Thursday, 17 December 2009
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
The catalogue includes the following article on the 'Challenges of Church Art' by The Revd Jonathan Evens, Secretary of commission4mission:
For the artist, however, a very different set of challenges exists as a result of church commissions. All churches, regardless of age and style, provide an existing space, which is coupled with a history (recent or ancient) that includes architecture, existing art, and community memories. The artist, and the finished artwork, has to relate in some way to the space and its history, either integrating within it or challenging what already exists through its difference.
In writing of the “passionate and intelligent understanding of the arts in the service of the Church” that was demonstrated by Bishop George Bell (Bishop of Chichester, 1929 - 1958), Canon Keith Walker sets out a model for an ‘ideal’ relationship between church and artist (K. Walker, Images or Idols? The Canterbury Press Norwich, 1996). Bell argued, “The Church should dictate the subject-matter whilst the artist should decide the style;” and that “Today’s artists (should) be employed to paint in our churches, not in a style imitative of the past, but in the idiom natural to them;” and lastly “The Church … must be prepared to trust its chosen artists to begin their work and carry it through to the end as the fulfillment of a trust, the terms and circumstances of which they understand and respect.”
Monday, 30 November 2009
The Rt. Revd. David Hawkins, Bishop of Barking, spoke at commission4mission's recent Study Day from the perspective of those envisioning others on the commissioning of contemporary art for churches:
Nadiya Pavliv is a student of Middlesex University in the final year of a BA Fine Art degree course. Her interests are in traditional oil painting and moving images or film. During 2005 she was apprentice to Clarence Crawford; where she learnt traditional oil painting technique with a particular emphasis on portraiture.
The aim of her creative practice is to convey to a viewer the message of unconditional love that connects us all and more importantly unites us with the Creator. Contemporary scientists armed with the latest equipment come to realise that the law of our universe is guided by what they call ‘Intelligent Mind’; who we, as Christians, believe to be God. Nadiya is very interested in researching more into this invigorated and transformed present dialogue between Religion, Science and Art.
As a member of the Waltham Forest Art Club since 2006, she has taken part in many exhibitions and events organised by the Club.
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Peter Webb is also exhibiting in the 76th Annual Exhibition of the National Society of Painters, Sculptors & Printmakers at the Menier Gallery. The exhibition ends on Saturday 28th November and was opened by the Bishop of Barking.
Sarah Ollerenshaw is exhibiting in the Winter Open Art Studios Show at Wimbledon Art Studios from 26th - 29th November.
Jonathan Evens' talk on The Art of Life for the annual 'At Home' Service of the Mothers' Union and Women's Fellowship at St Margaret's Barking can be found by clicking here. The service included a collection which raised £45.00 for the work of commission4mission.
Sunday, 15 November 2009
She work in acrylics and her technique is usually to put materials and colours on canvas or board, to see what emerges. It is a dialogue between the artist and her materials. Because of her background, this often consists of figures around a religious theme. They just appear! Very often, people seem to want to appear in her paintings, a little like the pictures in the fire that she used to see in her childhood. At other times, she finds that buildings and places she knows inspire her.
Saturday, 14 November 2009
Saturday, 7 November 2009
Lunchtime discussions at the commission4mission exhibition
What follows is the introduction by Jonathan Evens to our Study Day 'Perspectives on commissioning Christian Art' held on Saturday 7th November at Chelmsford Cathedral. Summaries of the other presentations made at the Study Day and mentioned in this introduction will be included in subsequent posts:
commission4mission was launched in March 2009 by our Patron, the Bishop of Barking, to encourage the commissioning and placing of contemporary Christian Art in churches as a means of fundraising for charities and a mission opportunity for churches.
We aim to:
• provide opportunities for churches to obtain and commission contemporary Christian Art for church buildings;
• provide information, ideas and examples of contemporary Christian Art and its use/display within church settings; and
• raise funds for charities through commissions and sales of contemporary Christian Art.
