Scribing/Scoring: The Seven Last Words of Christ


This project, “Scribing Vertical Thoughts: Meditations on The Seven Last Words of Christ”, one of many narratives that underscore the essence of Christian religious faith and Roman Catholicism in particular, takes a path like some of my earliest work using graphite as a scribing process. The most prominent examples reach back to 1978 and include TL-P 5.6-5.641 (Collection Art Institute of Chicago), The All-Powerful Word (Collection National Museum of Mexican Art), TL-P 6.51 (Private Collection) and most recent, Aletheia: Scribe’s Reveal Collection Chazen Museum of Art-2017).

 In this new work I explore these “words” by abstract means through the graphite scoring of the surface and the feedback through the resonance of touch. I relinquish the literal deciphering of a word, thought, or the recording of an historical or religious interpretation ordinarily assigned to a scribe. My focus is to create a visual experience that functions simultaneously as an abstraction of the writing/scribing process and an experience befitting the spiritual dimension of the universal and personal suffering that The Seven Last Words biblically personifies in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

The images that continue to grow out of this work pay artistic homage to Joseph Haydn and Charles Gounod, whose contribution to the Seven Last Words of Christ have provided a universal spiritual experience through their musical interpretations; and to Morton Feldman whose composition and title “Vertical Thoughts” lend metaphorical resonance to the light and dark, the rising and falling, the soft and softer musical interplay within these visual meditations on The Seven Last Words of Christ. And ultimately, to recognize the enormous challenges to human suffering that have existed since time immemorial and sadly continue to this day.

 Dan Ramirez


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© dan ramirez 2012