First Prize for Sola: Grace-Faith-Scripture

Comment by juror Linda Witte Henke, for first prize for Sola: Grace-Faith-Scripture at Good Shepherd Institute, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN November 5 2017 – January 31, 2018

Wittenberg Reformation Altarpiece VIII by Sandra Bowden“Sandra Bowden’s Reformation Altarpiece speaks with quiet nuance and subtle affect. Drawing inspiration from Lucas Cranach the Elder’s Reformation Altarpiece in the City Church in Wittenberg, she has created a five-panel grouping that references the form of Cranach’s work while using her own signature gold-leaf encaustic technique to interpret that form in a distinctly abstract way. The resulting patina of the installation’s surface speaks to the mystery of the God too wondrous to be fully named and too mysterious to be completely known.”

“Stripped of the dense imagery that characterizes Cranach’s work, the form of Bowden’s altarpiece lends itself to interpretation as the Divine Presence garbed in a sort of articulated mantle, whose fully extended arms express the broad inclusiveness of God’s love and grace. This impression becomes especially powerful and intimate in realizing that the image of each viewer’s presence is indistinctly reflected on the surface of the work. This connection, this awareness of the wondrous, mysterious relationship between God and humankind, invites not only consideration of who God has been, but also radical openness to who God yet will be.”

24 August 2018