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An interactive and innovative art installation will have its world debut at Christ Church Cathedral on April 1.

Crucifixion Pillars is a large-scale, oil-on-wood triptych by Victoria artist Richard Motchman.

Crucifixion Pillars is made up of three large panels, with Jesus on the cross as the central piece, flanked by smaller panels depicting His mother Mary and John the Apostle.

Each panel is then made up of several sections which may be rotated to create more than 240 permutations—traditional, contemporary, and abstract. The viewer gets to choose the images.

“They are all equally valid,” says Motchman. “People of faith will see it one way. Someone else may see something different. We need to keep making choices about God and how we see Him."

Crucifixion Pillars was inspired in part by traditional triptychs in art history, but Motchman does not sanitize Christ’s crucifixion. He wanted an unflinching depiction.

“Deaths from crucifixion come from eventual asphyxiation because you just can’t support your body weight and your lungs get compressed, so I wanted to get the idea of gasping for breath, which is rarely portrayed in the history of art.”
Motcham wanted to use real people as his models and turned to three friends in Victoria. He hopes viewers will have a personal experience with the work. 

Crucifixion Pillars will be on display from April 1st to 8th in the Chapel of New Jerusalem, Christ Church Cathedral.
Richard Motchman’s paintings have been featured in solo and group exhibitions in Canada and the U.S. His work is in private collections in Canada, the U.S. and England. The artist lives in Victoria.

Full exhibition details and viewing times here.