25th May 2016
Those who have visited The Grand Tour which has been in the Cathedral since early April will already have come across the work of Danielle Stevenson. As a twenty-first century response to the eighteenth century monuments in the Court and Cavendish areas she has used their sculptures as the basis for four portraits in traditional oil painting style with the background unfinished as though the work was still in progress. Throughout June you will get a chance to see the paintings she produced for her BA degree last year, work which impressed me when I made one of my regular visits to the University of Derby degree show in the Art and Design Faculty. The title she has chosen, Creative Encounters, sums up her attempt to combine traditional portrait painting techniques with contemporary imagery in the form of familiar technology.
In her artist’s statement she tells of the chief influences on her work, portraits by Joseph Wright using candle light to create chiaroscuro and the unfinished portraits of Sir Thomas Lawrence which inspired her to leave her portraits of her contemporaries unfinished to give a sense of continuity between the past, in the oil painting technique, and the present. She says of her work, ‘For this exhibition I have used a bright background colour and traditional ornamental frames to emulate Victorian display practices. For the audience I would like there to be a sense of confusion as to the time period of the painting or which time is more important in my work.’
It has always been a policy of the Cathedral to encourage young artists by giving recent graduates an opportunity to display their work. This year we are fortunate in having been able to do so in both the Cathedral and the Sir Richard Morris Lounge.
Geoff Robson (Exhibitions Officer)