Before You Were Born I knew You

1999

About the painting

This is canvas stretched on an old window frame. I was not sure what I would paint, but as I sensed the fabric coming in and out of the frame, ebbing and flowing, I felt the movement of people. I sensed that kind of anonymous mass which often, from the upper levels of urban buildings, looks like a wash of humanity with no apparent purpose or identity. As I painted the flowing hoard, I realised that to God, each individual moment of that hoard is not anonymous, but known and known intimately. Indeed, the title comes in part from Psalm 139 recounting the faith that even before we were in our mother’s womb, we were known.

So in this crowd, there are moments of detail. Moments which remind us that we are not anonymous to God.

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