Sometimes in an art museum alongside the large canvas of a masterpiece there will be a small image which is a detail from the work which has been enlarged for emphasis. You might consider these images from the garden of some friends in just such a way. These images do not do justice to the overall planning of the plots, their pleasant arrangement in a large corner lot surrounded by a wooden fence, but they do demonstrate the beauty contained therein, sometimes with some of the remaining blight of the neighborhood in blurred background. May it all be as lovingly and skillfully restored as is this garden. On another level, perhaps in a well conceived garden the details are really the main point–the delightful nooks, the pleasant juxtapositions. I did not capture them all, but here are a few.
I post another set of ruin photos and once again attendant upon this act are the feelings and the questions of what is it inside me that make such photos appealing. Are the images cautionary? Or are they mirrors–a feeling of diminished glory in own life which is reflected so well here in this crumbling church. Whatever the case may be in my own reflections on these images, I should note that a church is fundamentally more than the building in which it is housed. Perhaps the building which a church indwells says something about that church or about its past or the things it values or how it views God, and yet a church is not its building. A church may wither first and then its building after it or a church may go on strong and its building be left behind like the molted shell of an insect. That is the case with this church, as I have it on good authority that this church continues to thrive in its school building next door. But, oh, what a glorious shell it left behind, now being taken apart brick by brick to be used elsewhere, perhaps in many new buildings. Now there is a metaphor that might be worth exploring! The title of this post comes from this lovely song by Rich Mullins with which I resonate a great deal.
This afternoon I got the chance to wander around the commercial district in Old North St. Louis and came across the 14th Street Artist Community. The artists there very graciously allowed me to wander around one of their gallery spaces as they prepared for an upcoming show, St. Louis Jazz: A Musical Legacy opening on March 7th. I was honored to meet William Burton, Jr. and his two sons, who are also burgeoning artists. The detail on William’s wood burned works of art are truly amazing. It was also sweet to hear him sing the praises of Vernon Smith, who he is pictured standing behind below. Vernon Smith is responsible for the large wooden stylized cello piece. Also, I was immediately drawn to the the striking paintings of Robert Ketchens, including the one of Scott Joplin below. These artists and others will be part of the upcoming show, which I hope to attend. It was such a cool experience to see a father and sons making art together amidst an even larger community of artists.