Browns and Rusts: Meditations On J. Kirk Richards (Part I)

In my opinion, J. Kirk Richards* is one of the shining lights—the suns, really—of Mormon visual art. His work is well-crafted, poignant, spiritual, and deeply affective.

When I first came across his paintings, most notably Cherubim and a Flaming Sword, I connected with his world on such a human level that I felt constrained to write about it. And yet, I also sensed that some critical exposition titled something like “The Judeo-Christian Symbolism of J. Kirk Richard’s Paintings” wouldn’t do my response—or his art, for that matter—justice.

So I decided to converse with him in another way, to respond to his art with mine.

Thus was born Browns and Rusts, my ekphrastic, poetic meditations on J. Kirk Richards. The first link in this paragraph will take you to a PDF of part I of Browns and Rusts, which includes the six poems I’ve completed to date (laid out, at this point, in no particular order), though I use that word, “completed,” tentatively: when, really, is a piece of writing ever fully complete? I should say, then, that I’m comfortable enough with where these poems are for the moment that I wanted to share them with AMV’s readers. Other poems for the collection are in process, so sometime in the (who-knows-when) future, I’ll post more here.

As always, I invite your comments and suggestions—your presence in and response to my world-in-process.

*My apologies to Kirk for getting his first name wrong the first time through; it’s Joel, not John. Don’t know where I got my misinformation from. Now that I’m sufficiently embarrassed, it won’t happen again…