Stewarding Sight

A Place to Dream (2016), oil and acrylic on canvas, 48"x36", Ty Bishop

It seems to me that simply the act of looking is a way of stewarding creation. Creation is filled with endless beauty and things that we can learn from by observing it. However, when distracted by our endless to‐do list, long commutes, and buzz of our electronic devices, it can be difficult to observe creation despite the the pictures of it that we may have on our desktop backgrounds or see in the office and home.

Ascending Smoke (2016), acrylic and pencil on Reeves BFK 11″ x 7.5″, Ty Bishop
The Wild Heart of Life (2016), acrylic on paper, 11″ x 7.5″, Ty Bishop

When we look at creation, what are we really looking at? The Genesis account of creation describes that in the beginning “the earth was without form and void.” Everything we see today is because God spoke form into existence. Form and beauty are an essential part of creation. Echoing this, one of my favorite writers and thinkers, Jacques Maritian, wrote in Art & Scholasticism, that “Every form is a certain irradiation proceeding from the first brightness.”

Seeing is a poetic act in which we approach the mystery of ourselves and the world.

Thus, everything we see in nature carries meaning and a unique truth that relates to the creation of the world. By observing nature, we can not only experience beauty, but sense something deeper that it is communicating. This can be seen in the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus says to that if we only “consider the lilies”, we will not worry about money.

In my work, I’m fascinated by the forms of nature. However, this may not be immediately obvious upon seeing my work. Let me explain.

I believe that seeing is a poetic act in which we approach the mystery of ourselves and the world. I make this exploration through the layering of intuitive mark marks with references to forms found in nature. By working in this way I confront the mystery that surrounds us externally and internally.

The Last Thing (2016), acrylic on paper, 11″ x 7.5″, Ty Bishop

In my references from nature, I’m not interested in replicating nature, but in drawing out forms that are invisible to the eye. This is done through a digital process that converts original photographs to black and white shapes. The digital process removes the references to objects and allows me to see individual, smaller forms that make up the image. I use the digitally manipulated image in multiple ways. One way is creating solid colored forms that are based on the image. In the works on paper, these are solid colored shapes cut outs from hand painted paper. Another way is a responsive mark making process based on the image. With this process, I’m responding to the feelings that the form provokes. Some of these marks are quick brush stokes, and other are drawing‐like marks that may go off the border of the piece. This makes my work personal as I layer form on top of my personal responses to the image and thus creation.

I explain my process only to get back at my original question: When we look at creation, what are we really look at? Ultimately, it is Transcendence which beckons us to respond in personal way. This is the aim of my work.

Dull Piety (2016), acrylic on paper, 5″ x 11″, Ty Bishop
What the Heart Is and What It Feels (2016), acrylic on paper, 11″ x 7.5″, Ty Bishop
Welcome O Life (2016), acrylic on paper, 11″ x 7.5″, Ty Bishop

Down the Trail (2016), acrylic, oil, latex, and pastel on canvas, 48″ x 36″, Ty Bishop

Awakened Desire (2016), acrylic on Reeves BFK, 11″ x 7.5″, Ty Bishop

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