STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 04/01/2009

Back Page: Annunciation By Tanja Butler

oil, acrylic and gold leaf on panel, 10 x 5 x 2 inches
© 2006

Tanja Butler
painter and printmaker

Annunciation depicts an intersection of time and eternity in the moment of decision offered Mary by the archangel Gabriel. Mary, by accepting God’s invitation, opens the door to God’s redemption, the door shut since the Fall.

The bottom panel depicts the biblical narrative within time and human history while the upper panel refers to the activity in eternity, symbolized by the gold background. Mary’s conception has been likened in medieval and Byzantine theology to the image of the burning bush. Just as Mary contained God in her physical body, a miracle similar to the bush not consumed by the divine flame, the Japanese paper lamp behind Mary holds light within fragile, combustible material.

A ladder between history and eternity has now been established. The barren Tree of Knowledge of Good and
Evil recedes as faith and assent provide access to the Tree of Life, described as a folk art motif. The ladder from Jacob’s dream refers to the cross, a connection between heaven and earth.

Tanja Butler, M.A., associate professor of art, has displayed work in many solo and group exhibitions and participated in a number of print portfolios, including The Florence Portfolio, now part of the Armand Hammer Collection of Art and the Vatican Museum of Contemporary Religious Art.