‘Architectures of Belonging’ brings a selection of Claire’s previous projects and new work into dialogue with the context of creative theological study at Sarum College, where she has been a student. With the college’s ethos of nourishing the human spirit, the works are positioned at various sites throughout the building to invite thoughts on the themes of belonging, identity and belief. A small number of works from the show are detailed below,
‘Train of Thought’ (above) explores the concept of the artist’s book as a site of connection and possibility. Through its undulating form and rhythmic gestural marks, it recalls my shoreline memories of the gentle, pulsing sounds and motion of the sea whose mesmerising presence effortlessly refreshed my stagnated mind, reconnecting me with hopes and possibilities. ‘Train of Thought’ is an evolving work whose mobile book structure and unfinished scroll anticipate new interactions and directions. From its first temporary residence in a Hastings seafront gallery, it went back to the studio to be worked on again, before arriving at its location in Sarum College, Salisbury. In this historic site of theological learning, situated opposite Salisbury Cathedral, the work’s allusion to the rhythm and flow of water resonates with the spiritual symbolism of water representing new life, where, perhaps as a focus for contemplation, this work can be part of a regenerative experience.
‘Vacancy’ (see gallery below). Poet, John O’Donohue wrote, ‘The human heart is a theatre of longings’. Situated just outside the college chapel, ‘Vacancy’ reflects on those words, evoking questions around longing and belonging in the context of religious beliefs and faith traditions.
‘Torn’ (see gallery below). Placed in proximity to ‘Vacancy’ and a small metal figure of Christ on the cross, this work suggests a sense of the rupture of loss, and the pain of abandonment. Yet there is a palpable feeling of peace in this building, which gently offers the possibility of hope.
‘States of Belonging: Series 2’ (see gallery below). This is a participatory work with fellow Sarum students. It is an extension of a work begun in the Weybridge arts residency which invites people to express their experiences of belonging/not belonging through a ‘six-word story’. Spanning the length of the central college corridor, these words are presented as tactile meditations, journeying in their protective envelopes, in the hope of connecting with other people for whom these words may resonate.
‘Terra Incognita’ (see gallery below) is a ritualistic ‘sculpting’ of this unique Mexican Amate paper – a hand-made paper which traditionally functions as a votive in religious healing ceremonies dating back to the Mayan culture. It brings out interesting formal connections with the outdoor sculptures, and the traditional stonework of the interior and exterior of this 17th century building.