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Week #46
This work was done by Roann Mathias in Memphis in 1998 for the session “Variations on Romans” in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow. In her own words:
“John 3:16”

How can I talk about this piece? This is the most quoted bible verse in history! It’s used in all kinds of books, sermons and even at sporting events. I think it was the last instance that provoked me into looking at the meaning of the verse more seriously than I felt it had been for a long time. And I wanted people to see the gravity of it.

More Romans on black paper. I wanted to use these stately Romans to reinforce the seriousness of the text. I used analogous colors of gouache with mitchell nibs, from size 4 to 2. A lot of the time to create this piece was spent on layout, to get the words just in the right position. During practice, I felt that the capital os in the words “world” and "Son” needed to be filled with something.
Obviously, the world and a baby in the womb. Historically, Jesus is never presented in this way, as far as I know. (and I should know because I teach art history!) There is an implied message here about abortion, which I felt would be received with some alarm, but no one has ever even asked me about it. It just seemed really important to me at the time to correlate the idea that the savior of the world was also a fetus.

I remember how hard I worked on theses caps! Reggie’s phrase “pressure-release-pressure” was always in my head! As with the other pieces that I did in that year, I felt really satisfied with the quality of the lettering. There are white spatters in the background showing the stars in space, where the world is literally hanging. .

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