Advent Art in the Sanctuary by Thad DeVassie

Love Your Neighbor

In early 2020, my mother’s Alzheimer’s reached a point where she no longer recognized me as her son. As an artist, it set in motion a number of ways to cope with loss and grief, even though my mother was physically still with us. Add in the detachment brought on by the pandemic, civil unrest, and how we view those who differ from us, and a series of works referred to as “statica heads” became a central creative focus. The work morphed into a micro book entitled Year of Static, which afford the visual and verbal language to explore the universal struggle to be seen, understood, and accepted — ideals that run against the grain of our cognitive biases.Pulling from the Greatest Commandment in which teachers of the law questioned Jesus on what was most important, he replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 30-31; NIV). Inspired by this calling upon all of us, the unspoken question lingering within this work and over a fractured society is this: how can we love our neighbor – accept them, respect them, serve and embrace them – when we don’t even know our neighbor; when we are willing to live with our biases; or when we refuse to adjust our lenses and see our brothers and sisters in new and welcoming light? LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR represents the first time the pieces captured in Year of Static, with additional paintings outside of that publication, have been exhibited as a full body of work.

About the Artist

Thad DeVassie is a multi-genre writer and fine art painter who creates from the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio. He is theauthor of three chapbooks: SPLENDID IRRATIONALITIES, which was awarded the James Tate International Poetry Prize in 2020 (SurVision Books); YEAROF STATIC (Ghost City Press, 2021); and THIS SIDE OF UTOPIA (Cervena Barva Press, forthcoming 2023). Much like his writing, which swings from surrealist absurdities to nostalgic and faith-filled lamentations, Thad’s paintings also range from peculiar surrealist narratives to abstract realism seeking to capture the beauty in the everyday and the mundane.Thad is the founder and principal of Ratchet Strategy + Communication, a brand messaging firm based in Columbus, Ohio.Find more of his paintings and written works

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