Lifting its title from a Biblical scripture (1 Corinthians 15:52) the exhibition represents the artist’s interest in the ideas surrounding the “rapture” – a dramatic and fantastical event accepted by certain facets of contemporary Christianity, particularly those adhering to the doctrine of Dispensational Premillennialism.
Extensively promoted by television evangelists, political activists, and best-selling authors, Dispensational Premillennialism holds that the return of Christ is preceded by the secret rapture of Christians, followed by the rise of the Antichrist during a literal seven year Tribulation then Armageddon, and eventually the return of Christ. Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth and its sequels, along with Tim LaHaye’s best-selling novels in the Left Behind series (now both books and movies), have sold hundreds of millions of copies and popularized this view throughout many facets of American culture.
Mining the rapture scenario for its imaginative possibilities, the artist’s most recent small-scale gouache paintings serve as intimate portraits of a communal society whose members identify themselves in terms of their divine potential. Groups of rapture-ready men stand nude on hilltops or in forest thickets awaiting a sign, while women tend to litters of children marked with their mother’s religious zeal. Others rest alone in quiet contemplation, while some are actually caught up in the clouds. Divesting the myth of all of its theatrical, fictional-thriller possibilities in favor of a simpler approach, the artist’s naïve figures and monochromatic fields seem to ask subtler questions regarding the psychology of religious belief.