Art Fusion

My church is also an art center.  Famous local artists are headquartered there, and there’s a buzz about the art leading up to the open gallery night on the first Friday of each month.

This month, a friend of mine and his wife are teaming up to put on a joint art show together.  The twist?  He’s a programmer.

In an article about the show (which, full disclosure, was written by my wife), the fusion of poetry, code, and visual arts is discussed, and I suggest you take a look; it’s a fascinating read about a fascinating show.  But there’s more than just beautiful works going on in this show.

A Diverse Show: Joel Dart and his wife Kathryn are both brilliant people in their own right, but without both of their talents together, this show could not have happened.  His programming skills and fascination with poetry written in the form of code is what initially sparked the show, but without her visual arts excellence and the striking works she can produce with wax, it’s unlikely that his work could have been conveyed with such a visual punch to the non-programmer world.  They needed one another to produce this show.

A Difficult Show: Dart has been working on the concept of JavaScript poetry for five years, and has presented it several times as a talk in front of programmers.  I’ve seen it three times (twice in person), and each time it gets better.  But it’s also clear how difficult it is to present such deep concepts in such a linguistically foreign way.  And it’s difficult to understand; even for someone familiar with JavaScript, the talk can illuminate the code in a fascinating way that the code by itself has difficulty portraying.  When you do get it, it has a way of making you feel triumphant.

A Loving Show:  Hearing Joel talk about his work is fascinating, but becomes all the more poignant when you realize that many of his poems were conceived of and written while he was coding his then-ill daughter.  The love can be seen dripping from the words and functions of his code.  Similarly, Kathryn used over 190 pounds of wax to create 4,000 individual cubes for the show, all showing the love she has for her family and her art.

Redeeming Art:  The story of Joel and Kathryn reminds me how honored and pleased I am to be a part of a community that places such a value on diversity, shared triumph, and love.  The sanctuary around us as we worship every Sunday is surrounded by pieces that remind us how much more we are together than we could ever have been apart.  It’s so exciting to see art join with the more traditional liturgy of singing and preaching to give a unique and different glory to God.  That’s part of why the church released a book about “Liturgical Arts” earlier this year, and it’s why I tweet every new piece of art in the Redeemer sanctuary on my personal account.

But most of all, it reminds me:
– how much we need one another – our diverse talents and skills, our different experiences and way of loving one another, our community, to sharpen one another as iron sharpens iron –
– how much we need to share our triumphs – to mourn with those who mourn, but also to rejoice with those who rejoice, praising God for the adversity He has caused our brothers and sisters to overcome –
– how much we need to love one another – because without love we are nothing but a loud noise.

Praise God for His work through the arts, and His work through the Darts.

• • •

John Piper has a much more in-depth look at the connection between beauty, poetry, and God’s power in the book Seeing Beauty and Saying Beautifully, and buying it or any other item through this link helps support Redeeming Culture at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

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