The Calendar Cycle




Over a 10-year period of creation, my work in photographic biblical illustration coalesced in The Calendar Cycle. Three separate bodies of work (The Passion, 2006; Hope Soars, 2008; and God’s Christmas Cards, 2005-2014) became part of a broader conceptualisation of the three great festivals of the Christian calendar: Advent, Lent, and Pentecost. The liturgical year has, for centuries, consecrated the Western human experience of time in the repeated, cyclic celebration of these events. At its root, the re-telling of the New Testament story becomes enlivened in the community and church contexts, and something so often treated visually as a figurative narrative of mythic past becomes relationally realised in ritual, worship and tradition.

My images and their settings sought to explore this dimension. Multiple-photograph collages revel in symbolic overspill, performing a theological undoing in which representation resists three-dimensional illusionism or rigidly illustrative doctrines. The Advent cards suggest nativity characters or scenes in abstracted effects of light, or in materialised texts; the 12 Lenten stations of the cross effect the kaleidoscopic layering of traditional compositions (such as Rembrandt and Bassano), photographic detail from twentieth-century films (such as The Passion of the Christ, 2004), and sketched outlines; Pentecost envisages the bird-life of churches and the Bible joining together in mosaic figurations. In their tableaux, these series demand an interactive viewing, which has been facilitated by their display in over 20 churches, and through their integration with liturgical programmes including sermon series, meditative trails, online calendars, and concerts.