The Next Big Thing
oil on linen, 36″ x 36″ framed by the artist
What if God lost His eternal patience with humankind? What if he decided to cut His losses and just started over? That’s what The Next Big Thing is about. Of course, we know that’s not His plan. He will never give up on humankind, even though it seems humankind is ready to give up on Him.
Rather than our inching ever closer to the promise of peace and basic human dignity, sometimes it seems we are moving in exactly the opposite direction. Our species seems hell bent on self-destruction, slipping farther and farther away from enlightenment, the promise of joy and connection. We seem to be losing the point of the long struggle. What if God finally said, “enough is enough,” and simply put us all out of our collective misery?
In order to be able to ask this question I felt I needed to depict God in the stereo-typical version we have come to know and loathe. The old white, patriarchal version of God delivering the ultimate repudiation of humankind is not without significance. It is this sexist, ethnocentric image of God that is being questioned in this painting. This distorted image of God is part of what has led us to the brink of disaster. Our naive notions of God as the great paternal overseer are being called into question.
And yet the face of God contains the full spectrum of known colors. The entire color wheel is represented. Since we are all made in the image of God, I wanted to reflect all colors and varieties which emanate from our kind but impartial Father. The image of God is left unfinished, as if to say creation is a never ending process.
The new Earth is bright and full of potential while the old Earth is tired and worn out. The Next Big Thing is more a criticism of the ephemeral nature of humankind than the eternal nature of God. The title eludes to the American Dream and our obsession with the new.
In reality, or at least in my understanding of reality, the Universal God is much more incomprehensible than the old man with a white beard archetype suggests. And His will, guided by His word, is far grander, yet subtler than anything we can possibly imagine. Although He could wipe us out with a single thought, He is a loving God, eternally patient, with a wonderful plan for His children. Just imagine if He wasn’t.