Installation at Bepton Church


Over the past year I have been considering an installation/exhibition at this small rural church.  I was initially drawn to the setting and the interior space of the church – relatively plain and unadorned – and to the associations surrounding this sort of space, and I planned to make some works which reflected and responded to this.  Previous projects I have worked on have involved a response to a specific environment – a yew grove, a domestic setting, a stately home – and I was interested in responding to the particular enclosed space of the church.  Then the pandemic hit and the idea as a whole had to be put on hold; I focused instead on other works.

When, in the winter, I returned to the idea of an installation at Bepton, I visited the churchyard to collect some images and ideas.  Much of my work is concerned with liminal spaces, the gaps in between things, and the layering of reflections and traces.  I therefore took with me a small sheet of perspex which I overlaid on some of the views I was photographing so that images could contain reflected and layered space.



Having spent some time studying and manipulating the images and reflecting on the experience of collecting them, I realised that the restrictions imposed on us all during the pandemic had altered my response to the project.  With the restrictions imposed in terms of accessing indoor spaces, I could see that the views through the church windows from the outside were not only visually interesting but also had an emotional resonance.  Viewing the space from the outside in, and in some cases through the church interior to the other side, gave this project an extra layer (literally and metaphorically).

When I began to work from my source photographs, I found that the process of layering became even more important – decisions to be made in terms of the space depicted, the use of gloss medium and small amounts of gilding in communicating that space.   My first pieces were small, chunky little wooden blocks, 4 x 4 inches; their size and make up hinted at the wooden church furniture and the idea of small iconic images sometimes found inside a place of worship.


After a few weeks, I returned to the church  with a few of the completed paintings to see how they could be displayed to respond to the interior space.  




I also experimented with photographing the pieces in different lighting:

For the actual exhibition, I will need to think about displaying the pieces in an accessible but safe and stable fashion – clearly, it will not be possible to leave the paintings balanced precariously where they could fall on the congregation!  However, the incorporation of the ambient light and shadows into the photographic record will also be an important part of this installation.


Works completed over the past few weeks:

Twenty small 4×4 inch blocks

Four  10×10 inch boards

Some close ups of some of the small paintings:

– using paint and gloss medium to describe the differences in surface/reflection/translucency and light source.


MARCH 2021

Installing the paintings (now 34 in total):

    near the altar rail

     along the pews

  the font

View down the aisle from the back of the church.

The installation is fairly low key – small pieces which I hope complement the interior space and furniture of the church. I have used small pieces of white tack under the bases to give some of the paintings a little more stability, but many are free standing, and I hope that if anyone should wish to pick up any piece and carry it outside to locate the view from which it is painted, then they will feel able to do so.  

APRIL 2021

Following the initial installation and positive feedback, I have been asked if the church could keep the paintings in situ.   I am therefore giving them to Bepton as a long term loan, and will be working on a more permanent method of displaying the paintings over the next few weeks.