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The Kairos Stones

$ 12,500
  • Description
    The Kairos Stones
    Oil on birch
    18 x 40 x 2 inches

    Josh Tiessen
    Rehs Contemporary Galleries, Inc., New York City

    Sophia and her Arabian horse travel through time in this painting. Here, gravity is partially suspended and megaliths float. Time is paused; the past, present, and future are unified.
    I was inspired by the Callanish Stone Circle located on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland, erected in the Neolithic era (5,000 years ago). Scholars theorize that the standing rocks served as an ancient lunar observatory and place for ritual activity. Throughout history, megaliths and cairns (rock piles) marked sacred places and events. From many examples in the Old Testament of the Bible, the Hebrew prophet Samuel established an Ebenezer (“stones of help”) as a reminder of the Lord’s favour.
    In the pre-modern era, such as the medieval age, time was apprehended as multi-dimensional. A greater emphasis was placed on sacred days within the liturgical calendar, distinguishing this as holy “higher time” from the profane “ordinary time.” Ancient peoples expressed their connection to the land –– ecological wisdom –– through celebrations such as the winter and summer solstice, equinox, new moons, harvest time, and sabbaths.
    The floating megaliths in my painting symbolize these “higher times” where sacred events are often re-enacted and time stands still momentarily. A modern analogy is how black holes produce a “time warp,” bending and flattening time and space. According to Philosopher Charles Taylor, a casualty of our secular age is that time has been dis-enchanted and made purely “horizontal” (e.g. secularizing holidays); we no longer embrace the “vertical” dimension of higher times [i]. In Greek antiquity, there was a distinction made between kronos (linear time) and kairos (decisive moment in time). In the New Testament, kairos applies to the eternal realm we experience in ‘the fullness of time’ when God breaks into the profane and brings about a sacred moment [ii]. In essence, a kairos moment is when past, present, and future become one; a holy singularity.
    Among varying theories on the meaning behind the Celtic triskelion emblem (located on the left foreground rock), it is generally believed that the triadic spirals represent past, present, and future, as well as the trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is apropos to my kairos theme.
    As I am becoming aware of the ways in which secularism has shaped me, I see the crucial need for re-enchanting time in order to become fully human –– being in tune with nature and my Creator, for whom a thousand years is like a day.
    [i] Taylor, A Secular Age. 57, 195.
    [ii] Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Vol. 3. 455-461.
  • More Information
    Documentation: Signed
    Period: New
    Styles / Movements: Contemporary
    Incollect Reference #: 594946
  • Dimensions
    W. 40 in; H. 18 in; D. 2 in;
    W. 101.6 cm; H. 45.72 cm; D. 5.08 cm;
Message from Seller:

Rehs Contemporary is regarded as one of the top galleries in New York City and is a platform for new, emerging, and established contemporary artists; many of whom have received extensive academic training. The gallery offers high-quality works to art lovers of all kinds, from first-time buyers to major collectors.

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