The Australian aboriginals created about creation: their art is deeply tied to their religion, which centers around their creation story, “Dreamtime,” when the gods walked and created the earth. Their paintings, Jane Turner notes in The Dictionary of Art, “like the landscape itself, are considered to be not merely representations of the ancestral past but also manifestations of the ancestral beings themselves and a means of establishing contact with them.”
Like the aboriginals, I believe that creation is a passageway to the divine, that nature draws me close to its Creator, who sends me also to create as He did. In Genesis & Dreamtime, I developed my own abstract symbols to create paintings based on Genesis 1-3. In these chapters, identity is defined through relationships and their contrasts. Creation occurs in pairs—light and dark, water and sky, male and female. Diversity and unity coexist: Adam and Eve are separate entities who become one flesh, created together to be the image of God. Boundaries, edges, and overlap became important in this series. With each painting, I began with a circle or oval shape; it is an opening, a womb, a sun, a cell, an orbit. These organic lines mimic the coastline and sea creatures. This comes from my own love of the ocean (I grew up on the west coast) and the sense of glory I experience in observing God’s creation.
Void, 28×28, oil on canvas
Light, 28×28, oil on canvas
Birth (Over the Waters), 54×60, oil on canvas
Pull Away, 10×17, oil on canvas paper
Touch (In the Image), 58×48, oil on canvas
Choke (Where are you?), 11×14, watercolor on paper
Wounded (They Hid), 52×52, oil on canvas
One – Two – Three, 24 3/4 x 16 5/8, oil on canvas
A Bay Area native, Sheri Park has returned to the area to study Art and Theology. Her undergraduate art degree is from Union College in New York, where she made Genesis & Dreamtime. Though her first love was painting, her current visual art is interdisciplinary, focusing on photography, video/performance, and found object collage construction. Themes of growth and change are the focus of her work: the joining and dividing of cells, the shifting of the seasons, the mystery of maturing. What do the different phases look and feel like? What prompts or hinders these changes?
In addition to making visual art and contemplating the mystery of God, she works as a receptionist, graphic designer, and art teacher. Her hobbies include dancing, writing poetry, making breakfast, and sometimes beating her dad at Boggle.