SoL 4a: Curator’s Note

Picture 4 we’ve called “Seeing through tears” – and again, it’s a picture by Jeni Bump. She actually painted it some years ago and she entitled it “Caught in a loop” but when we came to select which pictures would finally be appearing, it was one we chose because it seemed to be the way someone’s vision would look when they are crying – it has that indistinctness. And yet, as I looked at the picture, I could see the figure of a person in it.

The particular part of the resurrection story with Mary Magdalene is that she is so upset that, even though she meets the risen Jesus, she has so many tears that she can’t see clearly who he is. And of course she’s not expecting him to be alive and present with her.

Jeni keeps the original picture in her kitchen – it’s certainly much smaller than the picture board we have it on, in the exhibition – and when we talked about it on the phone, she hadn’t noticed the figure in the picture, even though she had the picture in her kitchen and saw it every day, many times. So she went to look at it closer. And where I’m seeing the figure is about the middle of the picture, at the top – it has dark hair, a pale face, and an elbow jutting out in an orange top – about the middle of the picture and slightly over to the left.

The other thing which seems to suit the story of what is going on in this part of the Resurrection story are the loops which you can see on the right hand side of the picture. They’re shaped like rocks – and in a sense, Christ was placed in a tomb of solid rock, but yet broke free from it – and those block shapes are not solid, they’re transparent, you can see through them. And they also look like a bit like tears – in that they would be transparent and you could see through them.

When I was talking to Jeni on the phone, she liked what I was saying and the interpretation and was very happy for that to be included on this talking accompaniment to the exhibition.

So we picked this picture to represent the tears of Mary Magdalene and how she does not realise at first that the figure is not just the gardener, but Jesus Christ, who she is seeking.