Stations of the Cross
By Paul Coslett
A series of paintings and drawings depicting Christ’s journey to the Crucifixion are exhibited at Liverpool Cathedral.
Ghislaine Howard's 'The Empty Tomb'
The journey made by Jesus to his crucifixion is shown in an exhibition of paintings, Stations of the Cross, displayed at Liverpool Cathedral.
Stations of the Cross, a series of 14 images by artist Ghislaine Howard, is at the cathedral until 25 March, 2008.
In recognition of Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture Ghislaine Howard has created a new work, The Empty Tomb, which is part of the display in the cathedral.
A millennium project with Liverpool Hope University, the Stations of the Cross was first shown in Liverpool Cathedral and Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral in 2000 and has also exhibited in Canterbury and Gloucester Cathedrals.
Jesus dies on the cross
The new painting of a vacant tomb specially created for 2008 moves the series on to the Resurrection and was created after early morning trips around Liverpool last Easter, "This painting is the empty tomb, this is taken from John's gospel,” says artist Ghislaine Howard.
“He said that he went to the tomb and stepped down and saw the linen cloths lying and of course Jesus is not there and the implication is the Resurrection.
"I spent a number of early mornings walking around the centre of Liverpool looking at places, doorways and archways.
“Places where people had left cardboard boxes and blankets, I wanted this painting to have that sense of all those things.
“There is a sense of a body suggested by the cloth but that person who was there is no longer there.”
It was while working in a maternity unit in 1993 that Ghislaine was inspired with the idea of creating the images of the journey around the crucifixion, “Strange though it may seem working in a maternity unit with women in labour there was that sense of the women on this journey, the sense of suffering that is alleviated by other people.”
The exhibition is at Liverpool Cathedral
“There are the poses – a midwife holding a cloth and that kind of thing really put me in mind of this biblical imagery which is the Stations of the Cross”
Ghislaine says the exhibiting of her work in a cathedral adds an extra dimension, “It is such a fabulous place for an artist to exhibit in and to be able to have them almost floating in the space is absolutely fantastic.
"One of the things about being in a church is that people look at things slightly differently maybe they give things more time.
“In a gallery there is so much stuff and there's room after room of artwork.
“In a church it is quite a contemplative space, also there are lots of different people coming in who aren't expecting to see an exhibition of paintings.
“Lots of different people see them and they come at them from different viewpoints."
Jesus is condemned to death
Brought up as a Catholic Ghislaine says she’s now not a member of any particular faith but has drawn on her childhood for the imagery of Stations of the Cross, "In these works I've sort of used the Christian framework and that imagery that I'm so familiar with from being a child as a framework for a wider human message.
"The new one completes the sequence. I always had it in mind that there needed to be a sense of resolution to that group of works.”
“It has these various resonances. It has black curtains on either side and the idea with that is that during Holy Week the curtains will be drawn and the tomb will be hidden and then on Easter Sunday they will be drawn back to signify the discovery of the tomb and the emptiness of the tomb.”
Stations of the Cross is at Liverpool Cathedral until 25 March, 2008.
last updated: 28/02/2008 at 15:54