This is one of the exhibitions you just stumble upon and I figuratively did as I nearly walked into the A board on Nelson Street. As I peered into the open door I saw this mesmerising stained glass piece glowing enticingly. Tenebras Lux is based in the Crypt of St John the Baptist on Quay Street, but here’s the catch…it’s only on until Sunday the 5th of October. This means you absolutely have to make sure you stumble upon it this weekend!
The crypt in which this art exhibition is held is on the border of where the old historical city to be. This venue is incredible for it’s historical features. Beau Stanton is a Brooklyn based artist who is a muralist and painter exploring the ideas of destruction, creation and rebirth – these three ideas are powerfully incorporated within the Tenebras Lux exhibition.
St John the Baptist Church was an incredibly popular church during the Bristol Open doors day recently alongside St Thomas the Martyr Church which is where the Bristol Biennial featured a contemporary video installation (read about it here). In the crypt, Beau presents a strong body of work that lights up stunning linear drawings which reference medieval art forms, ancient and modern religious iconography. If it’s not for the iconography and the historical context then these artworks can be appreciated massively for it’s aesthetic alone.
As I mentioned to Andy and Beau who I spoke to when I visited, I loved how conventionally the viewer looks to the wall for writing or some kind of explanation about the artwork – so here I was reading up the plaque on the end of a tombstone within the wall. Brilliant. I love how the skull has symbolically evolved as a powerful fashion icon now – that’s what I think of when I see this artwork. This is another contemporary twist on an age old motif of death which has been symbolically entwined into art ever since cavemen were doing etchings on a wall.
Exhibiting in such an old backdrop creates hazards for the exhibition, the levels of humidity were so high that it affected the fixings at the back of the artworks. Maintaining the exhibition involved checking on the fixings every three hours or so to stop flickering, if it were to show in a normal gallery environment then this wouldn’t be a problem.
Beau will be exhibiting in Brick Lane shortly, I advise you to follow his exhibition and his art (website can be found here)
Read more of my art reviews on Bristol Prospectus here