LOVE & DEATH @ WALCOT CHAPEL - a brief introduction ....... Please go to www.geoffdunlop.wix.com/love-and-death for an overview of the artists and their work
Love and death. Big themes. The stuff of great art. And, of course, tons of pompous or sentimental kitsch. Yet this exhibition, and its associated events, didn't come out of a desire to climb a high conceptual mountain. Instead, it was first conceived as a way of re-engaging with the origins one of Bath's most treasured visual arts venues.
For years now Walcot Chapel has cocooned all kinds of imaginative expression within its welcoming white space, filled with light from three graceful, round-arched windows. This year FaB's founding director Arran Hodgson and the artist-curator Geoff Dunlop decided they'd like to give the chapel itself some direct attention, presenting an opportunity to re-establish the venue's own discrete identity.
It was built, close to 200 years ago, as a burial chapel for St Swithin's church, which still looms over it. And it continues to be encircled by the graves of a few hundred of the many thousands of people who were once buried there. So Death becomes the most natural of themes, and Love is introduced to balance the mood of loss and grief. That balance is what many of us attempt to achieve when we remember the dead
These twin themes have inspired artists to submit work to this exhibition that displays a marvellously diverse range of responses: poignant, reflective, provocative, challenging and even funny. But all of the pieces on show, and the performance and events that accompany them, seem to fuse together the two extremes: intense affection and intense suffering.
In Love & Death @ Walcot Chapel the air is filled with the sights and sounds of ritual, regret, melancholy, yearning and defiance ... with the essential sprinkling of humour. Through installation, painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video, stained glass, and physical and musical performance more than 30 artists contribute to this rich encounter with the most urgently desired and the most deeply feared of all our shared experiences.