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#AceNewsRoom With ‘Kindness & Wisdom’ Mar.29, 2022 @acenewsservices
#AceNewsDesk – Dynamic Catholic artist Mike Quirke has opened two concurrent London exhibitions profiling a wide range of his inspiring work ICN News
- Amanda C Dickie
- Mar 28th, 2022 (Updated Mar 29th, 2022)
Journey in the Wilderness: A Lenten Image by Mike Quirke
His shared exhibition with works from three other artists at Lumen Centre, Bloomsbury, is enhanced by the wonderful light at this unique space which Mike remarks is “quite impressive”.
The URC building was renovated by Theis and Kahn architects with features by Alison Wilding and Rona Smith as a multi faith place of worship. A shaft of light is central to the venue and an impressive stained glass window. An art gallery is incorporated into this vibrant backdrop for religious art .
His most recent painting is Tobit and Sarah Praying, portraying them at their nuptials in a contemporary style. Asmodeus, “that worst of demons” is seen lurking forbiddingly behind Tobit. There is also a delightful mixed media representation of Tobias and the Angel after Verrochio with the youth linking arms with the Archangel Raphael.
Forty of his pictures are hanging on the walls and include his impressive iconic Supper at Emmaus with a male and female disciple either side of the resurrected Christ. Prints are available of this too.
Quirke originally intended Journey in the Wilderness: A Lenten Image to portray Christ with the Devil beside him but changed tack and turned him into Everyman – one of us, who are all sinners. It is a haunting canvas in pastels with oxydised elements. Jesus walks besides us, accompanying us through the desert journey to light . Both the figure of Jesus and his companion look straight ahead . Quirke says the Divine Face is inspired by Duccio’s face of Christ. His hair is windswept from a violet wind, maybe indicating the power of the Spirit enfolding Jesus as well as the tussle between good and evil that we are all faced with as we are tossed and turned by the tumult of life and death. Jesus takes all this on himself. The other figure is more contemporary in style – representative of everyone. The force of the wind envelops all as both figures clutch their cloaks about them. Both have their hands resting on their hearts as they journey forth side by side .A restlessness seems to emanate, present in the artist in his own journey to replicate themes in new ways to resonate with us today. There are also prints available at a more modest price of this and other subjects.
A mixed media print of Saints Cyril and Methodius catches the eye. These Greek brothers known as Apostles to the Slavs are very much to the fore at this time of war in Ukraine and uncertainty in the surrounding countries that were culturally influenced by them.
Eighteen figures of saints and modern inspirational figures such as Bonhoeffer and CS Lewis are represented in affordable prints ranging from £30 -75. Newer saints such as Teresa of Calcutta in black and white monoprint and Josephine Bakhita in colour and black and white are alongside more traditional figures such as St Scholastica, a beautiful image with her attribute of a dove.
Other larger scale paintings depict the Crucifixion and The Holy Family Fleeing into Egypt. Icon representations of Christ Pantocrator and the Virgin of Tenderness are familiar themes he returns to whilst exploring different mediums and techniques.
A collection of smaller works can be seen in racks. All of his pictures are for sale.
There are also 100 postcards representative of his output.
There is still time to see this stunning exhibition.
Another recent shared exhibition in Mayfair showed a select few of his pictures on the theme of poverty and misfortune. 54, the Gallery is a small space but unlike an earlier exhibition did not display his works to best advantage, completely omitting the window space previously utilised- a perfect space for his smaller frames. I was particularly taken with a black and white self portrait of Quirke sitting in a cafe in the 1970’s when he was on the dole, entitled Social Security. These can all be seen on his website. Several other prints in his mixed media style or black and white mono prints were inspired by pictures of Murillo, Dorei, Van Gogh and Bosch.
Quirke says: “I find I want to align myself with artists of the past. They noticed suffering of the poor, often echoed in their own lives,” adding that in the face of Covid there was confusion and uncertainty that resonated with these themes of misfortune past and present.
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