In this new project my aim is to construct and decorate a secular chapel. What form this will take is yet to be seen. Primarily it will be used for contemplation, for acoustic music making and discussion. It would be a continuation of the activities of Art and Mind (link). The first thing I felt needed to be done was to make some images which would feature in the chapel as a central focus. The rest could be arranged around these images. This might be seen as putting the cart before the horse but I think without a central, existing ‘core’ the place could evolve without the aimed-for atmosphere intact. It also means that the space may be portable.
I have therefore made some trial watercolours derived from certain images of ‘divine light’ found in renaissance and baroque church frescoes – without the figures and very simplified (see Martin Kemp’s book ‘Visions of Heaven’ (link). These images use some of the colour declensions found in such paintings and in those from 19th century painters such as Turner and John Martin. An attempt to re-instate ‘the sublime’. They are also related to Buddhist mandalas. To see these images click here –
I then combined these with a lower cartouche containing images from human life pared down to archetypal arrangements – mother and child, pieta, lovers, etc. I want to give the impression, through the precise layout of these two images, of our life experience being apart from, but related in some way, to the indifferent universe outside of our limited perceptions. Also the white paper should augment this by indicating the complete mystery of existence itself – the void or ‘the cloud of unknowing’. Behind all of this is the most profound and unanswerable of questions – ‘why this and not nothing?’ These would be some of the themes that one might contemplate in the chapel prompted by the feelings aroused by the images. I would emphasise that to me these are not ‘symbols’ of these ideas but objects which I hope will make their effects directly on the emotions and should not need these explanations. To see these images click here –
These images are trials for much larger paintings – a triptych to act as the centre piece for the interior of the chapel.
All these paintings are on A3 sheets.