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Friday, 21 April 2017

The Cross: designs & reflections

The Private View for the latest commission4mission exhibition was held in The Hostry at Norwich Cathedral on Wednesday.

Harvey Bradley, curator of the exhibition, outlined the basis for the show and I thanked Harvey for all his work before also thanking the Cathedral staff for their support and for the opportunity to show work in this marvellous space. I then said:

‘The Cross: designs & reflections’ is an exhibition with two objectives. The first, because commission4mission is an organisation which exists to encourage churches to commission contemporary art, is the attempt to display a range of designs of the cross which have the potential to be commissioned by churches.

To assist in imagining potential commissions and the process involved, we have included within the show concept drawings and designs to indicate how initial ideas are developed and revised in forming fully realised creations. We have included a wide range of designs, concepts and media to suggest the way in which our artists can lead you into new ways of understanding and perceiving the Cross, should you choose to commission them.

That brings us to our other aim which is to challenge you to view and perceive the cross from a wide range of different perspectives. This is what artists bring to a church and to commissions. There is no point in commissioning art which reinforces our existing understandings of the cross, as these are already received and understood. Instead artists and artworks are at their best when they take us out of our comfort zones and into new places which bring new understanding. We believe that that is what commission4mission’s artists do and what we hope is apparent in this exhibition with its variety of media, styles, perspectives and understandings.”

‘The Cross: designs & reflections’ is an exhibition of works, talks and seminars by members of commission4mission which is being held in The Hostry at Norwich Cathedral from 20 April to 29 May 2017.

The exhibition is based on personal responses to the cross through designs, concept drawings, digital prints, wood & stone carvings, pottery & jewellery, textiles, sculpture, paintings and drawings.

The exhibition is free to attend. It will be open from 9.30am – 4.30pm Monday to Saturday and 10.00am – 3.00pm on Sundays.

The exhibition includes work by: Hayley Bowen, Harvey Bradley, Irina Bradley, Jonathan Evens, Terry Ffyffe, Rob Floyd, Dorothy Gager (USA), Maurizio Galia (Italy), Michael Garaway, John Gentry, Michelle Gillam-Hull, Clorinda Goodman, Judy Goring, Deborah Harrison, Tim Harrold, Anthony Hodgson, Jean Lamb, Mark Lewis, David Millidge, Victoria Norton, Colin Riches, Janet Roberts, Henry Shelton and Peter Webb.

In addition, a church congregation project has been completed by members of St Mark’s Church, Oulton Broad, Suffolk where people of all ages contributed individual crosses for a large banner to be displayed at this exhibition, as well as later in their church.

commission4mission is also organising a programme of art talks during the exhibition. These include interpretations of The Cross in contemporary art and culture, exploration of issues in contemporary commissioning, and an exposition on themes from ‘The Bridge’ using spoken word, poetry and song.

The programme includes:
  • Icons in the Making – 5pm, Saturday 29 April (Weston Room) – Icons in the Making by Dr Irina Bradley: The lecture will explore the history of Byzantine art as well as the icon painting process with its rich symbolism and spirituality. Dr Bradley is a scholar and an icon painter, who was awarded a PhD for her thesis Spiritual Striving in Icon Painting with the emphasis on images of St George and the Dragon and a series of icons and contemporary paintings she created. Upon her graduation Dr Bradley’s work was exhibited at the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in London, where she undertook her studies and where she is a visiting tutor for the MA and general public programs. Dr Bradley’s work is worldwide including churches, private chapels and private collections.
  • Congruity and controversy: exploring issues for contemporary commissions – 2.00pm, Monday 1 May (Weston Room) – St Stephen Walbrook in the City of London has been described as one of the few in which the genius of Sir Christopher Wren shines in full splendour. As Priest-in-charge at St Stephen Walbrook, Revd Jonathan Evens is regularly called on to tell the story of how this English 17th-century masterpiece by Wren acquired a modern altar by Henry Moore complemented by a circular re-ordering and further commissions from Patrick Heron, Hans Coper and Andrew Varah. In this lecture Jonathan will show how this story brings into focus some of the key issues and questions regarding modern or contemporary commissions while furthering discussion of those same issues.
  • Exposition on ‘The Bridge’, 12 & 19 May, 1.00pm (The Hostry) – Exposition of ‘The Bridge’: Anthony Hodgson will take the viewer on a journey exploring the themes of his painting ‘The Bridge’ by using spoken word, poetry and song.
  • Interpretations of the Cross in Contemporary Art and Culture, 2.30pm, 20 May (Weston Room) – ​In today’s secular society, it is perhaps surprising that artists still find themselves drawn to the Christian cross as a means of expression. The cross has never been an event about which one can remain neutral; from the start it was an offence. Contemporary artists’ interpretations have taken many forms. Wendy McTernan will look at some examples and see how, in unexpected and sometimes shocking ways, Jesus’ story becomes part of theirs – and ours.​

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