Rev. Howard Finster
Reverand Howard Finster is arguably the most famous American artist since Andy Warhol. The work of both artists conveys a personal sense of the “weird”, but the evangelical sign &language based-art imagery (that Finster inscribed on virtually everything kind of natural or man-made surface) tossed a captivating net over the fascinated eyes and minds of popular as well as (eventually) high art culture. I feel that Howard’s inscriptions of spiritual admonishment in his art actually aroused more controversy in the sophisticated art world than did Warhol’s display of deviant, voyeuristic fetishism.
Yet both artists confronted
humanity, no matter how dark or troubled their visions, in the all-forgiving embrace of their irrepressed images; that is the gift of their art (and all great art) to open us to experience. Finster’s genuinely sincere, unremittingly tough-minded, and philosophically sublime art captured the largest audience for visual art in more than two decades; since the phenomena of Warhol’s icons of advertising and dehumanized logos, or Jasper John’s language-based cryptic imagery of unremitting clues.