Sunday, 27 May 2012

Work Progressed - Signs

© Teresa Newham 2012

Who does not recall the symbols which marked the first appearance of an art both pictorial and plastic? The fish, the loaves, the shepherd: in evoking the mystery, they became almost imperceptibly the first traces of a new art.   Pope John Paul II's Letter to Artists 1999 

Today is the feast of Pentecost, and feels like the right time to unveil the piece which regular readers of this blog will recall I've been working on since last Summer.   It was just after Pentecost last year that I read Pope John Paul's wonderful Letter to Artists;  the above quote stayed with me for some time.  I remembered a quartet of mounted photos which were no longer needed - perhaps I could make some linocuts of the fish, the loaves, the shepherd, and display them in it with another Christian symbol?    I could call it "four signs". Living water !  of course.  And the vine. Whoops, that's five.  And the lamb.  And the lost sheep . . . seven signs.  It was a bit like  the Spanish Inquisition sketch from Monty Python . . . and what about the Cross?  it needed to be there but I couldn't decide how or where.

And then I realised the Cross was there already, hidden in plain sight.

Having just completed the RCIA course and become a Catholic just a few weeks previously, I should have realised that it would be.  But I must admit, recognising the Cross already physically present within the template I had in mind freaked me out rather.  There was no question now of my not making those linocuts.   And as I've worked on them on and off for the past year I've found myself meditating on those symbols a lot. There are prayers, parables, psalms and sacraments if you look deeply enough.  And the cross is central to them all.


  1. I do love this - like all the best religious imagery apparently simple, yet profound, with depths of meaning waiting to be explored. I like the meditation diagram so much I've printed it to use with my own prayer.

  2. Thank you! there's a lot to be found by studying the images and the diagaram; I daresay everyone will have their own version!

  3. They look wonderful together under glass and framed. You should be proud of them. Such a lovely tribute. :)

  4. thanks LM! I hope people will like them - and the meaning behind them - as much as I do!