The Way of the Cross III

The Way of the Cross III

mixed media on linen

100 x 100 cm


reflection by Inez van der Spek

In a series of paintings titled Survival/Still Life, Sylvia Grevel engages with the viewer in a dialogue of mourning. She created the series after the almost simultaneous deaths of her wife, photographer Ellen A-Tjak, and her mother in the summer of 2013. By presenting her work she hopes that the unspeakable, lonesome pain of everyone’s personal loss may obtain a shared dimension. Grevel always has had a fascination for the sign the cross – her wish to fathom its symbolism even led her to begin studying theology at her thirtieth. The death of her loved ones turned the cross from a theological question into an existential experience affecting mind, body, and soul.

Sylvia Grevel’s painting The Way of the Cross III shows us bodily fragments on a cross. A coat’s collar, an arm put around an imaginary shoulder, two small hands. Someone has vanished, all but completely merged into the cross. Sacrificed to the pain, to a cruel fate. The arm and the hands of the other safeguard – only just – the bonds of life.

Similarly, The Way of the Cross IV is a collage of an oil painting and photography, a pasting together of various parts. Here, it is the other way round: the almost vanished person has gained visibility, whereas the comforting arm and the little hands are translucent and more at a distance. Still deeply grieving (rain is falling observe her wet hair and coat) and lonelier - than ever, she no longer holds onto the cross, no longer identifies with the pain. Life returns after death. There is no glorious resurrection, yet a careful faith in a possible healing. 


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The Way of the Cross III
The Way of the Cross III

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My practice is based in Beaconsfield / South Fremantle