Art That Inspires

An Introduction to Inspiration

A year ago, in January of 2014, my wife and I stopped at St. Boniface Episcopal Church on Midnight Pass Road in Sarasota at the suggestion of a friend. We go there for the special ‘Lessons and Carols’ service before Christmas each year and have attended handbell concerts as well, but this visit was very different.

As we entered the narthex, we stopped to read a placard on the wall about the exhibition we came to see, but also looked at a small brochure about that parish, which began with words to this effect: ‘If you’re already reading this, you were sent here for a reason. Welcome!’ That really got our attention, and when we entered the nave to view the more than four dozen icons on display, it only got better.


Introduction to The Artist

Artist Ludmila Pawlowska, originally from Kazackstan, lives and works in Sweden—but her art travels around the world, literally, to churches and museums and hundreds of other locations—and always with the same impact.

Using a variety of materials and techniques, she creates icons like no other artist. I’ve known and admired the iconography in Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic churches for a long time, but never encountered images before like the ones we came across at St. Boniface.

They almost defy description. Instead, they speak for themselves, except to comment that the artist herself stresses two important aspects of her work. Icons reveal the inner and outer spirit of both the subject and the viewer; and the eye is the vehicle for not only seeing into the work, but into oneself as well.

Here are a few of Pawlowska’s images from the display we saw in early 2014, with little commentary. Let them speak to you . . . as they will.

Without Eyes, the Image appears silent

An Egg suggests the possiblity of new life

Color and Texture add a Vibrant Touch

But Eyes bring the image to LIfe

The Eyes may harbor a sense of mystery

A Single Eye invokes power

The Eyes may look sad . . . or lonely

The Eyes might appear Determined

But always, Eyes appear Striking . . .

And haunt the viewer . . . and pierce the Soul

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