Saturday, July 29, 2017

For one artist, Russian Orthodox icons mean the perfect blend of art and spirit

By Lisa Bartfai
The Russian Orthodox style of iconography is both an artistic and spiritual practice for artist Sean Kramer. MOLLY HALEY
SAN FRANCISCO---In the Russian Orthodox Church, art is much more than just decoration. Small, elaborate paintings known as icons portray Christianity’s most famous persons, and are used as tools for prayer. Today, a number of artists who are neither Russian nor Russian Orthodox are nonetheless pushing the boundaries of this religious art form. Sean Kramer is one. The Russian Orthodox icons typically depict characters from the Bible, but Kramer mixes symbols and figures from religions all over the world. The image of the Buddha is a model for Kramer. “The Buddha image is just a man sitting in contemplation and it has had such a great power to give people an idea of what they can become.” What people can become, according to Buddhism, are more awake to this world. The practice of painting is helping Kramer achieve a state of wonder and openness. That’s what he wants to inspire in other people through his art. [More]