HENRY RASMUSSEN
Title: Tree Of Life?

Medium: Oil And Graphite on Canvas

Dimensions: 48" x 36"

Year: 2007Title: Golgatha 1

Medium: Oil And Graphite On Canvas

Size: 48" x 36"

Year: 2007Title: Baby Jesus

Medium: Oil And Graphite On Canvas

Size: 60" x 48"

Year: 2007Title: Mary Jesus

Medium: Oil And Graphite On Canvas

Size: 36" x 36"

Year: 2007Title: Grave Image

Medium: Oil, Graphite And Oil Stick On Canvas

Size: 48" x 36"

Year: 2007Title: Night Cross

Medium: Oil And Graphite On Canvas

Size: 40" x 30"

Year: 2007Title: Crossfire

Medium: Oil, Oil Stick And Graphite On Canvas

Size: 48" x 48"

Year: 2007Title: Golgatha 2

Medium: Oil And Graphite On Canvas

Size: 48" x 36"

Year: 2007Title: Spiritus Sanctus

Medium: Oil And Oil Stick On Canvas

Size: 36" x 36"

Year: 2007Title: Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachtany

Medium: Oil, Oil Stick And Graphite On Canvas

Dimensions: 48" x 30"

Year: 2007Title: Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachtany
(detail image A)
Medium: Oil, Oil Stick And Graphite On Canvas

Dimensions: 48" x 30"

Year: 2007Title: Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachtany
(detail image B)
Medium: Oil, Oil Stick And Graphite On Canvas

Dimensions: 48" x 30"

Year: 2007
Faith In Question Series

THE CROSS AND THE DOUBLE-CROSS, a series comprising one dozen paintings, reflects Rasmussen’s own experiences as a young man raised in a religious home where rigorous rules of piety were contradicted by abusive acts of hypocrisy.

As he matured, the reaction to such impossible-to-join extremes gave birth to doubts that made him challenge the doctrines of organized religion. He could not answer questions such as: if God exists, why does he allow evil and suffering?

This is the subject of the painting Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachtani (the last words uttered by Jesus on the cross). The image juxtaposes the body of Christ with primitively scratched words that could be modern incarnations of the Catholic religion’s Seven Deadly Sins: famine, war, poverty, child pornography, fundamentalism, corruption, racism); nor could Rasmussen solve the problem posed in Tree of Life? (questioning the validity of the promise that those who believe will be rewarded with eternal life—if untrue, this would constitute the ultimate double-cross); nor could he reconcile with the conflict of Baby Jesus (where the realistically rendered portrait of a baby replaces Christ’s face atop his crudely drawn, emaciated body, suggesting a confrontation with a divine power that allows millions of children to be born into poverty and starvation); nor could he accept the deplorable views depicted in a more recent painting, Wo Man Hood (shown in the subsequent section) which matches the shape of a cross to that of a woman with her outstretched arms—her head and face covered by the top portion of a burqa that is fading away at the neck, leaving the rest of the body naked and exposed to the lusty explorations of a man’s eye—a poignant allusion to the repressive and hypocritical Muslim view of women.

With its application of actual rope and wire mesh, this painting represents Rasmussen’s venture into the use of three-dimensional objects, creating what Rauschenberg termed a “combine.“ While the paintings in this series are controversial in that they offend some viewers, other images in the series simply pay homage to religious art as such—a theme that has provided inspiration for artists throughout the ages.
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