11.75 x 14.75 x 2.5
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Dawson, Georgia 1964. Brother T. Richard Davis had just moved to town, and my mother (pictured above) and his daughter were as thick as thieves. While I can't speak for Kathy, my mother was not exactly known for her piety. One opportunity in particular proved a bit too tempting for these two 8 year olds.
They did baptisms on Sunday nights, she tells me. The dunking kind. And tucked behind the choir loft, accessed only by a small curving stairwell and suspended with reverence under a not-quite-successful trompe l'oeil mural of the scenic River Jordan (shrouded in1960's green velvet curtains no less) was the baptismal pool. It was a metal tub, outfitted with a faucet and drain, and real deep. There was a small step underwater for the children to stand on because even the preacher was in up to his waist. This afternoon in particular, Mama and Kathy found the pool filled to the brim, still piping hot, dutifully prepared by a faithful member of the altar guild, I'm sure, in anticipation of the evening's transformative events. "It was irresistable," she says, "at least to the two of us." Without so much as a look over their shoulder, in they went, fully clothed with a splash. I imagine they came back above water stifling laughter, standing on their tip toes with dresses floating up and around them like a balloon, as they do. They didn't get caught, and instead emerged renewed by the Spirit, right there beneath the banks of the Jordan, and absolutely sopping wet. This brought on much speculation from Brother Davis. They 'fessed up, expecting the condemnation any misbehaving child would after such a bold display of heathenism. But to everyone's surprise, Brother Davis never told a soul, and just years later, led them back for a second, this time more formal, dip in the Pool.
six one-of-a-kind paintings
11.75 x 14.75 x 2.5
acrylic and graphite on found board
contemporary white block gallery frame