Artist Gerald Griffin showcases monumental works in size, and meaning, at Fourth Presbyterian Church

Artist Gerald Griffin (Griffin Gallery and Interiors) stands 6’4” tall, and is 238 pounds, certainly a commanding figure. But even more imposing are the outsize canvases Griffin creates, some of which are on display now at Chicago’s Fourth Presbyterian Church. The pieces appear to have been specifically created for the imposing Gothic Revival building. But the themes of his work differ markedly from other ecclesiastical works, portraying a clearly European point-of-view. Through the efforts of Robert A. Crouch, director of volunteer ministry and a collector of Griffin’s work, in conjunction with a committee of Fourth Presbyterian members, that will change with the addition of a commissioned work by Griffin to the church’s collection. The yet to be created work will be housed in the Loggia Sanctuary.

Griffin hosted an Artist’s Talk for members of the church, and the community where he discussed his inspirations and recited some of his original poetry that put the art pieces in context. Griffin shared how his studies and travels have informed his work, citing inspirations as varied as Rennaisance sculptor Michelangelo’s ‘Pieta’ housed in the Vatican. Griffin’s namesake piece depicts the death of Travon Martin, in the place of the crucified Christ, being cradled by his mother. A hawk flies overhead, representing the spirit animal that will capture the young man’s soul, taking it to another plane.

Gerald Griffin discusses his piece “No Ledge”
Pieta is Griffin’s homage to the slaying of Travon Martin. Michelangelo’s work of the same name was his inspiration.

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