Sunday, December 09, 2007

Advent: the re-uniting with the Prodigal Son

Mary McCleary
Prodigal Son, 1996
Mixed Media Collage on paper, 60 x 83 x 5 in.
Collection of Ellen Tuchman and Harry Orenstein, Dallas, Texas

In Mary McCleary's retelling of Jesus's parable of the prodigal son, the feast that celebrates the prodigal's return becomes a Texas-style family barbeque.

Seventeen figures fill the large image.

A couple dances as a man plays the fiddle. Women bring platters of fruit and pour lemonade. One young boy takes a forbidden sip of beer.

The father, a middle-aged rancher with an ample belly, looks lovingly at his newly returned son, decked out for the occasion in a pink sequined cowboy shirt.

The disconsolate elder son looks on from the background.

Unlike some modern religious art, it does not descend into kitsch