Enrique Martinez Celaya's Thing and Deception: The Artistic Practice of Belief

in Religion and the Arts
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Abstract

Enrique Martinez Celaya's art brings to mind Wittgenstein's observation that "I am not a religious man but I cannot help seeing everything from a religious point of view." This essay explores Martinez Celaya's religious point of view through an in-depth analysis of a single painting, Thing and Deception, which depicts a gigantic chocolate Easter bunny wrapped in a veil with the statement "Needed Proof " inscribed below the image. Thing and Deception incarnates. It incarnates art and it incarnates belief. The power of art relies on the belief that smelly oils, rough canvas, graphite marks, and other banal materials can provide a profound aesthetic experience. Can this image be a vehicle for a profound aesthetic experience? Can a painting of an Easter bunny be a "religious" or a "spiritual" painting? Thing and Deception narrows the gap between belief and unbelief, banal and profound, art and religion, sacred and secular, truth and superstition, revealing each to be two sides of the same precious coin.

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