We promote the purchase of artworks by churches through donations given in memory of loved ones, with these people being commemorated in plaques placed (wherever possible) on or near the artwork itself.
Examples of the work of our artists, commissions to date, and exhibitions held can be seen on the screen. In the short time that commission4mission has been in existence we have:
• built up a pool of artists available for Church commissions and working in a wide range of media including: drawing, glass, jewellery, painting, photography, pottery, silver, and textiles (many of these artists are exhibiting in our showcase exhibition which can be viewed today);
• gained commissions for works at Queens Hospital Romford and St Pauls Goodmayes;
• organised six exhibitions including exhibiting at the Pentecost, West Ham and Leytonstone Festivals and as part of the E17 and Leytonstone Art Trails;
• held a networking evening on the the theme of 'Spirituality - the heartbeat of Art?'
• developed a a webpage (http://commissionformission.blogspot.com/) profiling our artists and giving up-to-date news of our activities; and
• obtained funding from London Over the Border to produce a catalogue of our artists and work, which is currently in production.
The necessity for and validity of our approach is, in part, demonstrated by the speed with which commission4mission has grown and the interest that is already being shown in our work. However, some further explanation of our particular approach to commissioning may also be helpful and pertinent to the theme of this Study Day.
Local churches contemplating the possibility of commissioning contemporary art are often put off by what they think will be prohibitive costs, disputes in the congregation about appropriate styles, and arguments that there are more important priorities for the available money.
Since the mid point of the twentieth century, cathedrals in the UK began once again to regularly commission contemporary art but, for the reasons listed above, local churches have rarely followed their lead. commission4mission is seeking to change that by making the commissioning of contemporary art an opportunity for mission and a means of fundraising for charities.
The visual arts can contribute to mission by: speaking eloquently of the Christian faith; providing a reason for people to visit a church; making a link between churches and local arts organisations/initiatives; and providing a focus around which local people can come together for a shared activity. A good example of this is St Albans Romford, where commission4mission was launched in March 2009, and where, as a direct result of its many commissions, the church is regularly visited by those from the local community and further afield who come to see Christianity differently through their visit.
When the visual arts are seen as integral to mission, then the interest of congregations in commissioning is likely to grow but the issues of cost and other priorities still remain. As a result, commission4mission is building up a pool of artists (to date painters, textile artists, glas artist, sculptors, silversmith, potter, a jewellery maker and a mosaicist) able to work flexibly to available budgets and willing to allow a proportion of the cost of each commission to go to charity.
Our experience suggests that the combination of charitable fundraising and memorial donations that we also promotes overcomes many of the issues usually faced when considering the commissioning of contemporary art for local churches.
None of this means that quality is being compromised either. In the words of Henry Shelton, the founding artist member of commission4mission, what we offer is "quality work and craftsmanship, rather than mass-produced work, to continue the legacy of the Church as a great commissioner of art."
For the artist, however, a very different set of challenges exists as a result of Church commissions. All churches, regardless of age and style, provide an existing space which is coupled with a history (recent or ancient) that includes architecture, existing art and community memories. The artist, and the finished artwork, has to relate in some way to the space and its history, either integrating within it or challenging what already exists through its difference.
Christianity, too, comes with a history and visual heritage with which the artist and the finished artwork must interact. Will the artist work with traditional Christian imagery or iconography? Can a contemporary take be found to traditional iconography or can new and contemporary symbols be found for the traditional images and doctrines of the Christian faith? Each of our artists have a different solution to these issues and that solution may vary from artwork to artwork.
As part of this dialogue all involved also face the question, ‘What is Christian Art?’ In the past this question was easily answered as Christian Art was art for churches created under the patronage of the Church by artists in communion with the Church and using the iconography of the Church. Today, there is no easy answer to this question, as: artwork using traditional iconography could be created for church or gallery; the Church is no longer a major patron of the visual arts; traditional iconography can be utilised artists in order to be subverted or challenged; artists exploring spiritual themes could be people of faith or of none and may or may not use traditional iconography.
