She Who Shows the Way — 2018
by Michelle L Hofer
Mixed media collage on paperboard
Background text: Chapter 1 of John’s Gospel
German translations of text flanking the figures:
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.—John 1:4
And the Word was made flesh—John 1:9a
I created this piece in conjunction with a blog series I wrote in at the 500-year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The blog series explores the disruption of the art and faith connection that came about during the Reformation. Pages of text copied from a Luther Bible I found at the local recycling center became the base for this collage piece. My intent was to restore a traditional icon image to each of the passages selected thereby reconnecting the Protestant faith (with its high regard for Scripture) to the Christian expressions of art it had abandoned.
This traditional icon image, after the Vladimir Madonna, is known as She Who Shows the Way (a nod to Christ having called himself the Way). In this piece I am reuniting it to the wonderful opening of John’s Gospel. Note that Mary makes eye contact with the viewer and her hands gesture toward the Christ child in her arms. Her gaze asks… Do you know my son—the WAY?