- Associated Press - Sunday, March 27, 2016

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Three area college art instructors contributed artwork for the book “Revealed: A Storybook Bible for Grown-Ups.”

Micah Bloom, an assistant art professor at Minot State University, MSU art instructor Ryan Stander, and Williston State College art instructor Justin Sorensen all provided illustrations for different passages from the Bible, the Minot State Daily News (https://bit.ly/1XPEoCt ) reported.

“Ryan and I were approached by the editor, Ned Bustard, to create an illustration for a book on prints with the tagline: ‘Bible Stories for Grown Ups,’” said Bloom. “I was intrigued that project would be centered around the more grisly and intense stories in the Bible… the ones we overlook when we create pictorial versions for children. I think that such stories are important because they confirm that the Bible tells stories about real people in sometimes ugly situations. These stories are the shameful foibles of the Book’s heroes, recognized as spiritual archetypes and venerated patriarchs. These leaders were recognized for their great and holy deeds, and in ‘Revealed,’ their struggles with temptation and self-destruction. I don’t usually do illustration work, but I joined the project because I wanted to get back to the lithography I was doing in graduate school some years back. Getting back to drawing was delightful, and to spend hours on the stone was wonderfully therapeutic.

“My print in the book is titled: ‘Ananias and Sapphira,’ and it illustrates the story in Acts 5:1-11. The image was drawn on a large piece of limestone and was printed in an old technique called lithography. This process requires multiple etches of gum Arabic and nitric acid and rolling up the stone with ink. Finally the paper is laid on the stone, and the stone is run through a press.

“In short, the story tells of how Ananias and Sapphira lied to the church elders by withholding the proceeds of some property that was sold. They claimed it was all of the money, but they held some back for selfish purposes. Depicted in the print is Peter, extending his hand to receive the money, Ananias already dead at the doorway, and Sapphira, struck dead in the middle of her dishonesty. Death pulls her to the floor.”

According to a press release from Williston State College, Sorensen’s piece was of the Jewish prophet Elijah in the passage found in the book of 1 Kings where God tells Elijah to stand at the mouth of a cave so he can pass in front of him. After a strong wind, a hurricane, and a fire pass by. God reveals himself in a whisper, which causes Elijah to cover his face.

“I was interested in trying to depict that unexpected manifestation of God, and how you give visual form to something that has been revealed audibly,” Sorensen said. “I am very proud of what was added to this book.”

The art instructors were approached by the book publisher to contribute prints after they attended a conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, according to Williston State.

“My graduate work focused heavily on how theology can inform contemporary artistic discourse,” Sorensen said in the release. “For me, this was a great opportunity to continue research that I’ve been heavily involved in for the past five years.”

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