“Before the Foundations”

by Skip McKinstry
March 30 – May 21, 2017
Center for Faith and Life

This show is presented as part of Luther College’s celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Skip McKinstry

Skip McKinstry is an artist, graphic designer, teacher and writer who lives in Oklahoma City, OK. He graduated from Excelsior College in Albany, NY with a BA in Philosophy before going on to work in in several small Oklahoma agencies and becoming a freelance designer. In February 1994, he became one of the founding partners for ThinkingCap, an advertising and design firm. In Oklahoma City, McKinstry also worked as an adjunct instructor in the Department of Art & Design at Oklahoma Christian University. From 1997 on, he worked for several corporations helping to develop marketing strategies across several medias.

Much of his current work investigates the intersections of art and faith. 

For more information on Skip and his work, please visit his personal website.

Artist’s Statement

"'Before the Foundations' is a series of inkjet images on animal-skin parchment, based in photography and digital collage.  Beginning with the description of Jesus in Rev. 13:8 as “the lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” the images explore the considered cost of creation, the loss of innocence, free will and God’s sovereignty, the struggle to function in a wild and overgrown world at least partially separated from its source of life, and finally, redemption.

Genesis 3:17-18 lays out the problem. 'Cursed is the ground because of you.  In toil you will eat of it.  All the days of your life.  Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you.' (NASB)  St. Augustine described it this way, 'We are on a road – in spiritual terms – and one blocked as it were by thorny hedgerows' (On Christian Teaching I, xcii, p. 15).

No longer caretakers in God’s garden of delights, we struggle, ill-equipped, to bring life to desolation.  Our work, our craft, our dreams and ambitions, and our proud little kingdoms of self, wound us with thorns and choke us with thistles.

We labor to navigate through wild, overgrown thickets – the domain of lions and serpents, and death.  We are not able to see clearly where we are, the dangers that surround us, nor our destination.  We think we need guidance, but in reality we need rescue.   

'Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns' (Gen. 22:13, NASB).  There is one who willingly breaks into our world to rescue us.  He chose to live as one of us.  He did not hover, distant and disembodied, in other-worldly safety.  Instead, he shard our vulnerability.  He knows the sting of the same thorns, the bewilderment of the thickets, the beauty, pleasure and pain of incarnation.  He is the one who counted the cost – before the foundations – knowing that our rescue would be paid for in blood.  His blood.

He dwells with us in our temporary tabernacles, fashioned by our hands out of the branches of wild olive trees.  A carpenter by trade, he knows craft.  He knows wood – he was crucified on it.  He knows the thorns – he wore them as a crown.

And now, while we wait, he uses the tangled thickets of our lives to shape the character of the inhabitants of his kingdom."

-Skip McKinstry

2016-2017 Skip McKinstry