The prophet Jonah, fleeing from God's commission to warn the inhabitants of Nineveh of coming judgement, boarded a ship instead bound for Tarshih. He was engulfed by a raging storm and then, upon being cast into the sea, by a large fish. In the fish's belly for three days he cried out to the Lord, accepting his commission, before being released on the shores of Nineveh. At Jonah's warning the Ninevites do repent and are spared from destruction. Jonah, however, is displeased, unable to reconcile God’s just judgment with his ultimate mercy.
In this form the smooth sections of surface, clash when encircled with rippled planes likened to stormy waves. The fin-like protrusions on the piece and subtle striations leading up to its crest suggest the fish that is sent to save Jonah’s life. The form’s body is twisted, at varying degrees appearing to be turning away or settling back, evoking Jonah’s hesitation to obey and ultimate inability to understand God’s will.
In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.
You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me.
I said, 'I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.'
The engulfing waters threatened me,the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God.