Artist David Christiana’s stunning exhibition of egg tempera paintings, Ecstacies + Homilies, is currently on display in the Hidden Light gallery at the Coconino Center for the Arts. Though each of the 16″ x 20″ paintings carries a title referencing ecstatic events, holy days or rituals from Christian traditions, the artist is looking for a more earthbound spiritualism than what is found in predominately anthropocentric Judeo-Christian systems.
“These egg tempera paintings,” Christiana says, “are an attempt to uproot ecstatic events from Christian iconographic traditions and repurpose those ecstasies for what Daphne Hampson has called a post-Christian age. I’m thinking of dirt more than stars, earth more than heaven, and places where the ancients and the living seem equally present.”
Christiana will give an Artist Talk about this work Thursday, April 13. “I’ll talk about my process from doodlebugging to egg yolk,” says Christiana. “I’ll wonder about the alchemy of lines turning into threads, and then into stories. I’ll follow my technique from light into dark and, generally, back again, how Christian traditions and indigenous stories seem to share important elements yet seem to come to distinctly different ends. I’ll show a few examples of other artist’s work for context and inspiration, read a quote or two, invite questions and, hopefully, swap some energy.”
Egg tempera is a painting process that uses egg yolk to bind pigments. The artist must manufacture the paints him or herself by the simple process of mixing finely ground pigment, water and dilute egg yolk. The paint is then applied in a method where the optical laws of egg tempera are obeyed thus the unique surface of egg tempera will be achieved. In addition to making the paint the artist has also to prepare the surface on which to paint.