Today all of the old certainties regarding Christian Art can be questioned and shown to be inadequate. commission4mission, though, by focusing primarily on encouraging the commissioning and placing of contemporary art in churches largely returns to the earlier understanding.
Finally, in addition to their dialogue with space, history and iconography, artists commissioned by churches are also in dialogue with people. Most commissions will involve the artist is relating to a group of church members and possibly to some advisory body (such as the Diocesan Advisory Committee in the Church of England system). Relating to the different tastes and appreciations of the visual arts and to differing understandings of the role of the artist among those liaising with the artist on behalf of the church, make this dialogue one of the most challenging for the artist and can lead to a concern that art is being created by committee and vision diminished as a result.
In writing of the “passionate and intelligent understanding of the arts in the service of the Church” that was demonstrated by Bishop George Bell (Bishop of Chichester, 1929 - 1958), Canon Keith Walker sets out a model for an ‘ideal’ relationship between church and artist. He quotes Bell as arguing that: “the Church should dictate the subject-matter whilst the artist should decide the style;” “today’s artists to be employed to paint in our churches not in a style imitative of the past but in the idiom natural to them;” and the Church … must be prepared to trust its chosen artists to begin their work and carry it through to the end as the fulfilment of a trust, the terms and circumstances of which they understand and respect.”
We hope that this Study Day will take consideration of these ideas and issues further forward.
The programme is designed to cover the perspectives of:
• those commissioning contemporary art for worship spaces – The Very Revd. Peter Judd, Dean of Chelmsford Cathedral, will speak about his experiences of commissoning for churches and the Cathedral and lessons learnt from these experiences;
• those advising on such commissions – Dr. James Bettley will speak about the approach taken and factors considered by the DAC within the faculty process;
• artists working on commissions - a selection of c4m artists will be interviewed about their experiences of being commissioned; and
• those envisioning others regarding commissioning - the Bishop of Barking seek to give each of us a vision for the commissioning of contemporary Christian Art.
Monday, 2 November 2009
Friday, 30 October 2009
St Andrews describe this project as follows:
"The Tree of Life is a creative project, started by St Andrew’s Church, working with community groups and local artists to produce arts work that reflects and celebrates life in Leytonstone.
Participants will display work alongside professional artists in an exhibition, Roots and Remembrance, in the church and Café Refresh from November 8th – 22nd. There will be an exhibition launch on 8th November at 11.30 am - all welcome for tea and coffee after the annual St Andrew's Service of Remembrance.
The Tree of Life is a commonly used symbol across many different cultures, which suggests the idea that all life on earth is related and has common roots. Our Tree of Life project will connect people in our community, remind us of our roots and connections here, and help us grow relationships in the place where we live.
Local artists including Mark Lewis, Peter Webb, Wendy Le Ber and Sba Shaikh will be exhibiting alongside community groups. We invite all our community in to come and share a memory, write or draw, and connect with others.
Programme of Activities
- Sunday 8 November - St Andrew’s Remembrance Sunday Service, 10.00 am, and Exhibition Launch (all welcome for coffee and tea), 11.30 am.
- Tues 10th November - Creative Drop-in Workshop (Mark Lewis/Peter Webb), 12.30 pm.
- Tues 17th November - Share a local memory or story, 12.30 pm.
- Wed 18th November - Creative Drop-in Workshop (Wendy Le Ber), 12.30 pm.
- Thur 19th November - Brigantia Consort lunchtime concert, 12.30 pm.
- Sat 21st November - Forest Heritage Walk with Forest Keeper (Ian Greer), 11.30 am – 12noon.
Further information: 07866 451744 or email@example.com.
