“The subject of the icon is a person transfigured by…love.”




SACRED sā-krəd

2b: entitled to reverence and respect

In America’s current climate of divisiveness and moral outrage, how does one respond with something better than a tweet? How do we counter foolishness with wisdom? How do we stand up for the powerless? How might we reverence, honor, and dignify those who are often marginalized or vilified in 45’s America?

Perhaps it’s time to answer these questions with something other than words.  In my own quiet way, these images are my response.  

I spent several months listening to and learning from the friends depicted here. As I did so, I had to ask myself: what do I, a hetero, cis-gender, middle-class, white male, have to say about transgender people, Muslim women, Latina farm workers, young black men, or Native Americans? The answer, while not surprising, is simply that we are all essentially the same.  And that each person has a rightful place as part of the beloved community. 

In representing these people and their cultures, I wanted to show that love trumps divisiveness, apathy, race, gender, politics, class, ignorance, fear, and hate. That when we take the time to know one another, to listen and learn, we become more.   

So we collaborated to create images that celebrate their history, identity, humanity, and courage, using portraiture, iconography, and traditional symbolism.  In spite of its religious undertones, iconography remains a powerful way of speaking about that which is holy–that which we care deeply about, and consider beautiful and sacred.  This type of language is acutely needed today.

This set of 5 large photo-encaustic panels together create one body of work.  They are crafted of layers of wax and metal, wood and paper, ink and paint, portrait and symbol: many different elements that create a whole.  E pluribus unum. 

These people are my brother, sister, mother, father.  And they glow from the inside out. As Michael Golz explains, “The subject of the icon is a person transfigured by…love.”

Each of these pieces is a 24×36″ photo-encaustic assemblage.  They are composed of metal leaf, gold leaf, paint, ink, and paper, on a cradled 1.5″ wood panel.  Each piece is unique, requiring many days to create.

Many thanks to the Pine Meadow Ranch Residency program for their part in bringing this project to life.