A selection of commendations and quotes about Elizabeth Wang and her work:
"I have been very impressed by the way Elizabeth Wang seeks to expand people's sense of the mystery of the Eucharist in all its dimensions".
FR AIDAN NICHOLS O.P. From the back cover of the book 'The Purpose of the Priesthood', by Elizabeth Wang.
"It has often been said that the difficulty modern people have with faith is not so much about the arguments for or against it, but with the difficulty of imagining God's presence in our highly secularised world. The work of Radiant Light is a perfect answer to that problem. Elizabeth Wang's art helps us make "the longest journey", from head to heart, by picturing what this presence might be like in a variety of situations. Radiant Light thus continues the great tradition of the Church from earliest days in using contemporary art to instruct us about God's truth and attract us to his beauty, leading us on to heartfelt adoration and to awareness of his being with us and all people from moment to moment."
MGR. KEITH BARLTROP Former Director, Catholic Agency to Support Evangelisation (CASE).
"I have read everything Elizabeth Wang has written which is in print, and I gladly state that there is nothing which is inconsistent with the Catholic Faith. I am happy to recommend this book to all Catholic priests, as well as to everyone who is interested in the Catholic Faith".
FR JOHN EDWARDS, S.J. From the back cover of the book 'My Priests Are Sacred' by Elizabeth Wang, 1999.
"Elizabeth Wang is a Catholic artist. She is an evangelist with a simple message: finding Christ is finding life. She draws to communicate the truth, the goodness and the beauty of the gospel. Her art is rich in colour, powerful in image and moving in the message it conveys. Elizabeth's work is rather like a picture catechism presenting the basic truths of faith."
"[The Radiant Light website is] devoted to the 'teachings in prayer' received by Elizabeth Wang. A most attractive feature of this message of God's love is the depiction in art of Catholic doctrine and spirituality. The representation of the relationship of Christ to us in prayer, the Mass and sacraments is both revealing and moving. A genuine concern for orthodoxy and a humble submission to the authority of the Church are reassuring signs of the value of this spiritual apostolate."
FAITH MAGAZINE 'Faith Online', review of Radiant Light website.
""Elizabeth Wang's art is Catholic but evangelical. Simple, striking and colourful, her paintings contain profound truths about the faith…. The Apostleship of the Sea is using Wang's painting Surrounded by Christ's Love, on its posters and prayer cards for sailors. ……the organisation's national director, Commodore Chris York, said they chose Wang's paintings because "seafarers are an international community and art can speak, across communities". "The prayer cards are well-liked at sea" he said. "Elizabeth's work is so meaningful - it takes a spiritual link to scripture and turns it into art. There is a lot of catechesis in it. It is very meaningful. It is a very simple catechesis appropriate to prayer cards." He added: "Seafarers' working days are extremely long and exhausting and the prayer card with a short reassuring reflection and the prayer that addresses their displaced situation in the world will no doubt refresh their spirits."
THE CATHOLIC TIMES
"Her aim as an artist is to shed light on the mysteries of faith. A selection of her paintings have been used to illustrate her books The Wonder of the Christian Story and The Majesty of the Mass…… These books with their extraordinary and powerful illustrations can serve both as excellent aids to prayer and teaching tools to explain the story of salvation."
THE CATHOLIC TIMES
Painting glory of the Lord is great for soul
by Bess Twiston Davies, 2005
(This article was published in The Catholic Times, Manchester, England, June 19th 2005. Reproduced by kind permission, copyright © The Catholic Times, 2005.)
Elizabeth Wang’s art is Catholic but evangelical. Simple, striking and colourful, her paintings contain profound truths about the faith. For example, Christ is our Bridge to Heaven depicts Jesus with his arms outstretched bridging the huge chasm separating heaven from earth. On his shoulders, pinprick-high, are dozens and dozens of people crossing from one side of the divide to the other. Like many of Wang’s paintings, this is accompanied by a meditation, a spiritual pointer to steer the viewer towards its message, encapsulated in a verse of scripture: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”(Jn 14:6) This image is just one of the more than 1,000 paintings on spiritual subjects Wang has produced over the past decade. Using oils and watercolour, she has created a lexicon of spiritual art, depicting prayer, the sacrifice of the Mass, the True Presence, the Virgin Mary, Christ’s suffering, the souls of purgatory rising to heaven, the soul opening to divine grace, and the guidance of Our Lady.
