Book of Nails

In the Book of Nails, Bowden has fashioned a dark textured cover of blacks, browns and flecks of rust with five nails arranged, candelabra-like, with one long rusting nail in the center flanked on either side by a pair of shorter ones. Five nails reference the five wounds of Jesus on the cross. The edges and center of this book/box are leafed in gold, but upon opening the book the viewer sees a hollowed-out volume whose interior is filled with square old floor nails.

A mound of old rusted nails set in a book-box lined with precious gold, seems an unlikely combination, portraying vivid contrasts; polished and tarnished, good and evil, eternal and that which decays.

The church worldwide celebrates the Stations of the Cross and the 11th Station is Jesus being nailed to the cross. Yet the four Gospels do not state that Jesus was nailed to the cross, however, there are two references to the wounds in his body from being nailed to the cross. One is from the Gospel of John and is a quote from Thomas, the doubting one.

"Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe." (Gospel of John 20:25). And in the Book of Peter, it reads, "And then they drew the nails from the hands of the Lord and laid him on the earth. And the whole earth shook and there came a great fear. Then the sun shone.

Mixed-media acrylic with gold leaf


9 x 6 x 1 ¼