Gillian Kingston introduces the Methodist Art Collection
‘I know your interest in art and the Methodist Art collection is a really good collection of modern Christian art.’ Beguiling words from the Rev Dr Peter Mercer asking about the possibility of the Methodist Church Collection of Modern Christian Art coming to Dublin.
So how did this collection come into being? Indeed, why might a Church own a collection of modern art? Some 50 years ago, John Morel Gibbs, a British Methodist layman and art collector, noted that many people had little appreciation of the insights that contemporary artists might bring to the Christian story. He decided to create a collection of modern Christian art, helped by the Rev Douglas Wollen, a Methodist minister.
Thus was born the present collection, which currently comprises 54 paintings, prints, drawings, relief and mosaic works. Leading figures from the British art world of the last 100 years are represented, including Graham Sutherland, as are international names such as Georges Rouault and Roy de Maistre. Works from artists in the World Church, including Jyoti Sahi from India, Sadao Watanabe from Japan and John Muafangejo from Namibia have been added. More recently, works by artists such as Maggi Hambling have been acquired. Over the years, works have been commissioned for the collection.
The full story can be read in the Guide to the Methodist Art Collection. (For sale during the exhibition.)
The Rev Gareth Powell, Secretary of the Methodist Church in Britain, has observed that ‘since the catacombs of Rome the gospel has been articulated as much in image as in word’. This exhibition provides a unique opportunity to experience something of the power of art to proclaim the message of salvation. It should be regarded as a major resource for proclamation, mission and evangelism.
(First published in the Methodist Newsletter, October 2018)