Art can help us see the world as not opaque to God's presence but charged with it. David Taylor

Tyrus Clutter: Evacuation

ArtWay Visual Meditation May 13, 2018

Tyrus Clutter: Evacuation


by Tyrus Clutter

The death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus took his disciples on an emotional roller coaster ride. The miracles of his earthly ministry had shocked and amazed even his closest friends, yet his appearances over the forty days following his resurrection seem to have been equally confusing. This resurrected Christ was changed. He was similar, but he was different. Time and again he had to prove to his followers that he was their very same teacher and Lord.

Most famously Jesus returned to prove to the “doubting” Thomas that he was the same man who was crucified but was now alive again. Thomas performs the only task he claimed would cure his unbelief by feeling the physical wounds on Jesus’ body. Jesus, again, was the same but different. One thing we certainly know from this account was that he retained the marks of his sacrifice in his body.

After that forty days Jesus explained to his disciples that it was time for him to return to the Father. He had returned from the dead, not just in one triumphant gesture, but to spend time with them so that they could cope with this unprecedented event. He prepared them for this transition, this new relational dynamic marked by the gift of the Holy Spirit. And yet, just like during his previous ministry, they heard the words but could not fully comprehend their full meaning. Who exactly was this Comforter Jesus kept saying he was going to send?

Jesus’ words would remain with the disciples to encourage them and remind them of what was to come, but the final image at his ascension would also remain etched in their memories. As Jesus was taken up into the sky, to the bewilderment of those around him, they saw his body disappear into the clouds. Evacuation shows the weight of their bewilderment. The fears, the uncertainty, and the awe were written on their faces. It also displays the wounds in Christ’s feet. The last image of Jesus is his broken, yet glorified body.

The memory of Christ at his ascension had to be ever present in the minds of these early Christians. Their suffering would not be unlike Christ’s own. Their wounds were matched to his wounds. There was comfort in knowing that Jesus was their advocate before the Father. A comfort that can also be ours.


Tyrus Clutter: Evacuation, 2002, two-color woodcut, 35 x 22 cm.

Tyrus Clutter is a painter and printmaker who currently resides in Florida. His work has been exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions throughout North America and Europe. Clutter's work can be found in several hundred private collections as well as public collections including the Print Collection of the New York Public Library and the Museum of Biblical Art. The Beginning: A Second Look at the First Sin and It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God, both by Square Halo Books, incorporate Clutter's images. Tyrus has taught at colleges and universities since 1995. From 2003-2008 he served as the Director of the US-based Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA). He is currently Associate Professor at the College of Central Florida. Ocala, FL, USA. Clutter continues to produce art, curate exhibitions, write, and speak on topics of art, art history, and aesthetics.



1. ARTICLE – The Making of a New Icon: “Christ Breaking the Bonds of Animal Suffering”, article by Aidan Hart: “Sometimes I am commissioned to paint an icon of a saint for whom nothing yet exists, or at least no satisfactory icon. This is usually a pre-schism Western saint. But more rarely, the subject is a new theme, a new emphasis or combination. This was the case when Dr Christine Nellist approached me to create an icon that embodied some of the Orthodox Church’s teaching about our relationship with animals. This article tells the story of its genesis and explains its design.” Read more

2. ENGLAND - 8 July – 13 July, All Nations, Easneye, Ware, Herts: Arts For A Better Future; All The Arts From All The World For All Of God’s Purposes. All Nations offers a series of innovative and specialist Arts modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. These are validated by the Open University and you can study a range of Arts focused modules alongside Biblical and Intercultural modules. This will help equip you for effective cross-cultural mission and ministry. Some of the Arts modules on offer are Visual and Western Culture, Performing Arts in Education and in Community, Multicultural Worship, Creative Media. This course is designed for those who want to use their skills in mission, community and multicultural contexts. It would benefit church and community workers, teachers, pastors, missionaries, peace builders, arts practitioners and those who have a heart to see transformation in the culture they serve. The training will be focused on giving practical and creative research skills to work alongside local musicians, dancers, actors, artists and storytellers. We will equip you to be an effective facilitator who can draw out the artistic resources in local communities, helping them to respond to their spiritual, social and physical needs, enabling them to move towards the kingdom of God.

3. ENGLAND - 1 June, 8 pm, L'Abri Fellowship, The Manor House, Greatham: Black Tea with H.R. Rookmaaker: Contextualising Dr Rookmaaker's Work for the 21st Century. Printer and painter Peter Smith reflects on his decade long relationship with the art historian. What influence did Rookmaaker have on a young painter and printmaker? How do we understand his legacy in today's context? 

4. CALL FOR PAPERS – The Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies (SARTS), a community of inquiry devoted to the development of the arts in religion and society, seeks presentations by scholars, teachers, pastors, or artists that explore creative/artistic engagements with and/or responses to the reality of immigration in the United States. Topics include but are not limited to the perspectives of the various groups of people on the move, crossing and policing borders, religious landscapes of immigration, immigration and the imagination, place making, political advocacy, and activism. All forms of artistic expression are welcome. SARTS membership is not required to submit a proposal, but will be required for those whose proposals are accepted. Abstracts of no more than 300 words are due by 4:00 p.m. on May 15, 2018. Selected papers will be read at the SARTS annual meeting in Denver in November 2018 (in conjunction with AAR/SBL).

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