great artist and a better person. He demonstrated that a work of art is a strategy of perceiving the world. His art’s humility and humor encourages a delight in the visible through a contemplation of the invisible. Or, is it the other around? Guy was able to see and manifest these as reconciled.” 

You can read the article in Comment about Guy Chase by Romaine here.

We are so very glad to have been able to publish a book that lauded this fine artist and a dear brother in Christ. In addition to our book, Karen Mulder has been working on an article to be released in Image Journal that will give an overview of Guy's work. Look for that this Fall. Also, CIVA's new sourcebook features Guy's work on the front cover and on all the divider pages.

A memorial service for Guy Chase is going to be held tomorrow, August 23rd, 10:00 am, in the House of Mercy Church.  Please remember his family in your prayers on Tuesday.

Artist of the Year!

Mary McCleary—featured in It Was GoodObjects of Grace and After Paradise—has been selected as the 2011 Texas Artist of the Year by Art League Houston. As Texas Artist of the Year, Mary McCleary will be featured in an exhibition at Art League Houston, which opens on September 9 and runs through October 21, 2011. We are very proud of Mary and glad that she is getting the recognition that her work deserves! If you are unfamiliar with her work, we encourage you to get After Paradise first. In that title you will find many recent works by McCleary. Older works and a lengthy interview can be found in Objects of Grace. And in It Was Good you will find an essay by McCleary on craftsmanship.

Courage

New York City photographer Krystyna Sanderson has an online store up now that is featuring her piece "Courage" from our book Light at Ground Zero. As we get closer to the tenth anniversary of the horrible attacks made against our country, it is good to be able to look at  Light at Ground Zero and see how God's work of mercy was carried on behind the closed doors of St. Paul's Chapel.

The Four Holy Gospels

The artist Makoto Fujimura is quite a favorite of ours. We first featured him in It Was Good. Then he was interviewed (twice) in our book Objects of Grace. And just recently we did a small book showcasing his art alongside the paintings of Georges Rouault.

But enough about us.

This post is to let you know that Mako has recently partnered with Crossway to create a an illuminated harmony of the Gospels to celebrate the KJV's 400th anniversary. It is easy to imagine how lovely the book would be, based on the reproductions of his paintings in our Square Halo titles, but to see it in your hands is breath taking. It is like holding a new Book of Kells. It is a joy to page through and discover the decorated caps at the beginning of chapters, the marginalia gracefully littering the pages, and of course, the full paintings. My favorite of the larger works was the piece that begins the gospel according to John called In the Beginning.

Mako's art is what I'd call semi-abstract because he often brings in visual elements that the viewer recognizes—like a tree, or a fish, or a flower, etc. This made it especially delightful to page through The Four Holy Gospels. The marginalia is a combination of representational and abstract paintings. The art draws you in, making you want to discover what aspect of the text Mako is bringing out visually. There were so many of these "incidental" pieces that captured my imagination, but I was especially pleased to see the last page, where Mako had painted a blood-stained tree reminiscent of the Shalom lithograph that hangs in our home.

This amazing new book looks lovely displayed on a bookshelf, but it resists becoming merely a decoration. Seeing it makes you want to come up with reasons to take it down and read it (when my eldest daughter saw this book she commented on it by saying, "THAT'S what it should be like to read the Bible").

So I urge you, if you are able, get a copy of The Four Holy Gospels. When you read it your heart and your mind will be changed as the words of our Lord mingle with the beauty in the art. Soli Deo Gloria.

Books and Culture and Soliloquies

Square Halo's recent book, Rouault-Fujimura: Soliloquies, was mentioned today in a post by John Wilson, the editor of Books & Culture. Half of the post is about Baylor's show Sacred Texts, Holy Images. Bill Dyrness has said that our little book "could go a long way toward helping art literati see the natural connections of faith, tradition and contemporary styles." Hopefully the Baylor show will will be a similar help to those who visit the exhibition.