Mary McCleary—featured in It Was Good, Objects 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.
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.
Square Halo Books, Inc. began over a decade ago with the modest (and grand) goal of providing materials useful for encouraging and equipping the saints. Our first book was by A.D. Bauer, a pastor who, at that time, was teaching at Chesapeake Theological Seminary. From his classes on the writings of John came The End: A Reader's Guide to Revelation
.This book was not a regurgitation of all the popular theories of the last days but instead a book that laid out basic instruction on how to approach biblical interpretation—and then offered Scriptural definitions of the imagery in the book of Revelation gleaned from the rest of the Bible. With these tools in hand, it was hoped that Christians would be better equipped to study the end of the Bible on their own. We saw the value that The End would have to the larger church. So Square Halo published this book. As it turns out, over a decade later, this work on the controversial topic of eschatology was not to be the end of our company, but only the beginning.