These and many more are now assembled on Wang’s online gallery: www.radiantlight.org.uk. This features 200 paintings used in 15 exhibitions. Every day, Wang adds a new ‘prayer picture’, which you can access by clicking on a button marked ‘prayer corner’. The gallery’s name, Radiant Light, is inspired by Hebrews 1:3, describing Christ as “the radiant light of God’s glory”. Light is the common factor in all Wang’s paintings: lighter colours swathe and swirl darker shapes, enveloping disciples in a tissue of light, encircling Mary with the infant Jesus or shooting out like glorious rays. This motif derives from Wang’s spiritual inspiration – the “teachings” she has personally experienced in prayer over the past 20 or so years. All have been a kind of “enlightenment” of traditional Catholic teachings. At the urging of Christ, Wang felt impelled to share these “teachings”, through her art and catechetical writings. She explains this “teaching in prayers” as follows: “Something momentous was implanted by God in my soul: nothing new; but something already known in outline about the Holy Trinity, or about glory, or grace, or souls, or prayer – or Our Lady, or the Incarnation – was suddenly made vividly plain,” she writes. A large number of Wang’s catechetical writings can also be found on the website.
Radiant Light is also the name of a movement that Mrs Wang, a convert, has founded which aims to “encourage people to grow in holiness by believing and living the Catholic faith to its fullness”. Mrs Wang’s work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy, and the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours. She has also had solo exhibitions of religious work at Westminster Cathedral, the Bar Convent Museum, and at Notre Dame de France, Leicester Square. Her artwork has been used recently by CASE, the National Office for Vocation, Youth 2000 and the Apostleship of the Sea, the Archdiocese of Birmingham Vocations Centre, the Catholic Truth Society and The Pastoral Review.
The Apostleship of the Sea is using Wang’s painting Surrounded by Christ’s Love, on its posters and prayer cards for sailors. This shows Christ standing above the world, on which he gazes with love. His light shines onto the globe below, silhouetting the ships on the horizon. “As a ship on high seas is surrounded and held up by water, so are we entirely ‘surrounded’ and held up by God’s love,” says the meditation accompanying the picture. It is used in the 2005 AOS calendar along with 11 other of Wang’s pictures about the Mass. The AOS plans to translate the prayer card into Russian, Chinese and other languages and the organisation’s national director, Commodore Chris York, said they chose Wang’s paintings because “seafarers are an international community and art can speak, across communities”. “The prayer cards are well-liked at sea” he said. “Elizabeth’s work is so meaningful – it takes a spiritual link to scripture and turns it into art. There is a lot of catechesis in it. It is very meaningful. It is a very simple catechesis appropriate to prayer cards.” He added: “Seafarers’ working days are extremely long and exhausting and the prayer card with a short reassuring reflection and the prayer that addresses their displaced situation in the world will no doubt refresh their spirits.”
Next Thursday, a new exhibition of Wang’s work opens at Notre Dame de France, the French Church in Leicester Square, London. Open until September 5, the exhibition is on the theme of prayer and features 18 large scale prints of original oil paintings accompanied by written meditations. On July 9, at 2pm, Fr Anthony Doe will give a talk entitledChristian Prayer in Daily Life, after which Mrs Wang will give a guided meditation on the exhibition pictures. This event is free and will also be in sign-language. Recently, Mrs Wang has written a book The Purpose of the Priesthood – A Message from Christ. This contains ten paintings in colour and is based on a talk Wang was asked to give priests last October, urging them to share all the truths of the faith alongside modern pre-occupations with peace, arms trading and justice.
THE WONDER OF THE CHRISTIAN STORY and THE MAJESTY OF THE MASS
by Elizabeth Wang (Radiant Light, £6 each).
by Greg Watts, 2003
(This article was published in The Catholic Times, Manchester, England, October 26th 2003, p. 8, Bookcase . Reproduced by kind permission, copyright © The Catholic Times, 2003.)
It’s unlikely that Elizabeth Wang will ever be considered for the Turner Prize, or have her paintings lauded in the arts sections of the broadsheets. But that won’t bother her. Her aim as an artist is shed light on the mysteries of faith. A selection of her paintings have been used to illustrate her books The Wonder of the Christian Story and The Majesty of the Mass, both published by Radiant Light, a spiritual movement she founded, and available from St Paul’s bookshop, next to Westminster Cathedral.
In a sense, what she writes is very much secondary to the illustrations. It is her paintings, with their swirling bright colours, that really speak to you. One of the most striking paintings is The Bridge to Heaven, which is used on the cover of The Wonder of the Christian Story. Christ stands with his arms out-stretched, like a bridge, between heaven and earth, while a great throng of people can be seen making their way across.
In The Majesty of the Mass, Communio depicts crowds of people surrounded a lone priest who is distributing communion. “It’s a bit like Galilee when the crowds were struggling to be close to Jesus,” writes Wang. These books with their extraordinary and powerful illustrations can serve both as excellent aids to prayer and teaching tools to explain the story of salvation.