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
'The Young Christ' by Joy Rousell Stone
Our showcase exhibition at the Cathedral will be the most comprehensive we have yet mounted both in terms of the number of artists contributing and the range of works on show. The showcase exhibition will include works by Harvey Bradley, Colin Joseph Burns, Anne Creasey, Michael J. Creasey, Jonathan Evens, Rosalind Hore, Viki Isherwood-Metzler, Mark Lewis, Sarah Ollerenshaw, Caroline Richardson, Henry Shelton, Peter Shorer, Joy Rousell Stone, Celia Ward and Peter Webb.
The Study Day programme is as follows:
9.45am - Registration & refreshments;
10.00am - Welcome & Introduction to commission4mission;
10.20am - The Very Revd. Peter Judd, Dean of Chelmsford Cathedral – ‘Experiences of commissioning art for Church & Cathedral’;
10.50am - Dr James Bettley, Chair of Chelmsford DAC – ‘Commissioning & the Faculty process’; 11.20am - Three commission4mission artists to be interviewed about their experiences of commissioning;
12 noon - Midday Prayers, Lunch break & Exhibition viewing;
1.00pm - Q&A session involving Peter Judd, Dr. James Bettley & the three artists;
1.45pm - Rt. Revd. David Hawkins, Bishop of Barking – ‘A Vision for the commissioning of contemporary Christian Art’;
2.15pm - Q&A session with Bishop David;
2.30pm: Close & Exhibition take-down.
To book a place or for more information, contact Jonathan Evens on 020 8599 2170 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
Jonathan Evens will be speaking on The Art of Life at the annual 'At Home' Service of the Mothers' Union and Women's Fellowship at St Margaret's Barking. The service which takes place at St Margaret's on Monday 2nd November at 2.15pm will include a collection for the work of commission4mission.
commission4mission members, Alexander Chaplin & Henry Shelton
All Saints Goodmayes celebrated 100 years of worship on their site with a Festival Weekend which included a concert, flower festival, recitals, services and a commission4mission art exhibition. The exhibition features works by five commission4mission artists - Harvey Bradley, Jonathan Evens, Rosalind Hore, Henry Shelton and Peter Webb.
The Festival weekend also included: a Flower Festival on the theme of 'The Gate of Heaven'; music recitals featuring commission4mission member and All Saints' organist, Alexander Chaplin; 'The Glory of Sacred Music,' a concert featuring the All Saints Festival Choir and the East London Chorus, conducted by Alexander Chaplin, and including works by Hayden, Faure, Vaughan Williams and Howard Goodall, among others; Praise Service; Recital of Baroque music; and Choral Evensong.
Jonathan Evens said, "All Saints' Festival Weekend was a feast of creativity and we were thrilled to play a part in its success. For us, this exhibition was about returning to the beginning for commission4mission as our founder member and Chairman, Henry Shelton, is a member of the church and developed the idea for commission4mission from a conversation held with the Bishop of Barking after the Bishop had dedicated the memorial etched glass windows that Henry had created for All Saints. From that conversation commission4mission has grown rapidly to the point that it is gaining its own commissions and holding a showcase exhibition in the first week of November at Chelmsford Cathedral."
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Our exhibition for the All Saints Goodmayes Festival weekend was set up today. The exhibition features works by Harvey Bradley, Jonathan Evens, Rosalind Hore, Henry Shelton and Peter Webb.
Harvey is exhibiting a selection of his ash glaze pottery (in a addition to his paintings) including patens, chalices, bowls and a vase. Harvey writes: "There is something exciting about taking dull, grey, ash from the burning of wood and using it on pottery, particularly porcelain, to form colourful glazed surfaces. To me this transformation process is meaningful. We use a jug for baptisms at our church on which the ash (symbol of repentance) after being fired to 1260 C has become a textural gold colour (an encouraging warm earthy gold). Colours like this can lift the spirit."
Other events and services include:
• Friday 16th October: Music recitals featuring commission4mission member Alexander Chaplin will also be given throughout the day. Youth Service, 8.00pm.
