Enter the Small Silence - Whirlow Spirituality Centre - 2018
This exhibition explores, through 15 abstract paintings, Thomas Merton's call to transform our hearts and lives.
© Robert Wright
Thomas Merton [1915-1968] was a Trappist monk for 27 years in an austere religious community in Kentucky, living as a hermit for the last 3 years of his life, a mystic, the author of 95 books and approximately 250 essays, a poet, an artist, a photographer, a social activist, and a prolific correspondent throughout his life. Merton was a fascinating man whose whole life was a search for the truth but throughout his life he had to battle with conflicting tensions, a struggle represented in some of these paintings.
My paintings connect directly with the contemplative life of Thomas Merton. The silence of the contemplative is not just emptiness and death; rather it is making oneself available, making space, for our self-giving God; a place where we can be found and where we can find our true selves.
Presented in radically non-figurative terms these fifteen abstract paintings attempt to deal with perplexing and elusive dimensions such as emotions, nuances and matters of the heart. They ask you first of all for a reaction: does the painting present shapes, textures, colours that stimulate and satisfy? Once the authority of the picture has been established we can deepen our exploration of the painting - its hints, its suggestions – and these may stir our own feelings, memories, and insights. And in the mystery of that process I hope that we shall gain an insight into our own hearts through Thomas Merton.