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A new exhibition of 10 works from the Methodist Church Collection of Modern Christian Art will be held at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, Haworth, from May 2.
Artists and Faith has been curated by Leeds University Research Associate Nick Cass and will bring together works by modern British artists Patrick Heron, Graham Sutherland, Elizabeth Frink and Maggie Hambling.
This will be the first time work from this collection has been shown in an historic literary house setting.
The exhibition raises questions about spirituality and social conscience and explores the connections between the Brontës and Methodism.
Professor Ann Sumner, executive director of The Brontë Society said: “This summer our visitors will have the opportunity to view these outstanding paintings by major modern British artists from this little known collection, within the unique setting of the Parsonage.
“We are delighted to be working with the Methodist Church in partnership for this exhibition as well as the University of Leeds."
This exhibition is part of Art in Yorkshire 2014 and The Brontë Society’s programme to celebrate 120 years since it was founded throughout 2014.
Artists of Faith will be on display at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, Haworth, from May 2 to July 30.
|Patrick Heron's Crucifix and Candles|
The exhibition further explores the connections between the Brontës and Methodism. Reverend Patrick Brontë's career was nurtured by John Wesley's friend Thomas Tighe and his wife Maria Branwell's family were devout Methodists from Penzance in Cornwall. Perhaps the most significant connection is that Patrick met his future wife because he was invited to be the examiner for the Wesleyan Methodist Boarding School. Aunt Branwell was a strict Methodist and was a powerful influence in the family's lives.The curator, Nick Cass, posts on his blog about it:
Charlotte Brontë describes the Methodist Magazine as 'mad... full of miracles and apparitions, of preternatural warnings, ominous dreams and frenzied fanaticism' and it is this sense of the supernatural that influenced the Brontës' early writing. Ghosts, apparitions, and supernatural communication are features of both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.
The exhibition has been curated by Nick Cass, a Research Associate in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds who is currently undertaking a research-based PhD on contemporary artistic responses to the Brontës' literary heritage. His selection for Artists of Faith makes thoughtful juxtapositions and reflections on the works. For example, Patrick Heron's Crucifix and Candles, highlights Patrick Brontë's fear of fire and concern for the safety of his family while Graham Sutherland's mediation on sacrifice, Deposition, highlights issues around mortality and loss.
Professor Ann Sumner, Executive Director of The Brontë Society comments: "This exhibition coincides with new research on the Wesleyan Methodist Branwell and Carne families in Cornwall by Melissa Hardie-Budden. This summer our visitors will have the opportunity to view these outstanding paintings by major Modern British artists from this little known collection, within the unique setting of the Parsonage. We are delighted to be working with the Methodist Church in partnership for this exhibition as well as the University of Leeds'.
I guess there are a number of reasons why this feels strange. As I’ve moved through my research, I’ve adopted an ethnographic perspective, treating the Parsonage as the ‘field’ of my research. Much of my work, visiting, studying, observing, interviewing, falls squarely within a classic understanding of ‘participant observation’, as described particularly well by Danny Jorgensen. Why this exhibition feels strange then, is that I have become the thing I am studying. I’ve spent the last four years pretty much (part time of course…) asking what it means to put contemporary art into the period rooms of the parsonage. Now, I’ve been selecting works and locations, trying to work out what it means to put one in the other. Am I ‘illustrating’ a point, didactically? Am I simply trying to offer a new perspective on an old story? What has been interesting, is that I feel as though, in stepping over this line, something has changed in the way that I’m beginning to think about the programme. It’s frustrating slightly, because I’m not sure what that is yet.EDIT: Keighley News publishes about it.