In “A Cloud Took Him Out of Their Sight” shades of blue create a form that is rising. It is like a totem of light scattering the dark. The figure is soft, and its surroundings are jagged as the light is pulling him away from some deep blue place. The effect takes the viewer between—near and far, physical and temporal—to put spiritual experience into a visual form.
Perusing Carlos Araujo’s monograph reveals that there has always been a transcendent quality to his work. Whether it be the limited color field, or length of the brush strokes, the figures and their surroundings are equal. Brush strokes move through the person, the background, and back again. This creates a flow of connection. The artist depicts humans and divine beings in this way, communicating the presence of the spirit within each human. The artist’s usage of light and otherworldly movement conveys the spirit’s endless place in a larger whole outside of the human experience itself. “My inspiration is the Word of God and the perception of Unity,” Araujo states. “As an artist and as a person I feel like a tool for something far greater, and as we fade away we begin to exist.”
Araujo, born in San Paolo, Brazil in 1950, began showing his artwork in the early 1970s as a part of a group exhibition in Brussels, Belgium. Over the years, he has had several solo exhibitions, in the Brazilian Sculpture Museum, The Papal Basilica of St. Paul in Rome among them. Beginning in the early 80’s, Araujo embarked on a project to tell the narrative of the Bible in 1000 images. It took thirty years to complete. The paintings can be found in the Bible in 1000 Pictures App from CNBB, formerly exhibited as a solo show at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. Araujo’s style, images dominated by warm or cool tones, high contrast and softness, tell these stories with a timeless quality. Of his limited use of the color, the artist says, “When my paintings are black and white their primary goal is to inform. The spectator recognizes in the color scales (used for a long time as a reference) his spiritual pilgrimage between the celestial and the mundane.” This sense of travelling between realms is what Araujo captures in his artwork. The celestial quality of each figure is the embodiment of the timeless soul. A young man, surrounded by lions that move in a fiery blur, is both a solid shape and a conduit of soft light. A cloaked figure stretches toward a floating angel, the same colors moving through them as a portrait of difference and connectedness.
While there are many paintings of stories from the Bible in the world of fine art, Araujo’s artwork communicates the presence of the spirit in Biblical narratives.