I wanted to share this blog by artist Rachel Sherwood. It records her recent role as ‘artist in residence’ at the monastery of the Community of the Resurrection in Mirfield, West Yorkshire. The blog shows how her work developed in response to staying with the monks.
I love the conversation that goes on between the artist and the community. The artist looks at the familiar with new eyes. The community then start to see their life through her eyes. The blog reminded me of when Kate Pelen was artist in residence at the Chaplaincy.
Rachel Sherwood offers a good inside view of the workings of a Christian monastery.
Someone recently asked about the art in the Chaplaincy prayer room. It was created 18 months ago by Kate Kera Pelen. Kate was the Chaplaincy’s artist in residence for the summer term. We asked her to make some work that would enhance the contemplative atmosphere of the prayer room. It was important that the work was related to the everyday life of people at Imperial. So Kate spent time talking with research scientists. She photographed and sketched in thier labs and workshops – and even had a trip to the mosquito hatchery.
Kate’s own work then took on some of repetitions that she saw practiced by the researchers. She repeated patterns while making slight changes to materials or methods each time. From this experience came the title of the work ‘Risk, Reflect, Repeat’. It sums up the method of experimentation. Within my Christian tradition ‘Risk, Reflect, Repeat’ accurately describes the life of faith. This experimental tag gets us away from the idea that faith is about ‘certainty’. Rather faith is more like a series of experiments in trust and action, that led to ongoing reflection and are then repeated in new times and places.