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Pentecost 1

Pentecost 1
Dennis Hawkins (1925-2001)

Oil on wood (old school desk)


Methodist Collection of Modern Christian Art, No.13

Commentary by Francis Hoyland

I feel an innate sympathy with someone who had a dual vocation, artist and teacher; so I will say what comes into my head.

In the first place I feel that looking at the piece must be treated as a visual meditation - so while sitting quietly before it, I notice the white area on which the whole piece is placed.

White, the colour that contains all colours and yet just is ! 'I AM' is said to Moses - 'Say that I AM sent you!' - existence itself, but also, by a mystery, a person.

As I look, the presence of each person becomes apparent: black writing, like the action of a pen on white paper - a word - perhaps a metaphor for The Word - the self knowledge of Almighty God - 'gazing into the depths' - then between white and black there are intermediate values of grey - something that unites the two - a metaphor, maybe, for the love of the Son for the Father and the Father for the Son - the Holy Spirit.

I notice the sprinkle of white to the right of the desk top and move it to the corona round the central circle - then to the brilliant circle itself. The light has come on! It makes me realise I am always in the presence of God without realising it and I have learnt this where the artist's pupils learnt from him - at a school desk.

Finally, all is one in this piece, there is no dissonance although there is much individuation. Three distinct in person, but one in nature - Basic Theology.

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