A Show of Drawings at the Bank Artspace in Matfield Green, Kansas.
Opening Reception Saturday August 11 from 4 to 6 pm
Opening Reception Saturday August 11 from 4 to 6 pm
“See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills…” Exodus 31: 2 & 3.
Bezalel is kind of an early renaissance man, thousands of years before Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, or Durer. More importantly he was faithful to God’s design of him as a craftsman. He was found worthy to build the design of God concerning the tabernacle and all of its parts. As a craftsman and artist, it is hard to comprehend anything so significant to my earthly labors as to manifest on earth something that was authored in the very heart and mind of God.
Elizabeth Duffy asked me about influences and progenitors in her interview with me last year. Here is an excerpt of my response pertaining to Bezalel: I hope, maybe, to be in the line of Bezalel, who fashioned so much for the tabernacle, making the sacred things that were part of the “technology” of worship of His God for his community. Personally, I couldn’t ask for more than that. Bezalel is valuable as a paradigm of an artisan of broad experience and skill. He could work in many trades and arts with skill worthy of God’s Tabernacle. My good friend reminds me of the value of a man of that breadth of experience and skill in contrast to a culture that places a premium on experts of high degree in a single field. When I wonder if I am hurting myself by embracing so many disciplines, I am grateful for Bezalel and his place in God’s story, and a few other men I have encountered who are champions of excellence in this way. The drawing, an imagining of a portion of Bezalel’s tent-workshop, started two or three years ago, finally over the past two months I was able to finish it. It is composed along the lines of another drawing, Go On, Adam, Breathe. An potential series of drawings? The drawing to me feels so limited, compared to the vastness of what could be explored and depicted, as a task to learn about Bezalel, his labors, and his relationship to his God.
Elizabeth Duffy has been posting parts of an interview she began with me last spring and summer. To date, this interview consistutes the clearest and really, only articulation of the beliefs and values behind my work. I hope that you will take the time to read it. The interview will ultimately be posted in it entirety on this site, but for now, here is part 1, part ll, part lll, and the final bit part lV. Please take the time to read some of Elizabeth’s writing as well. She is authentic, humorous, and insightful. Her wit and self-effacing style reveal a woman on a significant journey with valuable things to say.
I began as dust, heavy with the sweat of God’s fingers as He formed my flesh; a heap of particles still ringing from the sound of His voice. His breathe came as a holy wind, compelling me to breath, myself.
“i am erth.”
In my senior year of high school, the man who had been my art teacher since fourth grade, gave me some advice. I was struggling with the conflicting dreams of pursuing the hope of becoming a musician or studying to become a visual artist. His counsel was simple and wise: “you can’t do both.” At that point of decision, it seemed that since I was largely a self taught musician, I could conceivably continue to be so. Instinctively I knew that there was so much that I needed to be taught and learn and so much time I needed to devote to the disciplines of drawing and painting. So, I chose art without regret. The music, however, has never left. I have outgrown (mostly) the delusions about being a famous musician. It has become an intensely personal discipline. It is a language through which I speak to my God and through which He speaks to me. It is a language I bless my children with. It is a language I use to share my heart with those that are close to me. Times have changed and technology that did not exist or was just emerging when I was young has made it possible for me to share what I have largely kept to myself, my family and my close friends. It was not an easy decision to share publicly what has been so private. But this, I have done.
The name of the album is Cry The Blood. The blood is Jesus’ and the cry is mine, though there are many quiet voices beside me. I chose to recorded under the pseudonym, i am erth. (The “a” is missing on purpose, a decision which spell check is relentless in punishing me for.) The land is a passion of mine and a place of meeting and learning as I live as a son under God’s sky. I am close to the erth, and it is never far from me.
For the curious: I wrote the songs, sang all the parts and plucked every string, blew every note, squeezed every box, recorded, mixed and stabbed out every digital pulse. It is far from perfect. I blame myself for the flaws, you can decide if there is beauty in them. You can hear my kids, and my animals, the wind and the rain, creaks and clicks and bonks, and probably a freight train. I’ll thank my friends who encourage me and hold me up in the testing. There is one among those who deserves more credit than any, but I know he prefers anonymity. If you want to thank him, eat a steak or go fly fishing in Montana.
Through the ideas and labor of many, this album will (if not already) ultimately be available for downloaded from major online music retailers. Below is a link to iTunes, where it is already available.
You may be interested in what Elizabeth Duffy has on her blog. Elizabeth is my friend, but she began as a stranger asking me questions. She has been instrumental in pushing me to make the music available and has written a very encouraging review of as well. In addition, Elizabeth has included a portion of her interview with me as a means of introduction. It has been a rare opportunity for me to express what I believe and why I do what I do. I couldn’t have voiced it without her asking and without the creative, sensitive and trustworthy nature of who she is. Thank you, Elizabeth.
In a final bit of disclosure, I began an instagram feed early last fall. While I still remain ambivalent towards much of the usage, I have come to value it as unique for sharing imagery and stories on a different platform and immediacy, it is kind of a microcosm of the posts I make here. My user name is @baumwerkj if you are interested.
I continually thank you for your support here over the years. It has been 8 years since I began this blog. Your quiet interest has given me encouragement to continue working. All glory and honor will be and ever remain His.
Jack Baumgartner, Rose Hill, Kansas Jan-19-2015