Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Spirit in Art: the Burning Bush

Here is my digital drawing/collage contemplating the burning bush which Moses turned aside to see.

It is said that in the wilderness where Moses tended his sheep the heat would occasionally ignite flammable bushes. I can believe this, having experienced the heat of the deserts in the Pacific Southwestern U.S., where I shot the foundation photo for the above image. The vegetation there is extremely dry and some bushes contain very volatile oils.

Such spontaneous combustion would be sudden and short lived, but Moses turned aside “to see what this might be” because the fire did not dissipate and fade away as normal; the bush was not being consumed.

If Moses had stayed away and denied his curiosity, he would not have heard the Voice call his name and, for the first time in Jewish history, ascribe a unique name to God. But, Moses did draw near and his life was changed from an anonymous shepherd to, well . . . just think about his influence down the millennia to our day.

So, the burning bush is an image that guides and inspires me and many artists. If our art objects, or we, can attract some aside to draw near the divine, we are fulfilled.

To be burning with the divine without being consumed: that is the miracle we pray for.

Mark Turner is the Artistic Director of Horizon Gate Productions, , and a member of the St. Paul's Arts Committee

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