To Be Collection
“To Live in the Christ-Haunted South”
by Artist, Jess Tinsley
36x36 oil on gallery canvas. 1 5/8" profile.
---Each limited edition print comes carefully packaged with a copy of the story behind the painting and is hand signed and numbered.---
Growing up in a religious family in the South, I saw a lot of hypocrisy from people and churches. As an adult, I worked in a church – believing that I could share community with people in a traditional, Evangelical church. While I did grow and learn from the people there, I was also hurt. I found people who were gracious and kind, as well as those who set me aside as soon as I stopped working there. But in all my experiences – God remains true and real – while people continue to fail me with their need to control and understand and explain faith. Flannery O’Connor once spoke in an interview about her life and work in the South, saying that it was not quite “Christ-centered” but it was definitely “Christ-haunted.” “To Live in the Christ-Haunted South” is my way of showing the toxicity of a religion that holds onto principle and tradition above the command to love your neighbor as yourself. It is about the shadows that religion casts into the world around and how hellish and deathlike it is to those who practice their own version of religion – and how it harms those around them. As a contrast, true faith in God is freeing and forgiving – full of life and love for yourself and your fellow human.
My work is about the tensions in life – about the difficulties and struggles we face – and how we respond to them. My hope is that when you are faced with your own struggle, my work will encourage you to have hope and joy. The figures in the pieces may feel sad, but they also dance. They may have limitations in their surroundings, still they push through. The plants and flowers are symbolic of growth and persistence. The change that plants experience – from seed to bud to beautiful bloom – is an example of how change can make us beautiful – if we allow it. To me, the most important things in life are the people around us and the decisions we make in response to what life throws at us.
You may see in my paintings the hardness of life – the grief, sadness, anger, and hurt – while also offering the idea that there is hope for healing and growth through the struggle. It is intended to inspire you to live at peace with the complexity of a world full of storms and sunshine - while we mourn the deep loss we each experience, we still seek reasons for hope and joy.
To Live in the Christ-Haunted South
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