Rise of the Soul: Paintings and Large Drawings, 2004-2005
Many of these works are directly inspired by the Nag Hammadi Texts, and ancient so-called “Gnostic” gospels, particularly a passage from The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, called The Rise of the Soul. Many start to evolve from the idea of ascension found in The Rise of the Soul.
While most of these paintings and drawings are inspired directly from the Nag Hammadi Library, I became particularly interested in the Gospel of Mary Magdalene described in Karen King's book, The Gospel of Mary Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle(2003, Polebridge Press), these sketches are an exploration into The Rise of the Soul from The Gospel of Mary. In this gospel, the soul journeys through various passions and powers of the material world until it rises and ultimately finds rest in "Silence". Within this gospel, Christ relays to Mary Magdalene the story of the soul. He conveys that there is no such thing as sin; that sin is merely an adulterous relationship with the passions of the material world. The gospel also shows Mary Magdalene as a spiritual leader. It stands as an interesting contrast to the traditionally depicted Last Judgment, where the souls are judged for the degree and severity of their sins. Also, with Mary Magdalene as the spiritual guide and the one who most thoroughly understands Christ's teachings, it completely rearranges the church's traditionally structured apostolic hierarchy. It also offers a feminine leader and one who is neither wife nor mother, but a woman who is a spiritual leader in her own right.