Wednesday 26 October 2011

Christmas c4m exhibition at Tokarska Gallery

An exhibition designed to encourage the commissioning of contemporary Christian art opens in the Tokarska Gallery on Thursday 1st December 2011.

commission4mission artists will show work in a variety of media, including concept drawings, fused glass, paintings, pottery and reliefs. With much of the work exploring Christian themes, this exhibition will be of particular relevance and interest in the preparations for Christmas.

Jonathan Evens, secretary of commission4mission, explains: ‘This exhibition demonstrates some of the ways commissioned art can be used to enhance a place of worship and add another dimension to a church’s mission.’

Contributing artists include Harvey BradleyColin Burns, Christopher Clack, Ally Clarke, Valerie Dean, Jonathan Evens, Mark LewisNadiya Pavliv-Tokarska, Caroline Richardson, Janet RobertsHenry Shelton, Joy Rousell Stone and Peter Webb. Much of the work is for sale, and enquiries are invited. The exhibition will also include examples of some completed commissions and information about the commissioning process.

The exhibition continues until 31st December, Thursday – Saturday, 12.00 noon - 7.00pm. Private View: Saturday 3rd December from 6.00pm. RSVP

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Guide on Commissioning New Art for Churches

Jonathan Evens represented commission4mission at the launch today by the Church Buildings Council of the Church of England of their guide on Commissioning New Art for Churches at St Stephen Walbrook, London. The guide aims to encourage parishes to embark on the adventure of commissioning new art for their churches.

Much of the information in the guide is aimed at parishes, but it will also provide an insight for artists and other interested parties. It is not only promoting the commissioning of artwork such as painting, stained glass or sculpture, but also wants parishes to consider other options such as kneelers, processional crosses or vestments.

The guide, richly illustrated with examples of recent commissions throughout England, has been developed through consultation with a working group chaired by artist Mark Cazalet. Mark Lewis was commission4mission's representative at a consultation event earlier this year as part of the process which produced the guide. 

The guide includes details on what parishes should consider, how to write briefs and commission and choose artists as well as the legal framework. This is the first time that the Church of England has produced a guide of this type and it hopes that this will make parishes realise that commissioning artwork - both permanent and temporary - can be very straightforward.

To complement the launch of this innovative guide, the Church Buildings Council is delighted that the Jerusalem Trust has agreed to donate a prize for £10,000 to be awarded to the parish that makes the best case for commissioning a new artwork applying the guidelines.

Anne Sloman, Chair of the Church Buildings Council, said, "The Church has always been a significant Patron of the Arts in this country and we are determined that this tradition continues into the 21st Century. The Guidelines are intended to help our 16,000 parishes with this process. We are very grateful to the Jerusalem Trust for the Prize which will encourage parishioners to use the guidelines creatively to work with artists to achieve a distinctive legacy."

Mark Cazalet, Chair of the Working Group, commented, "The launch of Commissioning New Art for Parishes is an exciting and overdue initiative from The Church Building Council; it sets out clear, concise guidelines for getting the most out of the commissioning process, and ensuring the best results. The advice it contains was gathered from key figures at all levels and backgrounds in the field, representing the experience of: artists, commissioners, funders, Diocesan Advisory Committees, diocesan chancellors, clergy and parishes. It aims to be the comprehensive single document for all those starting out on commissioning a new art work for a parish church.

Bishop of Chelmsford Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell noted: "The word that was made flesh in Christ has also down the ages been made paint and stone. On canvas and cardboard and marble and glass, artists have delighted and disturbed us with their own interpretations of the Christian story. The tradition of commissioning art for the church is as important today as it ever was; not just for telling the story of Christian faith, and not just for adorning Christian worship and buildings, but for celebrating the endlessly inventive splendour of God. For it is in the image of this creative God that we are made, and it is when we turn our minds - and hands! - to beauty, as well as truth and goodness, that we most reflect this gracious God."

The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Richard Chartres, Bishop of London and Chairman of the Cathedral and Church Buildings Division, also commented: "The unfolding drama whose author is God seeks artistic expression in every generation. The Church needs to engage with contemporary artists in order to explore afresh the forms which divine truth should be taking in the here and now."

For further information and to download a copy of the guide, visit

Sunday 9 October 2011

ArtWay Meditation

Jonathan Evens has written the ArtWay Visual Meditation for 9th October based on Descent II by Christopher Clack.

His meditation, which ends with the question 'What would be the impact, I wonder, were we more frequently to take religious images out of their religious context, as Clack has done, and trust them to raise their questions and reveal their meanings in other landscapes, cultures and worlds?', can be read by clicking here.

Descent II will feature in the next commission4mission exhibition to be held at the Tokarska Gallery from 1st - 31st December 2011 (Thursdays - Saturdays, 12 noon - 7.00pm). The next exhibition at the Tokarska Gallery is 4 Man Show from 14 - 29 October.

Also published today on the ArtWay site is an essay by Jonathan about the significance of the imagery of clowns in the life and work of Albert Houthuesen entitled 'The spirituality of the Artist-Clown.' 

Thursday 6 October 2011

Update: Harvey Bradley

Harvey Bradley will be exhibiting with Anglian Potters this weekend (8th and 9th October) at the Ickworth House Wood Sale and Craft Fair. 20 Anglian Potters are taking part in the Fair, which includes raku, throwing and hand building demonstrations, and children's activities.

The vase above is from a recent firing and is in memory of Jenny, an active member of Emmanuel Church, Billericay, who was killed in a tragic traffic accident in Suffolk.

Sunday 2 October 2011

Dedication of mosaics

The Rt Revd David Hawkins, Bishop of Barking and patron of commission4mission, dedicated new mosaics, commissioned through commission4mission, at St John's Seven Kings today. The dedication took place at the end of the Patronal Festival service for St John's.

The two mosaics were commissioned as part of the development of the community garden at St Johns. They were envisaged as bold, bright works to catch the eye of passers by and draw them into the green space of the garden. Viki Isherwood Metzler has re-created her Graffiti Love design for display on the East wall of the church, while Sergiy Shkanov has added a mosaic to the Trinity sculpture in the remembrance area of the garden. This design of circular and triangular lines connecting three granite shapes is intended to symbolise the constant exchange and interconnections within the Godhead.

Saturday 1 October 2011

Completed commission: St John's mosaics

A commission for two mosaics at St John's Seven Kings has been completed today in readiness for their dedication by Rt Revd David Hawkins, Bishop of Barking, during tomorrow's Patronal Festival service at the church.

The mosaics complete work that the church has carried out to create a community garden and will also feature in both the local Church art trail and the art trail for the Barking Episcopal Area.

Graffiti Love by Viki Isherwood Metzler has been installed on the east wall of the church, where it can be seen by passers-by on the busy Aldborough Road South. The second mosaic is by Sergiy Shkanov and forms part of a Trinity sculpture, designed by the community garden planning group, for the remembrance area of the community garden.