• Saturday 17th October: 'The Glory of Sacred Music' Concert featuring the All Saints Festival Choir and the East London Chorus, conducted by Alexander Chaplin, 7.30pm.
• Sunday 18th October: Praise Service, 10.30am. Recital of Baroque music, 3.00pm. Choral Evensong, 6.30pm.
The programme for 'The Glory of Sacred Music' concert includes CHH Parry - I Was Glad When They Said To Me; Howard Goodall - The Lord Is My Shepherd, Love Divine; Hayden - excerpts from The Creation; Vaughan Williams - Five Mystical Songs, All People That On Earth Do Dwell; Faure - Cantique De Jean Racine; Cesar Franck - Panis Angelicus; Brahms - Geistilches Leid; and John Ireland - Greater Love. The East London Chorus will feature Max Kenworthy (Organ), Martin Muir (Baritone), and Alexander Chaplin (Conductor).
Concert tickets are £10 (£8, £5 concessions/child only available if booked in advance). Student Standby, £3 on the night with student ID. Available from the Ticket Secretary on 07958 066394 or online from www.WeGotTickets.com and at the door on the night.
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
The Gallery says that this is "a contrasting exhibition by Sarah Ollerenshaw and Sally Firino. Sally's work uses a single line to portray a place or a moment in time leaving space for the viewer to fill with their imagination, whereas Sarah's powerful images encourage the mind to think about passion, sacrifice and love."
Sarah's paintings, they suggest:
"are contemporary and yet they communicate a sense of age together with a timeless impression of sacrifice, hope and, fundamentally, of love. Sarah builds up each canvas layer by layer; they are then partly gilded before being waxed to a high finish. They are framed simply in white so as not to detract from the beauty of the work."
Monday, 12 October 2009
"Celia Ward's pictures are beautiful. Whether it's her little egrets in their natural habitat at Stiffkey Marsh or wild violets in the wetlands, her pictures are more than just field guide illustrations but rather images that transport you into an enchanting world. Working in watercolour, tempera and gold she tells you stories of wildlife, myth and folklore, creating pictures of birds in flight, St. George and the Dragon, Romanian shamans and an alphabet gloriously belonging to the same ancient European tradition of manuscript illumination as the Book of Kells."
Saturday, 10 October 2009
Sarah creates a sub structure on the canvas and then builds up layers of paint. The canvases are then gilded in part, distressed and waxed to a high finish.
Sarah's paintings are contemporary and yet they communicate a sense of age together with a timeless impression of sacrifice, hope and, fundamentally, of love. They reflect on the tension created between loving God whilst living in and being of the world. They are emotive pieces which challenge and provoke new explorations of what it is to relate. Her influences include Spanish art from the Golden Age, mediaeval art and icons and religious imagery of early altarpieces.
"My pictures are a contemporary take on the portrayals of holy people and their varying visual emotions that we have experienced throughout the history of art. I love everything from the contorted agonies one sees in mediaeval altar pieces ... grief, compassion, love etc to the drama and intensity of the Spanish Golden Age painters (17th century), namely Ribera and Ribalta. My work is meant to convey a sense of age which is why I create the 'fresco effect' substructure and why I distress the gold leaf...as much as I want them to look modern and fresh I also want them to look as though they have been seeped in history.
They are meant to be contemplable. They are meant to make you stop and think. They are meant to make you think about 'big' things such as what it means to love, what it means to sacrifice and most of all how we the viewer relate; not just to the picture itself but to those around us. It is this 'hyper reality' that I want to encourage; for the viewer to become the co-creator of the work and for my painting to challenge their present. By that I mean that the viewer, when standing in front of my work has the potential to see and experience love when he needs to see love, compassion when he needs compassion, even grief if he the viewer is suffering.
I am a Christian (Church of England) and am an active member of my church and my work stems from my love of God. It is incredibly important to me however that my works are accessible to everyone. They are meant to be emotive pieces which challenge us and provoke new exploration of what it is to relate."