Contemporary Art in the Abbey

The Norman font wrought of lead, the fourteenth-century figures of stone and the stained glass that illumes the Jesse window; these and the medieval paintings drawn from earth’s pigments are among the gifts passed to us by generations of artists and craftsmen.  Their skills remind us that art and religion are long established companions, though neither belongs exclusively to the other.

Art can speak to the spirit and be transformative, qualities which are sought by the Abbey in its programme of exhibitions and commissions.  We aim to support the spiritual life of the congregation and of visitors by presenting works of contemporary art that uplift, enlighten and expand understandings of the sacred.

“The Abbey is a conceptual environment in which one is given space and time to consider the important questions that circle you.  It is a place that provides the opportunity for the manifold problems and stresses of our lives to be sorted and reconciled.  As an artist I am always trying to create works of art that, while I have specific inspirations, retain an ambiguity and resist a clear interpretations, providing a multitude of possibilities for the viewer.  For me a church operates in a similar way, while being designed and built from a very specific intent, it goes beyond this, and is more that the sum of its parts, its broad and layered meaning lying more in the introcosm in each who inhabits and passes through the space”

Conrad Shawcross, 2010