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Robert Davies Exhibition - Lumen

Monday 6th January - Monday 3rd February

All day

Artist Robert Davies is to present three films in the medieval surroundings of Wells Cathedral in Somerset in early 2020. In an unprecedented collaboration between the artist and the Dean and Chapter of the cathedral, the exhibition will open on the feast of the Epiphany, 6th January, and will close on Candlemas, 2nd February 2020. Wells Cathedral has been a place of worship, sanctuary and spiritual contemplation for close on 1000 years, Davies’ three films are wholly in keeping with this tradition, addressing as they do themes of birth and mortality, place and memory. Their situation within the Cathedral will enhance their power and at the same time and in differing ways, will be conducive to meditation and self-reflection.  

The Very Reverend Dr John Davies, the Dean of Wells, has said he is ‘delighted to host contemporary art of this type and quality. It will give the community and our visitors an opportunity to experience the cathedral in a new light and thus strengthen and diversify their relationship to the building.’  

Still.Life (2019; 6 mins) will be shown in the Corpus Christi Chapel. This film relates to Dutch still life painting of the 17th century. Sometimes known as Vanitas, still life articulated a lament at the transience of things, ‘an arrangement in the process of disintegration, something that has fallen prey to duration’1 We are never looking at one thing, we are always looking at the relationship between things and ourselves. 

Breathe (2018; 5 mins) will be shown in the Chapter House. This is a film about ideas and how they appear, some suddenly almost out of thin air, others gradually, over time. Ideas create change and change upsets our rhythm, our equilibrium. We have to adapt. But change also brings opportunities. Ideas need an open mind; to flourish they need to breathe. 

Of time and the railway (2015; I hr 58 mins) will be shown on the sea of steps leading to the Chapter House, so beautifully photographed by Frederick Evans in 1903. This film is about the passage of time, the seasons and the landscape. Filmed over 18 months and almost 90 journeys on the railway line between Birmingham and Aberystwyth it conjures the landscape between the heart of England and the west coast of Wales, from the industrial West Midlands, through the shires and marches, on to the Cambrian mountains and the sea at Aberystwyth. 

Robert Davies is “more accustomed to the conventional white gallery and so I am particularly excited to engage with a building of such resonance and longevity, a place of innate gravitas that engenders reflection and memory.” 

About Robert Davies

Robert Davies has exhibited widely throughout the UK, Europe and the Americas and recently won the People’s Prize at the National Eisteddfod of Wales. He lives and works in west Wales. Giles Baker-Smith has worked in the art world for 35 years and is the director of GBS Fine Art, an independent art dealership based in Somerset.  

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