AboutPatterns, Monsters & Mysteries is the intriguing title of Martin Crampin's exhibition that opens in Oriel Q Queens Hall Gallery, Narberth on Saturday 2nd August and runs until Saturday 6th September 2014.
The work consists of digital prints on paper and canvas, work on glass and as a projection.
The exhibition is based on patterns and imagery from medieval decorative and architectural arts, interpreted as composite digital images. These images are made by digitally superimposing scanned drawings, paintings, and rubbings with photographs. The sources for these images are patterns and images on ceramic tiles at the former Cistercian abbey at Strata Florida, patterns on the coving panels of the wooden rood screen at the church at Llananno, and stone grotesques from the exterior of the Church of All Saints, Gresford.
The meaning of these patterns and images in medieval churches is not immediately obvious to us now, but would have been understood within the context of the mysteries of the Christian faith in the Middle Ages. Many of the sources of patronage that allowed the visual arts to flourish in the church were lost after the Reformation in the sixteenth century, but the decorative arts enjoyed revival as hundreds of churches were built and restored in the nineteenth century, and were usually medievalist in inclination.
The many surviving examples of medieval decorative arts in Wales are sometimes difficult to find, and are often found in dark corners of medieval churches, or high up and beyond the reach of the sixteenth and seventeenth century iconoclasts. This exhibition is an attempt to make this once vibrant visual tradition visible once again, illuminating it with fresh light and colour for our present age.
On the stairs are stunning photographs from Martin's recently published book âStained Glass in Welsh Churches' and, in Oriel Fach, a projection capturing the intensity of these colours.