Artist whose work I find confusing: Reverend Ethan Acres

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My initial reaction to Acres’ work was confusion. Looking at many of his pieces, I see what appears to be references to the Bible but I have no idea exactly what he is trying to say about the Bible or maybe the stories in it. What I primarily see are gawky pieces of art with symbols that generally point toward the Christian religion (some I am familiar with and many that I am sure i do not recognize). After looking into some of his work and articles written about him, I think I understand him better and even appreciate his art a little.

In most of his work, Acres is trying to communicate the doubt that should accompany faith.  He wishes to make people think about their relationship with God, even if it seems to be in a ridiculous or even condescending way. He wants people to reevaluate their faith or lack of faith when they see his art. I think Acres does a good job at communicating his idea and forcing his viewers to think. His work has obvious connections to Christianity and God, but sometimes it appears as if he is mocking Christian beliefs, but not in a blatantly deprecating way. He brings humor to the idea of religion and I think when someone sees how he has connected humor with the serious topic of faith, they will reevaluate what religion is to them. His work is large and brightly colored forms in his work which helps to force the viewer to look at and really interpret his work. Acres uses a variety of materials in his work, and many of his pieces involve his own body. This allows the viewer to connect more with the piece because the piece is another human just like them. Now that I know what Acres is trying to communicate I think I enjoy his art a bit more. I generally am not interested in biblical art, but because his main focus is merely to make the viewer think about their own faith and what faith is, I think his art is quite compelling. If one did not know his idea and his goals for his art, I think many people would be confused by his art.

 

http://articles.latimes.com/2007/dec/20/entertainment/gd-artq-a20

http://www.nytimes.com/2000/01/21/arts/art-in-review-ethan-acres-reverend-ethan-acres-s-rockin-millennium-countdown.html

http://www.frieze.com/issue/review/reverend_ethan_acres/

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