So why does contemporary religious art so often (always?) seem to drift toward the safe and secure? Why does it too often come across as being derivative and shallow? Shouldn't this art be seen as formative and spirit-awakening through being dangerously and prophetically new?
A couple sentences of partial response: I'm sure it has been said in multiple ways, but good art must have more than one meaning or interpretation. A great work of art should have almost as many entry points as there are people to view it. Not that it means anything but that the artist is dancing with their canvas in a way that frees it to become a thing all its own. This layered and varied take on interpretation is one of the main skills that needs to be seen growing in an artist over the years if they are to become truly great at their craft. A great artist can themselves approach art that they once themselves created and find new depths and ranges within it!
In my view, much of contemporary religious art, music, movies and such actually tries very hard to limit interpretation. Instead of finding the freedom to awaken and inspire, the artist has been hired to be a salesman for a particular way of approaching divinity. The art becomes propaganda.
I own that this is a short and simple assessment. What is your view on religious art?