After having to close early because of COVID-19 restrictions please enjoy a few of the exhibited works here.
Catalogue essay by Geraldine Wheeler
The theme, “Transformation”, has allowed for the contributing artists to interpret it in a wide range of ways, some relating to the biblical stories and events remembered in the time of Lent to Easter, some taking a more personal expression of the experience of the transformation of life and yet others reflecting upon transformation as observed in the natural world to which they can also give personal meaning. For some of the artists the making of their work is also an experience of personal transformation or therapy.
The gouache stencil work by Geraldine Wheeler which has been used for the poster, Water to wine, makes reference to the story of John 2:1-11, the wedding at Cana, sometimes referred to as Jesus’ first miracle. The six jars filled with water by the stewards are found to contain fine wine. The painting hints at this story of transformation of water into wine with the shapes of six jars and the curling vine design which is taken from early mosaic designs seen in Ravenna, Italy, and in other ancient mosaic church floors.
Different ways that human lives are transformed by the Spirit of God through the coming of Jesus, his life, death and resurrection are referenced in several paintings and photographs.
Cees Sliedrecht pictures a crucified Jesus in the modern world, an event to transform all times and places. Jennii Gould’s three paper weaving works, using black and coloured paper, show the movement from the cross to the tomb to the resurrection. The art of paper weaving can also be a transformative and therapeutic process for the artist. Laura McDade’s photographed work of floral art, the dark cross transformed by the beautiful white lily, also suggests the transformative power of Jesus’ crucifixion.
The process of painting and its value for the artist is shown in Grace Yaps’ triptych of panels with the colours, red, yellow and white having strong symbolism, pain, love and light, and the traces of the movement of the artist’s hands are clearly seen on the surface. Sharon Roberts’ He takes my rags, which is constructed into patterns from discarded rags, carries a range of symbolism. One layer of this is the reference to the charity shops which are given people’s cast off clothes which sometimes help others and sometimes are tossed out as useless rags. Here that which is thrown away is again useful. The worn and apparently useless is not rejected by the love of God.
In several works there is reference to light, including some already mentioned. Gwenda Branjerdporn’s small, delicately coloured works are full of light. Sarah Ticker has the light in the eye of the person who is experiencing a transformation from near death to life. William Stevens’ photographs show falling streams of light, while Julie Stevens’ photographs show the changes in the waves. Both of these sets of photographs ask us to see the symbolism of the theme in the natural world.
Marcelien Hunt’s lovely, different pictures reflect upon different human experiences in The Inner Child of Addiction and Baptism. Geraldine Wheeler’s Ps. 139 aims to suggest the range of human experience and life stages in which the Psalmist knows the presence of God, God’s knowledge of the person and the power of that presence in all of life.
The installations/sculptures by Marion McConaghy can be understood as a transforming use of material often previously used for other purposes as each makes reference to the cross and resurrection of Jesus.
As the exhibitions opens we, unfortunately, cannot have the painting by Gregg Nowell, Tide, on display because he was called away in a family emergency. Hopefully it can be included later. The tide certainly brings changes, carries floating objects and transforms what it carries. A photograph of this large work is displayed.
The artists of Visionaries offer these works for reflection to the congregation and to all visitors and thank the St. Andrew’s congregation for the opportunity to make this contribution to its life, witness and mission.
Geraldine Wheeler, convener.