The Latest from Matt Whitney

The Painting as of 12.21

Watch an exclusive interview with Matt Whitney as he discusses some of his reflection on his Advent piece, “Yesterday, Today, Forever.”


I completed the Advent Art this past Sunday, right on schedule! Truth be told, I cheated a little bit – coming in throughout the week and working on it unscheduled. I reworked parts of the painting, adding abstracted swaths and halos of color. I layered a lighter paint over the darker parts, evoking images of stars layered in the sky. If you look carefully enough, these dark sections of the canvas are in a way brighter and more vivid than the lighter values. I invite you to get close to the painting, and to find those layers of paint and look closely at the sections where the paint is carved, grooved, and scratched. The overall composition is good to experience as a whole, but my favorite parts of the painting are very small sections, such as the white paint sparsely scraped over the dark areas around the angel. Or the dark halo that stretches across the center and right canvases, where the surface of the sky appears to collapse into an unknown space.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend sent me this link to an Advent Calendar comprised of Hubble Telescope images. Space images like these completely blow my mind: these stunning scenes of black holes swallowing time, nebulas exploding with unbelievable spectrums of color, stars in array by the millions and billions. You can’t deny their beauty, and their sense of total order amidst what rationally seems to us as vast chaos. The other mind-blowing aspect of these images is that, due to the speed of light, what we see in these images has taken millions or even billions of years to reach the Earth. Our eyes are seeing today in these images scenes of the universe that occurred billions of years ago.

I love that these images are assembled as an Advent calendar! The experience of these pictures in the context of Advent is the experience I am trying to convey in the artwork. My images are akin to caveman drawings of these. Honestly, what better visual of Advent season than that of an exploding nebula that took a million years to reach our eyes today? Or a black hole that distorts and reshapes space and time as we know it? For me these really bring the concept of Advent into a new clarity. In God’s perfect timing, these beautiful cosmic events took billions of years to reach our eyes. So also we wait for Christ to return in His perfect timing, in a way that we can’t begin to describe or fathom, except that it will be good and will restore us. The first time, Christ came as a small helpless baby in a humble manger. The Kingdom of Heaven surprises us and sometimes confounds us. Yet while we wait, glimpses of glory are revealed as we wait and listen, not with our ears but with our souls. Beauty and Truth are made visible by our Maker through the colors of a star burst, a conversation overheard on the sidewalk, a song we hear performed, a perfectly formed ring of a galaxy, or a painting we encounter and experience.


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