Many Pastors believe that the best way to help their flock understand the Bible is to make it simple for them. Presbyterian Minister and part time graphic designer Joseph Novak has taken the simplification idea to an extreme. He has stripped the Bible down to minimalist prints to represent each specific book of the Bible's core theme.
"The Minimum Bible is one attempt to portray biblical themes and texts visually using a minimalist style with a found-item overlay," Novak said.
Novak seems to be going after the essential meanings from each book in his art, and he is quick to point out that he is not trying to replace the Bible. He looks at his work as a way to jump into the great work.
"The Minimum Bible is not trying to replace the Bible. Rather, it serves as a sort of visual diving board back into the text," He said. "The images and prints of this collection invite the viewer to consider the strange world of the Bible by stripping away the realism which dominates much of religious art; for a brief moment, to ignore the ubiquitous blonde-haired, blue-eyed portraits of Moses and Jesus and instead dwell on the symbolic word of Scripture."
Novak understands that sometimes the most complex multilayered subjects can be made clear when they are analyzed to their individual roots.
If you are a believer, the minimum Bible gives you another way to appreciate God's word. But even to a non-believer, these prints offer an interesting way to consider the ancient text. Some of the images are relatively easy to understand, while some are hard to figure out. Genesis seems to offer a beginning circle of man's introduction into the world, then a ripple-effect in the circles around it, representing the decisions and choices that were made in the beginning.
Some of the other's demand deeper consideration, so the work promotes study of the Bible, for sure. On first glance, the print for Deuteronomy looks like something out of a Gestalt Psychology textbook.
Still, it's hard to believe that Novak took close to 800,000 words and pared them down to 66 images. Obviously all of God's words are important, but Novak's streamlined perspective does offer a novel way to approach such deep and heady material. Even a short look at his art reveals that he has spent much time considering and meditating on God's word. No doubt with hope that others would be touched by his art and would do the same.
Novak has made copies of the prints available via his website.