Sunday, 29 March 2009

Michael J. Creasey

Spire, Gethsemene & Annunciation
All Saints & St Faiths Church, Childerditch

Michael J. Creasey is a largely self-taught artist, specializing in portraits and figurative work, mostly nudes. He also paints abstracts. He works primarily in acrylics, but also paints watercolours, and has recently returned to oils after a long break. He keeps up a regular regime of life-drawing, which he sees as central to his work.

Michael has exhibited locally in Havering and at the Mall Galleries and elsewhere, and has undertaken many portrait commissions. Though not primarily a religious artist, he has a wide knowledge of art history and is interested in the way art has been and should continue to be employed by the Church. Sutherland and Piper are important influences.

Though he sees his abstract works, of all his output, as most embodying a 'spiritual' dimension, he is at present working on more overtly religious subjects, as a result of his membership of commission4mission.

Michael says, "I am not especially a religious painter, as I mainly paint portraits and figure studies, but I do also paint abstract works which tap into emotional and spiritual aspects of my life and reflect my Christianity."

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Northwood & Northwood Hill Stations

Commission For Mission member, Jonathan Evens has contributed meditations on the Stations of the Cross to a community arts project connecting with events surrounding Easter in Northwood & Northwood Hills.

Visitors are able to stroll between local venues and enjoy the various art on offer. The artwork has been produced by local artists and community groups to explore some of the events in the final hours of Jesus’ life. The art work includes photographic pieces, drapes, paintings, metal sculpture and collage. Each station is accompanied by an explanation from the artist and a poem by Jonathan.

Please click here for more info. Jonathan's meditations were originally written last year for a similar Lent & Easter project in Hertford called Hertford stns.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Alexander Chaplin

Alexander Chaplin is available for organ recitals and to direct choral events that would enhance an exhibition or church festival.

Educated as a chorister at Canterbury Cathedral and organ scholar at Lincoln Cathedral and Lincoln College, Oxford, he studied organ and conducting at the Royal College of Music in London where he emerged as a major prizewinner. Alexander is currently Musical Director of Guy's, King's and St Thomas' Hospitals Music Society, East London Chorus and Wokingham Choral Society, a Lecturer at Morley College and Organist at All Saints', Goodmayes. From September 2009 he will take up the post of Musical Director of Harlow Chorus with whom he is engaged to conduct performances in Waltham Abbey, King's College Chapel, Cambridge, Ely Cathedral and St Martin-in-the-Fields, London.

Monday, 23 March 2009

'The Month' features our launch

After-Launch refreshments

Bishop David making his keynote speech

Outside St Albans on the Art Tour

Fr. Roderick Hingley

Revd. Jonathan Evens
The centre pages of the current edition of 'The Month', the newspaper for the Diocese of Chelmsford, features a story about the recent launch of Commission For Mission.

commission4mission enjoyed a successful launch at St Alban's Romford. Fr. Roderick Hingley, St Alban's Parish Priest, gave a tour of the artworks commissioned for the church and described how the series of commissions had helped to transform the church in terms of light, space and welcome. He spoke about the way in which commissioning contemporary artists had meant that the artworks had relevance and resonance for local people, most obviously in the Mark Cazalet cancel ceiling mural with its imagery drawn from rural and urban Havering. What the achievement at St Alban's demonstrates is not only that the commissioning of contemporary Christian Art by Parish Churches is possible but that sensitive, informed and brave commissioning enhances the mission of the church as well as its aesthetic.

Jonathan Evens gave a brief presentation of the aim and objectives of commission4mission which also set out our initial programme:

• exhibitions at Pentecost Festival (30th May) & Chelmsford Cathedral (2nd-7th November);• study day at Chelmsford Cathedral (7th November);
• exploration of four possible commissions with two proposals submitted;
• co-operation with the Faith & Image group;
• application submitted for catalogue funding;
• art workshop at ‘Fun in the Park’ in Barkingside (13 June);
• invitation to be part of London-wide discussions on art in religious spaces;
• invitation to exhibit in the West Ham Festival; and
• support from Bishop of Barking for commission4mission leaflets.

Finally, Bishop David gave the keynote address as Patron of commission4mission. He began by speaking about creativity as both God-given and a key aspect of what it means to be human. He described the birth and growth of a child into adulthood as the most astonishing kinetic sculpture. He outlined how he saw spirituality breaking through in much contemporary and modern art and called for Christians to be sensitive interpreters of such art. Among the examples he cited were the humanity of Anthony Gormley's work based as it is on his own body and the 'something more' of Damien Hirst's diamond encrusted skull, For The Love Of God. He ended by using a quote attributed to Rowan Williams “that artists are special people but every person is a special kind of artist.” commission4mission would need, he suggested, to be a support the special people that artists are in their creativity but also to find ways of revealing and developing the creativity of all.

