|L'Eglise St.-Henri-de-Barachois, built in 1824, is one of the oldest standing Acadian churches in N.B.|
|Luc Castonguay, "Entrance to Jerusalem" from a Russian icon|
|"Entrance to Jerusalem" (detail)|
|Luc Castonguay, "The Visitation"|
|"The Visitation" (detail )|
Each step in the process of icon writing is a refined symbolic gesture that traces a path from material to spiritual. A table in the gallery holds the tools of the iconographer's studio: lime wood panels, rabbit glue, chalk, natural pigments, wine, eggs, vodka and 23 kt. gold leaf.
|Natural pigments include azurite, vermilion, and lapis lazuli. These are ground and mixed with egg yolk and wine.|
The final touches are pure white highlights that add a spark to the image, like the tiny crescents that glimmer in the eyes of an archangel. The faces are far from life-like, but look as if they are illuminated from within.
It is an uncommon (and oh, so refreshing!) experience to find oneself face-to-face with purity, grace and timeless beauty in a work of art. I leave the gallery feeling blessed.
Aidan Hart, a scholar and iconographer who lives in a hermitage in Shropshire, England, states the following:
"Father Vasileios, the abbot of Ivron monastery on Mount Athos once said to me that there are epochs where it is difficult to get things right artistically and there are epochs where it is difficult to get things wrong. We are in the former type of epoch. The mechanisation of our age and the desire to build quickly has meant we are not surrounded by the beauty that comes from using natural materials. Our intuition of what looks right and what doesn't is not so developed if we grow up amidst the cheap and synthetic and the ugly. Mass production means we can make more easily but not always more beautifully."
-"The Renewal of Sacred Art: Timeless principles and Contemporary Challenges" 2013
|Luc Castonguay, "Angel of the Golden Hair" from a Russian icon, 12th c.|