An Exhibition at Glastonbury Abbey: Holyest Erth

1790b>Ex A6 Invitation.inddHere is a poster of our exhibition ‘Holyest Erth’ which opened on Friday two days ago and is on until May 12th. It is in the Glastonbury Abbey Visitor Centre, now known as the Abbey Museum, and is in a lovely light bright space that is slowly becoming a gallery for work relating in some way to the Abbey. The way this work relates to the Abbey is as follows:

In 1998 I made a series of mono screenprints and collographs of the Abbey ruins in the colours that research has shown they were painted in. How much and where is a matter of conjecture, but as an artist I took full proverbial licence, as in A Walk through the Abbey (poster image above), Red Abbey and Beyond the Yew:

Red AbbeyBeyond the YewThe work was originally shown at the Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury; there was no exhibition space at the Abbey at that time. So showing the work here now is like coming full circle.

In addition to the older work I wanted to make new work for this show as well. On the right hand side of my blog you will see a link to an Abbey blog. For all sorts of reasons I couldn’t continue with this (I might in the future). Instead I found a fascinating account of the Holy Islands of Glastonbury in John Michell’s book ‘New Light on the Ancient Mystery of Glastonbury’, published by Gothic Image Publications. When it comes to Ancient Mysteries of any kind I’m always interested, but also maintain what I like to think is a healthy scepticism. I have to admit, though, that in this case, striking out into the watery winter landscape to discover these ‘islands’ (hills in drier weather) that I was completely enchanted by them. More on this later, perhaps: for now, here are the Seven Holy Islands of Glastonbury (click on one, and the whole gallery will come up one by one on the screen).

I was asked to suggest a craft to go with my exhibition, and thought Books immediately, as the  Library of Glastonbury Abbey, seized and dispersed by Henry VIII, was what had inspired me to take up making hand made books in the first place.  I invited four book artists: Ama Bolton, Clare Diprose, Maggie Stewart and Jane Paterson to make work about the Abbey. Their books are fascinating and completely complementary to the whole exhibition: here are Jane Paterson’s three books on show, with her account of the Massacre of the Innocents top left:

Jane's booksFor Abbey opening times see the Glastonbury Abbey website. And please do note that there is a charge for admission to the Abbey and therefore to the show. I’d like it to be free admission; however, the Abbey itself is wonderful and the source of our inspiration, so you get the whole package…



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