Exhibition
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Artists

  Matt Baumgardner
  Barbara Dee Baumgarten
  Sandra Bowden
  Gurdon Brewster
  Ned Bustard
  Ruth Tietjen Councell
  Ioana Datcu
  Martin Delabano
  Barbara Desrosiers
  Erin McGee Ferrell
  Gary L Gorby
  Kathy T. Hettinga
  Catherine Kapikian
  Cynthia Leidal
  The Rev. Frank Logue
  Colleen Meacham
  Mary Melikian
  Eric Reiffenstein
  Krystyna Sanderson
  Donna Shasteen
  Constance Skinner
  Hal Weiner
  Anne Wetzel
  George Wingate
   
  Copyright Statement
   

     
  Martin Delabano

 

 


Prayer Wall (altar piece)
mixed media, 1999 to present

Permanent installation, St. John's Episcopal School,
Dallas, Texas.

 


Detail
Prayer Wall (altar piece)

   

I have been an art teacher at St. John's Episcopal School for fourteen years. Some of my most cherished childhood memories were experienced in the classrooms and playground of St. John's when I went to school here in the early 1960's. Some of my most cherished adult memories are teaching art and my daily interaction with my students. How many people can claim that their jobs are truly a blessing in their lives?

For years my faith has rested out on the periphery of my being. Even though I have always considered myself a spiritual person, I am on a journey to reclaim my relationship with God. We all have that ability it is called prayer.

I heard Bishop Shipps, formally of the Dallas Episcopal Diocese, speak about icons. I found it to be of great interest because the central image in Prayer Wall, I thought of in terms of being an icon. When I think of traditional icons, I think how I am seduced by the gold and its reflection of light. And then I'm drawn into the steady gaze of the icon proper. Bishop Shipps spoke of the iconographer making the icon as a form of prayer and being "Windows of Heaven".

Being of a Western mind, I'm always trying to impose a sense of artistic aesthetics on things that often aren't meant to be discussed in those terms. What if an object was not conceived as a purely visual object, but as an object of contemplation? What if the Icon were a conduit through which quiet reflection of that object allowed one to feel God's presence? Imagine how powerful an experience that could be.

The central image of Christ and the Virgin Mary I thought of in terms of a contemporary icon. The image emerged from a collage that lingered in my studio for over a year. All the basic elements were glued in place early on, yet it lacked a context. I was continually drawn back to the image, but it hadn't revealed itself to me yet. In early December of 1998, I affixed the collage to a canvas painted red and started to frame it in found, broken, scarred, and discarded wood and objects.

In explaining to my students my choice of materials, I told them that I thought we all came to God, often broken and a little rough around the edges. I believe that we are refined through our evolving faith in God and prayer. I am a creature of impatience and I pray for patience. I am weak and I pray for strength. I am more often than not confused and I pray for clarity and understanding. I have been so blessed and rich yet I am often poor in spirit. I am a sinner and I pray for forgiveness. I pray that I open my heart and mind to the love God unconditionally surrounds me within.

The Prayer Wall is my attempt to gain perspective about my own journey in Faith. It is also a way to invite others to witness to their own faith and to inspire their own prayers and dialogues with God.

Martin Delabano

email: mdelabano@sbcglobal.net
web: http://www.delabano.com

 
     
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2004 The Episcopal Church and Visual Arts