‘Heaven and Earth’
January 19th – March 26th 2015
The Methodist Modern Art Collection
Wrexham is to host what has been described as ‘the best denominational collection of modern art outside the Vatican’. For ten weeks between January 19th and March 26th forty works from the collection will be on display across two venues; Wrexham Methodist Church in Regent Street and Oriel Sycharth at the University.
“I first came across the Methodist Collection of Modern Art when I stumbled into a tent at the Greenbelt Festival. I could not believe that the Methodist Church – my Church – had such a wonderful collection. I was so overwhelmed that I wept,” recalls Rev Richard Sharples, Minister at the town centre Methodist Church.
The collection is one of the best kept secrets of the Methodist Church. It was the initiative, in the early 1960s, of a Methodist layman, Dr John Morel Gibbs of Penarth, just outside Cardiff. He was very conscious that within the Methodist Church and indeed within Non-Conformist Churches in general there was little appreciation of the insights that contemporary artists could bring to the Christian story. Today the collection comprises 50 works including works by Patrick Heron, Graham Sutherland, Eric Gill and Ceri Richards, and is regularly exhibited across the UK.
“We are thrilled to be partnering the Wrexham Methodist Circuit in this project,” enthuses Prof Estelle Thompson, Head of Division, Media, Arts & Design at Glyndŵr University. “The collection covers most of the significant movements/artists from the last 50 years.”
Both venues will be open 9.30am-4pm Monday to Saturday. In addition a full programme of concerts, seminars, conversations and workshops will accompany the exhibition. Entry to the exhibition and to all events on the programme is free.
“I see the arts as a common language shared by people inside and outside the Church,” explains Rev Richard Sharples, “We hope that the exhibition will open up a space for conversation between the artist and the viewer, between the Church and the University, between the sacred and secular, between the believer and the non-believer.”
Guided Tours (English or Welsh) are available by arrangement and sessions tailored to both Primary and Secondary Schools are being offered to schools across and beyond the Borough.