Listen to the Echoes of the Land
Retired Uniting Church minister and artist Doug Purnell opens his newest exhibition, Echoes of the Land on Anzac Day.
Doug told Insights that he hopes his works, “will evoke in the viewer, a fresh awareness of the mystery that is the substance of life, and that might be vehicle for the fresh inbreaking of the voice of God. It is not about dogma, it is about possibility and hope.”
“I want viewers to stand quietly in the presence of the works and to allow themselves to find new speech, new connections and new possibilities for their own life journey,” he said.
For Doug, art is a calling that conveys the mystery of God.
“For forty plus years the major call (of God) that I felt on my life was to be in ministry; when I retired from that ministry, the call changed, to where the primary call on my life was to be an artist,” he explained.
“I am convinced that God’s voice in the world did not stop with the closing of the canon of scripture in about the year 400. The voice of God continues to break into our world in fresh ways particularly through the arts. My call now is to create works that might be a vehicle for.”
“As an artist, I go into the landscape and draw the land around me, or I go into my studio and draw my own face in a mirror, slowly the things I have drawn become part of me, I do not try to represent them in paintings, I am wanting to be addressed by the mystery that lies beneath the surface of the land and beneath the surface of the face,” he said.
“I bring to that process forty plus years of pastoral engagement, which brings to the works a depth of knowledge about people’s lived experience. And, I bring an awareness of the Christian tradition.
The show catalogue is available on Doug’s website. The catalogue also contains an essay by theologian and poet Mark S. Burrows.
Echoes of the Land opens at the Sheffer Gallery 38 Lander Street, Darlington, on Wednesday 25 April (Anzac Day) from 3 to 6pm.
The exhibition will be open from Wednesdays until Saturdays, 11am-6pm until Saturday, 5 May.
Image: Artwork by Doug Purnell
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor