Art of Susanna Mills
by Susie Mills
Bitumen & shellac on canvas
Susanna Mills: Insightful and unique website. When is the book coming out???
I love interacting with other people, and I like to share my creativity to inspire and encourage them. At the same time I'm acutely aware that I have a finite life, and therefore limited time to produce all these ideas pouring out of me.
One thing that really frustrates me, is the blandness of most Christian churches. There is nothing artistic in them at all and hence no beauty to draw & consistently inspire people.
I guess there is this ethos of 'the beauty within' the people there? Not necessarily a representation. But if the 'church' is not doubling up as a community hall, a sports centre, or a school hall, the really disturbing thing is seeing the increasing number of 'churches' which don't even have a Cross anywhere in or on them- including mine!!! It makes 'the church' look temporary, superficial and politically correct.
Spiritually, this blandness makes me feel devalued as an artist. The world devalues us & doesn't recognize what we have to contribute- and so do our many of our churches. Artists have to seek God and change this somehow.
"The artist creates art like chooks lay eggs...but who is looking after the chooks?'
The only modern churches that consistently have artistic content are the Catholic ones. From their exterior architecture, to their lavish interiors. Right down through history, the Catholic Church has very cleverly recognized/used/encouraged/supported and exploited the power and beauty of art to draw people to itself.
It's probably because of that history, that the Protestant/Baptist/Evangelical churches have moved in the opposite direction, resulting in the general visual neutrality that we worship in today - apart from lights, camera and action, that is. An inward focus. No external light symbolically streaming in through beautiful windows. A darkened auditorium focuses on a stage.
Entertainment and real estate... Worship art in this context is quick, temporary and very cool (and yes, it's great entertainment) but confronting for both the artist and the congregation. What you are creating on stage has different meaning to each person in the congregation- some like it, some get it, some can't stand it! Just like the cross, actually. It symbolizes death to those who are perishing, confronts those who are in sin - they hate being confronted by it- and to those who know Christ, it symbolizes life! abundant! eternal! beautiful...
“The meaning and end of all creative activity is to be found solely in the proof that good, meaning, or, in other words, God lies everywhere before us in the world. This, the highest, the only reality, is ever at hand, but for the most part invisible. Genius makes it visible- that is the function of genius. The genius is called, therefore, god-inspired, for the fact of 'God' fills him so wholly that everywhere, again and again, he finds it and sees it and recognizes it. It is this recognition of God that is the peculiar faculty and gift of every great man. Every man bears within him his own God and his own devil. "In thine own heart thy destiny doth lie" may be hackneyed by excessive quotation but, rightly understood, it unfolds a deep and far-reaching truth. God does not rule the world outwardly by gravitation and chemical affinity, but inwardly in the heart of man: as is your soul, so will the destiny be of the world in which you live and do.”
EGON FRIEDELL: Cultural History of the Modern Age
Gotta go! Clock's a ticking' & I've got a MOSAIC to finish, and you know how much of my finite time that process gobbles up!
Sara: Thank you, Susanna, for a heartfelt post!
I have to confess that I had to look up "chooks" in a World Wide Words website to figure out what they were!! (For all my American readers, it is an uniquely Australian slang word for chicken!!)
You are right about art in church being either non existent or limited, unless it is in the Catholic church. However, there has been a shift in that tide, in the last couple of years and there is a little bit of a move to greater receptivity for both art and the artist who creates.
Your work is intriguing in both content and medium. I'd love it if you could return to explain it some more.
Thanks for visiting and may God continue to bless the work of your hands.
By the way, there is a book in the making... interesting that you asked!