Greg Tricker, The Christ Journey, Sister Wendy Beckett and The Beauty Of Icons

An exhibition of works by the contemporary Christian artist Greg Tricker is to be held in Westminster Cathedral from Monday 26th September to Saturday 15th October.

Greg Tricker is a Gloucestershire based stone carver and painter. His profound and simple style of painting is deeply rooted in a mystical tradition of art. Qualities of myth, an innocence of spirit akin to the folk art tradition and a powerfully theatrical element feature in his work.

Greg Tricker uses a variety of materials, ranging from ink, paint, wood, stone and stained glass, to produce works of art which illustrate the Gospels and the Christian tradition.

His style is influenced by Vincent van Gogh, and he continues the mystical tradition in modern British art pursued by Eric Gill, Cecil Collins and others from the last century. 

Tricker has previously produced collections on St Francis of Assisi, St Bernadette and Kaspar Hauser. 

His current collection is entitled "The Christ Journey". 
Some samples of his work are below.

 The Grailboat by Greg Ticker and below The Christ Child

ST PAUL'S is publishing the book to accompany the exhibition, which contains reflections on Greg’s work by Sister Wendy Beckett. Sister Wendy writes in her Introduction to the book :

"One might expect the Christ Journey to be pictures illustrative of the life of Jesus. The natural assumption would be of a journey beginning with the Annunciation, or at least the Nativity, and ending with the Resurrection and the Ascension. Tricker, as so often, confounds these expectations and exceeds them.

There are, indeed, wonderful images of Jesus but they are highly selective. 

Tricker will show us only one miracle, and yet he depicts, most movingly, several of the great ‘I Am’ sayings of Jesus. 

He deliberately passes on to post Ascension time, with paintings from the lives of St Paul and St John, and there is an amazing emphasis on St Joseph of Arimathea and St Mary Magdalene.

He sees Christ as embarking on a cosmic journey through time, and so he adds images of saints, some from later centuries, especially dear to him: St Bernadette, St Francis, St Clare. He is revealing his profound conviction that the Christ Journey is for each of us, our own journey. We do not make it alone or in our own power.

Of ourselves we are helpless spiritually to put one foot ahead of another.

But in Jesus, we journey strongly and surely. It is not that we take the same journey. 
Jesus is our Journey. 
If our faith cannot accept this and live out its consequences, then we have no faith at all. 
We either journey in the Christ Journey or we stay lost, on the shore."

The book will be available on 26th September and can be purchased here.

St Paul's website also has selected extracts from the book from here.

You need to scroll down the page to find them but there are four: one on The Grail Boat followed by St Francis, then Mary Magdalene and finally the Christ Child.

On Iconography

Sister Wendy Becket also has another new book out on Iconography which is timely for me since visiting St Petersburg and Tallinn in Estonia these last few weeks where every church and shop was crammed full of icons. 

See previous recent posts here and on Arvo Part here

Despite that fact that she lives an eremitic life in the wilds of Norfolk Sister Wendy often appears on TV and has written numerous books on art and spirituality.  She most recently appeared in Andrew Graham-Dixon's BBC Four programme, Treasures of Heaven (2011), in which she discussed some of the relics and reliquaries that are currently appearing in the British Museum's exhibition of the same name. Sister Wendy provides the audio-commentary for tourists who visit the Vatican's Sistine Chapel.

According to the St Pauls website, The Iconic Jesus "introduces the reader to the meaning and significance of iconography." In it, Sister Wendy "has chosen a selection of her favourite icons, from traditional and modern sources, which depict episodes from the life of Christ. 
As we contemplate these icons, with her as our guide, we are taken out of our own world and drawn into a deeper understanding of the life of Christ and the life He wishes us to live."

The book is filled with spiritual depth, offering the reader more than a merely academic commentary on the various icons depicted. 
Sister Wendy herself chose the 42 icons that are studied - they are some of her favourite pieces of religious art. She herself said of The Iconic Jesus, "If we just leaf through the book, we will miss its potential to change what we are into what God would have us be, that infinitely free and joyful creature. It is not in words that we respond to the icon, but at a level far deeper and more immediate."

Yet another book by Sister Wendy Beckett re- published this year is called The Art of Saints (Redemptorist Publications 2011). 

If you are fascinated by icons then this link may also be of interest as it has a seventeen free podcasts on individual saints and their icons to stir the imagnation.

These are by Fr. Noah Bushelli and are recordings of homilies to children of his parish. 

If you want to find out more about Orthodox Christianity this BBC website is really clear and has an interesting podcast by composer Sir John Taverner on the beauty of icons.

Tavener is one of Britain's most famous followers of Orthodox Christianity.

He calls icons "the most sacred, the most transcendent art that exists"

His website is well worth a visit- link is here

The piece below  from Tavener is Song of The Angels.

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