Wells Art Contemporary 2021

‘Gathered from the Four Corners of the Earth’ in the Chapter House at Wells Cathedral. View of the Private View for Wells Art Contemporary

‘Gathered from the Four Corners of the Earth’ has been installed in the Chapter House at Wells Cathedral for Wells Art Contemporary 2021. The exhibition opened on 28th August and runs until 26th September.

The Chapter House is a beautiful and impressive space. Huge vaulted ceiling, stained glass windows and a host of original stonework details. The process of designing ‘Gathered’ for this space is described on a page on this site – ‘Plan for installation in Chapter House, Wells Cathedral – WAC 2021’. A quick search will take you there.

Detail of 0ne of the four units of ‘Gathered’ – with light and shadows.

This work is my largest to date. It is 2.5m tall and almost 8m square at the base. There are four arrays, each of one hundred pendulums, so there are four hundred pendulums in total. Most of the pendulums contain magnets and a mirror. They are arranged to repel one another. If you move one, then it will cause those around it to move. The motion, the energy, will soon spread through the whole array. The movement is slow as the pendulums are long. This slow, chaotic oscillation is mesmerising and strangely calming.

Some of the pendulums do not have magnets or mirrors. They are still while the magnetic ones move around them. Points of stillness which highlight the motion of the others.

I am often asked what the work is about and truthfully it began as an abstract idea, with no real context. When I exhibited a smaller work, ‘Community’ the work grew in meaning. It remains abstract but can be interpreted in terms of populations and relations between individuals. What moves one member of the community often affects those around them. The unmoving pendulums then take on deeper meaning. What do these individual who do not move with the rest of the population represent? Are they unable to move, choose not to take part or are they excluded in some way? Or is there some other reason they remain still?

The selection of ‘Gathered’ for the Wells Art Contemporary has given me the chance to show a large scale work for the first time. The Chapter House was the place I wanted to hold it. I designed the work for this space, in scale and form. It would have been less powerful in any other space. When I design work for other places I will always strive to make the art respond to the unique character of the environment.