Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Featured Work: Three Graces of Dawn
Describe your featured work
In The Book of Genesis, God created a Garden of Eden for Adam and Eve, where Christian salvation began, leading to Christ’s resurrection in a Jerusalem garden. During the Renaissance, the faithful spent their devotion times in small gardens beside their churches, where they meditated on God’s Word and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. The Book of Revelation depicts an endless river of life flowing through a long boulevard garden. During my years of Bible study, I envisioned the concept for my current painting project, Private Paradise – Three Graces.
When I look at this painting, Three Graces of Dawn allows me to retreat to a private garden any moment I need to meditate on God’s Word, remember Christ’s sacrifice, and remind myself of God’s faithful love for His people. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we are able to reconcile with God intimately on a personal level. Thus enabled, each of us can experience God’s graces of faith, hope, and love in this private paradise. In traditional Christian symbolism, the rose is a metaphor of the Passion of Christ, faith, and charity. The composition of three roses within this painting imply one substance in the Trinity.
The theme I have been working on over the past year was inspired by a rich tradition of Christian symbolism within Greek mythology, Renaissance art, and Dutch Vanitas still life. I explore the theme of an earthly garden that only exists within us, a garden which is tended by the daily devotion of sowing, weeding, and watering. The floral metaphors are meant to express the fleeting moments in our experience as human beings. Seasons come and go, yet the beauty returns year after year in the renewal of nature beyond our control yet under God’s hand. The beauty I have experienced within the garden also reflects my spiritual journey as a Christian. It is where light meets darkness. Yet hope is found there when I let my calling guide me along the artist’s path and when I dedicate my work in humble obedience to the one and only savior, Jesus Christ.
What are you making now?
Presently, I am working on a garden theme painting project that embraces the metaphor of the three Christian graces of faith, hope and love in the form of roses. It is called Private Paradise – Three Graces. In my paintings, there is a recurring theme of a private, intimate botanical garden where the faithful can retreat to meditate, to pray, and to rest. Symbolically, this garden is a lost Eden that we long to reinvent and represents a long and rich tradition: The ancient Mary Garden is recorded in the history archives of centuries-old Christian churches in Europe, and the Garden of Eden is an earthly paradise embedded with longing deep within our Christian hearts. This is the theme that always draws me in and has allowed me to recreate over the past few years the botanical sanctuary found in my painting.
Why do you belong to CIVA?
I learned about Christians in the Visual Arts through a friend who also is a member. While I had been working as a full-time artist for a few years, I was searching at that time for the deeper meaning and purpose of being a Christian artist in our society and today’s secular art world. The longer I spent on producing my body of work, the more personal my work was growing in terms of my Christian faith. The artistic network that CIVA hosts incorporates a thoughtful Bible-based Christian culture that allows me to share my work and painting, without compromising my artistic calling. Here I feel more at home, knowing that I am free to be who I am: a Christian artist.
Carling Wong-Renger is a contemporary Canadian artist based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Moving to Vancouver from Hong Kong as a young teen, she graduated with honors from the Emily Carr College of Art and Design. After working as a graphic designer for nearly a decade, she decided to pursue her passion for painting full-time. She continues to grow as she follows her artistic path. Carling’s works exhibit locally in Vancouver. Her painting Three Graces of Dawn is included in CIVA’s traveling exhibition, The Beautiful.