Mary Jane Miller is fast becoming a voice for exploring new attitudes. Miller has been inspired for the past 25 years by the question, “What, besides spiritual awe, does religion tell us about the our human condition and our desire for the divine? Can we still receive guidance from the a worn out Christ story through interpreting ancient images and text in a new light? The answers she finds led to a new faith and hope for new contemporary images based on that old story, and today that means including women.
Currently she has finished a large body of work, published in her new book, IN LIGHT OF WOMEN. The book focuses on the absence of Women in Iconography. The collection includes full page color images with her commentary beside them. Iconography is the discipline of transcribing biblical text into pictures. Think for a moment about all those images of the last supper you may have seen. Mary Jane has painted many traditional images of the last supper, and now with several small changes. She included cultures from around the world and of course the women among them.
Religions around the world profess to want a more loving relationship with God and creation. Her images have the potential to enrich the traditional celebration of sacrament and mystery with a wider view for humanity in general. We are a global community, ready to share and flourish by seeing ourselves side by side with one another in every possible way, with no gender bias.
MARY MAGDALENES´S LOST WORDS
History tells us the man named Jesus was a person who transformed those he came in contact with. Mary Magdalene also experienced a transformation and became a female apostle, disciple and follower. She was a woman who tenaciously held onto Christ through difficult times and today the new icons by Mary Jane Miller hope to celebrate, inspire and expand the feminine visions of the divine. Women are finding themselves in a new world, after 2,000 years. The church has no choice but to reached out to women by revisiting the documentation and significance of what they have known and learned by having Christ in their lives.
We hear nothing about Mary Magdalene after she was sent by Jesus to the apostles. Whether Mary went to a cave in France pregnant with his child or to the Egyptian desert to meditate, we will never know for sure. The Gospel of Mary retrieved from the sandy deserts of Egypt have given painters like Mary Jane a fuller picture of Christ’s early teachings and his conversations with women. For Women, the unraveling has begun. Few of us know if the Gospel of Mary was considered for canonical inclusion or not. The text scrolls found in1896 have been rejected by the traditional church “authorities”. However, in September of 2016 the Vatican finally recognized Mary Magdalene as the undiscovered mystic she might have been. The name Mary means, ‘Barer of the Light’ and Magdalena means ‘Elevated, great, magnificent’.
Mary Jane’s studio is open for a visit and some lively conversation.
The collection of icons from IN LIGHT OF WOMEN, delightfully deviates from the orthodox norm. Part of what Miller discovered while looking for the Women to be illuminated through icons was the fact that there are so few icons with women in them to use as inspiration. The book can be purchased on line through the Web site millericons.com