Giant Beauties

  • Click on image to enlarge

    Photo: Gamma One Conversions
Enamel on wood door
27.75 x 78.75 inches
Collection of
High Museum of Art
Museum purchase and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation

Light’s art relies heavily on Christian theology and iconography. His paintings are about salvation and personal transformation, imperatives unique to Christianity among Western religions. Light uses cruciform flowers and trees to symbolize temptations, often carnal temptation, but also as a preventive reminder of the beguiling words of preachers in pulpits. Light’s rivers, separating the material world (foreground) from the spiritual one (background), suggest baptism as a requisite to enter heaven; Light wants the rebirth without the ritual, and he wants the rebirth in the here and now, not as a shimmering reward available after the end of one’s mortal years. Joe Light, theologically, is not Jewish—he’s the first to concede that—he just does not subscribe to white man’s Christianity. Judaism has served an oppressed and persecuted minority, and Light can relate to that.