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The Stations Of the Cross: The Captive Figure, York Minster until April 15
THIS week is the last chance to see Ghislaine Howard’s series of paintings, The Stations Of the Cross: The Captive Figure at York Minster.
The work is complemented by her 365 works and both exhibitions can be seen in the great space of the Nave until April 15.
The 14 monumental monochrome paintings of The Stations Of The Cross are set against 365 small painted panels that form part of Ghislaine’s ongoing 365 series.
These intimate images, which have resulted from her meditations on news media photographs, create a contemporary counterpart to the stark monumentality of the larger works.
The Dean of York, Keith Jones, says: “The contrast is dramatic. The 365 pictures are of our time, of the sufferings of our world, caught fleetingly from the films and photographs of everyday.
“Yet the two sets of painting belong together, speaking of God’s pity for his children in every age and place. More than that, they lead us to consider how God has become a sharer in that suffering.”
Describing her 365 works, Ghislaine says: ‘I’ve been making these paintings every day since October 2006; each one measures six by eight inches and results from a daily meditation on one news image, usually from The Guardian newspaper.
“I’ve often done this in an irregular fashion, but after being involved in a minor way with the events in London of 7/7 I have regularised this practice.
“The impulse to make them is deeply rooted in my work as a whole but these modestly sized paintings, each small enough to hold in my hand, have grown from an increasing sense of desperation at recent events and a need to address the disposability of the terrible but often so beautiful and ambiguous images that arrive through the door each day.”
The choice of images reflects the preponderance of images of warfare, crime and suffering that we find on a daily basis in our newspaper of choice, says Ghislaine.
“The choosing of the images is entirely intuitive: not every one relates to images of tragedy. Each is dated on the reverse, but other than that, no further reference is made to the wider context of which they are a part,” she adds.
The 365 series was first shown at the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester in 2009. “Originally I thought that I would work on the project for a year – but now I see no reason to stop,” says Ghislaine.
The Stations Of The Cross paintings were originally unveiled in Liverpool Cathedral as part of the cathedral’s Millennium celebration.
The exhibition has since toured to Canterbury, Gloucester, Exeter and Manchester cathedrals and is on display at York Minster for a second time, where it is on display with Ghislaine’s magisterial painting The Empty Tomb.
“For this 2008 work, I found inspiration not only in the Gospels and in Ercole di Roberti’s painting Pietà but also in the drawings I made of Liverpool’s arches and doorways, recording the traces left behind by rough sleepers,” she says.
Ghislaine envisages that The Stations will continue to tour for a number of years. “However, I hope that they will eventually find a permanent home,” she says.