Among those present at the launch were representatives of the Arts Centre Group, Faith & Image and
Photos from the launch can be found by clicking here and here.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Harvey Bradley

"There is something exciting about taking dull, grey, ash from the burning of wood and using it on pottery, particularly porcelain, to form colourful glazed surfaces. To me this transformation process is meaningful. We use a jug for baptisms at our church on which the ash (symbol of repentance) after being fired to 1260 C has become a textural gold colour (an encouraging warm earthy gold). Colours like this can lift the spirit.

Over the years pottery has been my chosen craft. Increasingly however I like to draw and paint as well. Generally my pottery tends to be functional – mainly domestic, with some ecclesiastical ware. My paintings are more reflective and open to prayerful interpretation. My recent plans are to bring aspects of these artistic activities closer together – enjoying the colourful use of wood ash glazes on porcelain whilst producing Conte pastel studies ready for my oil painting on canvas."

Harvey’s creative work includes: Stoneware and Porcelain pottery; Oil Paintings; and Designs for church banners, altar frontals, candlesticks, baptistery tiles and ecclesiastical commissions of various sorts. His designs tend to be illustrative, reflective and open to prayerful interpretation.

Trained as a Designer, Harvey is a long standing and selected member of Anglian Potters – a prestigious association that exhibits members work in such venues as Ely Cathedral, All Saints (Jesus Lane) and Emmanuel College in Cambridge. As well as contributing to these, Harvey has recently shown work at Chichester Cathedral, Spring Harvest, New Wine and Greenbelt with the Christian arts group Veritasse. His work can be viewed on the Anglian Potters site by clicking here.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Grant funding for a catalogue & Study Day

Commission For Mission has recently been awarded funding by the London Over the Border Council to publish a catalogue of our artists, their work, and our activities and services in order to promote the commissioning and placing of contemporary Christian Art in churches as an opportunity for mission in the local community and as a fundraising opportunity for charities (as all commission4mission commissions involve a donation to a charity).

In our application we said that the visual arts can contribute to mission by: speaking eloquently of the Christian faith; providing a reason for people to visit a church; providing a link between churches and local arts organisations/initiatives; and providing a focus around which local people can come together for a shared activity.

The grant will also contribute towards the costs of holding a week-long Commission For Mission showcase exhibition (featuring the work of our artists) and a study day at Chelmsford Cathedral in November on the theme of commissioning art for churches. The Study Day will feature the Bishop of Barking, Dean of Chelmsford Cathedral, DAC Chair and commission4mission artists at Chelmsford Cathedral.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Commission For Mission

Welcome to the new site for Commission For Mission, an arts organisation that exists to encourage the commissioning and placing of contemporary Christian Art in churches, as a means of fundraising for charities and as a mission opportunity for churches.

Commission For Mission promotes the purchase of artworks by churches through donations given in memory of loved ones, with these people being commemorated in plaques placed (wherever possible) on or near the artwork itself.

Membership of Commission For Mission is open to any Christian artist (of any discipline) or supporter of Christian Art. Commission For Mission members pay an annual subscription and for this receive: a vote in organising committee elections; places on co-mission events/ conferences; and promotion of their work to churches through co-mission’s activities.

The fees for all artwork (of whatever type and media) sold to churches through Commission For Mission are determined using the following:
  • a charge for materials/expenses claimed by the artist in creation of the work;
  • an optional fee to the artist for the creation of the work;
  • a contribution towards the work of Commission For Mission; and
  • a donation to a charity or charities.
Commission For Mission’s objectives are to:
  • provide opportunities for churches to obtain and commission contemporary Christian Art for church buildings;
  • provide information, ideas and examples of contemporary Christian Art and its use/display within church settings; and
  • raise funds for charities through commissions and sales of contemporary Christian Art.
As a result we are involved in:
  1. Creating a database of members able to create artworks for churches.
  2. Promoting an approach to the commissioning and placing of contemporary Christian Art in churches as a means of fundraising for charities.
  3. Organising conferences, exhibitions, meetings, seminars, visits etc. to provide information, ideas and examples of contemporary Christian Art and its use/display within church settings.
  4. Displaying member’s work through brochures, exhibitions, leaflets, websites etc.

Previously online information about Commission For Mission has been posted at Between. To see earlier posts covering our launch, members, patron etc click here.