Jul 27, 2016
Art selection and comment by Lil Copan
Julia Stankova began her painting career in Sofia, Bulgaria, restoring icons. Inspired by the symbolic meaning of the images, she began painting her own works. Her personal engagement with her paintings was formed, she says, when she started reading the New Testament. “I took my place in the queue behind the apostles waiting for Christ to wash my feet too.” In Transfiguration, Stankova brings her own devotion, imagination, and theology to the iconic tradition.
I am a fan of mysteries. I love watching detectives in movies and on television. I love mystery novels so much that I don’t just read them on the beach. But I’m one of those people who doesn’t try to solve the puzzle before the end of the story. I like to experience the mystery as it unfolds. I especially love unsolved mysteries, those brainteasers that simply cannot be wrapped up tightly leaving no lose ends. Stories like mountaintop visions of transfigured splendor.
What might change if we could see something up there greater than the suffering world below? If we could get a glimpse of heaven, we would have proof—an experience that we could refer back to for the rest of our lives.
So, I didn’t latch onto a holy word and go into space and, ethereal, lose touch with my body. But God, in those thirty slow minutes, you unfolded in me the bud of a fresh flower, with color and fragrance that was more than my soul was capable of, on its own.
. . . We all, with unveiled face, behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord.
And when the peony showed up, I knew it as a kind of mirror. This was glory in pink and cream, with a smell of heaven. Petals like valves opening into the colors of my heart.
I saw myself kneeling on a grass border, my knees bruising the green, pressing my face into the face of this silken, just-opened bloom, and breathing it, wanting to drown in it. Wanting to grow in its reflected image.