When visiting Salisbury Cathedral, it's hard not to be awestruck by the way light filters through its towering stained glass windows. While some date back to the 13th century others are more recent – like Gabriel Loire's striking Prisoners of Conscience window, which was installed in 1980. With this rich tradition it seems fitting that the early English Gothic Cathedral should stage an exhibition of glass art.
Running until November this year, 'Reflections' sees nine internationally renowned artists create spectacular site-specific works within the Cathedral, based around the theme of 'reflection'. Scattered around the Cathedral’s grounds, both inside and out, the works form a visual response to the building’s dramatic medieval architecture.
Curated by Jacquiline Creswell, Salisbury Cathedral’s arts advisor, alongside Rebecca Newnham, a sculptor who works with glass, the exhibition showcases a diverse range of approaches and production techniques.
Outside, ambitiously scaled pieces like Newnham’s arched Launch sculpture, with its plumage-like glass mosaic skin, frame the Cathedral’s majestic exterior, while inside Livvy Fink’s phosphorescent kiln-cast glass sculptures and New Zealand artist Galia Amsel’s swooping fibre optic glass tubes mysteriously glow in the shadows.
The cathedral, which has long tradition of hosting exhibitions, uses art to communicate a wider message to its congregation and visitors. ’I have always been fascinated by glass,' says Creswell. 'It is a material to look through in order to see out. Its intrinsic purity captures the imagination. The alchemical transformation of sand into a precious, crystal clear, frozen form commands respect and reverence. Like architecture, glass divides light and space and in addition glass has magical qualities beyond its physicality.’