23 Psalm, 2009
Mabel Stowe Query commissioned Ben Long to paint a fresco based on Psalm 23 in the Peace Chapel of the new Hospice of Charleston building in Mount Pleasant. Query, who died prior to the creation of the fresco in hospice care, gave no further instructions. So Long pulled out the Bible and read the text:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside still waters. …
In the fresco there is a man leaning against a rock, reluctant to lift the palm of his hand from the hard surface of the material world. An old woman plays with a young CHILD. A woman drinks from a dish. A chorus of beautiful women reassure the viewer. One of them looks out from the picture at the spectator. A seated man who seems to be meditating or praying gazes into the distant illuminated meadow where shadow figures calmly wander. These two figures help to establish the depth of field, inviting the onlooker to recognize the implied journey and destination inherent in the image.
The viewer moves through space, inside and outside the painting, discovering what it can mean to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.