January 21 st 2011

Acrylic and Oil on Canvas

This painting is from a series inspired by Psalm 56, where David says that God keeps track of all of our sorrows and collects our tears in his bottle. The metaphor of God's tear-filled bottle captured my imagination because it reveals the intimate personal nature of God's love. I used paint on figures to represent "tears", demonstrating how experiences of pain and sorrow leave a stain or a mark on us. Using the three elements of figures, paint, and glass bottles, I explored the concepts of pain, forgiveness, and letting go or surrendering to God.

In Convicted, the colour purple suggests confusion. While blue symbolizes sadness and red denotes anger, purple is sadness mixed with anger; you're upset but you're not exactly sure how you feel or how you should feel. The title is meant to be ambiguous, playing on the double meaning of "convicted." You can have a personal sense of conviction about something, and a desire to repent or to make amends. But you can also be convicted by others who pronounce you guilty and pull out the handcuffs, regardless of your side of the story. The pose of the figure emphasizes the double meaning of the title—the figure stands with hands behind her back as if she's hiding something, or maybe as if bound by invisible handcuffs.

The fluid nature of the paint reflects the messy process of forgiving and letting go. One clean hand holds a paint-filled bottle and the other hand drips with paint. The contrasting hands represent the struggle between holding on to pain and surrendering it to God. Sometimes we hold on to our pain because if we don't remember what happened and how we have been wronged, then no one will and it won't matter. However, if God is keeping track and if justice ultimately belongs to him, then we can be released from the burden of having to hold on to our pain. When we are ready, we can surrender it to God and allow him to hold it for us. Then we can be free to move on.

Topics: Arts

Rubi Garyfalakis is a fourth-year student at Redeemer University in Ancaster, Ontario. She will graduate in 2011 with a B.A., majoring in art and psychology. This painting is from her senior student exhibition entitled What Can Mere Mortals Do? (Redeemer University Art Gallery, December 2010 - January 2011).