Sunday 27 May 2012
By Fiona Basile
Kairos Catholic Journal
FOR 27-year-old artist James Murnane, beauty acts as a gateway to its very source—God. The St Benedict’s, Burwood, parishioner has been “making art solidly” since he was 16 and his work has featured in five exhibits—the latest of which was held at the artist-run Seventh Gallery in Fitzroy.
On show at the latest exhibition was his piece called A Gateway, which took four months to complete. James used acrylic paint on water colour paper, the size of the work being 3.4 metres high by 2.8 metres wide—it is the biggest piece he has done to date.
James said, “This piece is not an actual gateway, rather it’s a ‘visual gateway’. I hope the beauty represented in this piece acts as a gateway to the source of beauty—God. It’s my hope that whoever encounters this is moved by the beauty presented, and thus, to whatever small degree, has a small encounter, or a small glimmer of he who is the source of beauty.
“The purpose for the artwork comes from the ideology that human beings are innately moved by beauty—I’m personally convinced of this. Some people won’t get the conceptual or technical side of art, but almost all people will be moved by beauty in a work. I am convinced that visual beauty is a little hidden love letter from God.”
James has been working with the geometric diamond shapes that he has used in his current piece for the past 6½ years.
“I was originally inspired by seeing a beautiful sunset through an enormous set of stained-glassed windows and was moved to use these shapes and the light that emanated through these shapes in my work,” he said.
“I’ve had a lot of ideas for paintings, but because they take so long to realise, I only get through one or two projects a year and often times it’s due to a deadline. I’ve been chewing this piece over and over in my head for about three years.”
Having completed a Bachelor of Fine Art at RMIT, James is now studying a Graduate Diploma of Education Secondary and a Graduate Certificate in Religious Education at Australian Catholic University, which will enable him to teach art and religious education.
“Art and religious education teaching are two of the most important and influential things in my life,” he said. “I’m passionate about both and I invest much of my time in both.
“More than anything I seek to live a life of love, so my hope is that through both the way I live my life in terms of my faith, and through my artwork, people have glimpses of that love. St Paul talks about the concept that the love you have been given needs to be offered to others, else it’s static and wasted.”
James completed two years on the Youth Mission Team in Melbourne and Wollongong, and has also worked with Scope Victoria, with adults with disabilities, for the past three years.
Photo: James Murnane, 27, stands in front of his artwork A gateway at Seventh Gallery in Fitzroy. Photo by Fiona Basile.