Gift from the Graduating Class of 2012
Coordinated by Karl Jones, member of the class

Based on Acts 1:9-11
" And when he had said these things, as they were looking, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sigh. And while they were looking steadfastly into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; who also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye looking into heaven? this Jesus, who was received up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye beheld him going into heaven."

"For many years, I have been troubled with a myriad of questions that swirl around my head based in religious doctrine. I was raised in a household of two separate religious ideals. My mother, who is a member of the Church of Christ, subscribes to a more literal understanding of the bible. My father, on the other hand, is a Baptist who looks at the Bible as a more organic doctrine that grows with the times and situations. I have three sisters, one older and two younger, who all followed my mother into the Church of Christ, whereas I followed my father into the Baptist religion. My parents have been married for nearly fifty years, but when I was younger, spirituality and morality were taught in our home, while religion and the Bible were left for our individual churches. Though it may seem that hearing two sets of belief systems would confuse our young minds, for me, it broadened my sensibilities.

"As an artist, I have never shied away from religion as subject matter due to the fact that it has always been with me. It makes me who I am. I strive to understand religion and the Bible in a way that will make it easier to translate into spirituality. Occasionally, my translation will come in conflict with the worlds of the Bible. This is where my artwork comes in. It allows me to comprehend and understand myself better whether the subject is as sublime as religion or simple as daily issues of growing older.

"'Lifted' is my idea of how one would react if they experienced a friend, albeit the son of God, come back from the dead and ascend to heaven. We have a tendency to think of the men and women of the Bible, especially the disciples of Christ as being beyond human, but they were of flesh and blood as I am. Imagine that you and your confidants have followed the teachings of a man that promises that he is the son of God. What doubts would you have? What would your family think? How much proof would you need? Then, to see this friend and leader who has performed miracles die, what would run through you head? Then to hear that your friend's body is missing, a few days later you begin to hear that your friend appears to be alive. Then he appears there in front of you all, Angels speak, a thick cloud descends upon the earth and begins to lift the son of God into the heavens. And by the way, this all happens in less than a week. I was a child of the seventies and early eighties and the only expression I can think to utter is 'Fresh.' Fresh is more of an utterance one would speak when no other words will do. It encompasses the fear, elation, pride, amazement, sadness, joy and any other feeling that a person can experience in the light of such a monumental occurrence. The word becomes a feeble attempt at explaining what happened, but it is an attempt nonetheless. This painting puts me in the shoes of the men who were present for this history-making event."

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