Vessels of Prayer
March 17 - May 6, 2012
Cindy McKenna's vibrantly hued, exuberantly patterned and joyful paintings are situated at the intersection of personal experience, Christian faith, and an affinity for the vulnerable. Over the years, McKenna has expressed herself artistically in a variety of ways, including designing children's' toys and teaching art to children, as well as pursuing her own art practice and making commissioned work.
McKenna comments that, "Artists are constantly exploring and responding to the environment around them." Her response to her environment has resulted in a body of work which articulates several primary themes under one subtle overarching motif. The many meanings of the word "vessels" are echoed in McKenna's subject matter, which often focuses on nests, boats, loving arms, jars, protective enclosures or hiding places, and fish/human relationships which echo Jonah's sojourn in the belly of the whale. In particular, her nativity paintings explore ideas about humans as vessels for a divine presence and women as vessels for the creation of children.
The containers in her "Jars of Oil" paintings grew out of her request to a few friends to send her jars for a large still-life she was planning based on a Biblical story. So many jars came her way (both actual and virtual) that she embarked instead on a series of paintings which became a metaphor for her community (Paisley) as a vessel of safety, cooperation and imagination. The community in turn serves as the subject of a number of other works, one of which, "Paisley Floodwaters," provides a counterpoint to the flood imagery prevalent in Paul Roorda's work.
Cindy McKenna's work draws attention to the fact that people do not live "either/or" lives, but rather experience often contradictory emotions or states of being at the same time. For her, optimism and hope coexist with hardship and sorrow, and gain strength through prayer. To that end, her paintings then become vessels of prayer.
Cindy McKenna currently lives in Paisley, Bruce County. She continues to work with children at the Southampton Art School and through private and group lessons. For further information please visit her website at www.cindymckennaartist.com.