Steven Schroeder

qomolangma [2017]

20x20 inches, acrylic on canvas

Artist Statement: For as long as I can remember, mountains have had a special place in my life – beginning with the Wichita Mountains (not far from Wichita Falls, Texas, where I was born) and continuing with the Sangre de Cristo in New Mexico and Colorado (not far from Oldham County, Texas, where I grew up). Even closer to home, in my adolescence, were the breaks along the Canadian River in the Texas Panhandle, which dropped far enough from the surface of the high plains above the Caprock to make a mountain of the climb. All served as sanctuaries, and the breaks in particular made it possible for me to walk for half an hour and be entirely alone, an experience that has always been an important part of my encounter with the divine.

This was on my mind when I traveled to Tibet in 2004, and the mountains there have become an important part of my religious iconography.

“Qomolangma” is a recent meditation on the sacred mountain that reaches back to that journey, with Julian and Laozi equally in mind: a word spoken is not the word, and to know is to be still in a busily turning world.

When I saw all things at once, I saw god
does all that is done. And I wondered
what sin could be. The devil works

like the devil every day; but every
thing done is a piece of a whole
done well. So sin must be

nothing. When I laughed at this,
the world laughed. And I believe
god could not keep from smiling.

bio: Steven Schroeder is a poet and visual artist who lives and works in Chicago.

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