Over September and October 2017, Morlan hosted and exhibition by Nigel Robert Pugh based on the Stations of the Cross, which is a series of images representing certain scenes on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion.
The Stations of the Cross have a long spiritual tradition, originating in pilgrimages to Jerusalem and a desire to reproduce Via Dolorosa (Way of Suffering), a street within the Old City of Jerusalem, believed to be the path that Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion. The Stations allow those who cannot walk the path of Christ’s passion in person, to follow the depictions of Christ’s journey of suffering through art thus making a spiritual rather than a physical pilgrimage.
They are usually a series of fourteen images arranged in order along a path, and people move from image to image – either in groups or as individuals – stopping at each station to reflect or pray. It has become a popular devotion – most commonly during Lent and especially on Good Friday – within many Western Christian denominations, including Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist and Western Orthodox churches.
The style, form, and placement of the stations vary widely, and Nigel Pugh has taken inspiration from different Stations to create the fourteen striking images that form this exhibition. The journey starts in the Garden of Gethsemane and ends with the entombment of Christ.
In a statement the artist said: “In recent years my deepening Christian faith has led me to explore the relationship between faith and art, and has led to an exploration of religious iconography and the place of the spiritual in contemporary art practice.”
He added: “Religious painting seems to be deeply unfashionable in our post-modern, post-Christian world, but the message of bravery, hope and love in the Passion and the Crucifixion seem to me to have never been more relevant.”
Nigel Robert Pugh graduated from Cardiff College of Art in 1978 and worked as an Industrial and Architectural Designer and Illustrator until the early 1990s when he moved to west Wales to become a full-time painter.
He has taken part in many solo and group shows (with the Royal Watercolour Society of Wales, Teifi Artists Group and Wild Goose Arts Group of which he is a founder member), and has work in private collections worldwide.
He is a versatile artist and his art practice includes oil paintings, watercolours, monoprints and drawings, illustrative and portrait commissions, sculpture, black and white landscape photographs and aerial photography.
As well as the Stations of the Cross series he has also completed a series of drawings based on the Turin Shroud, and is currently working on a series of watercolours based on the ninth Station of the Cross – Women of Jerusalem.
As a faith and culture Morlan is always looking for different ways to raise awareness and to promote discussions on various matters relating to faith, human rights, peace, etc. This exhibition fitted perfectly into the Morlan programme therefore. It is an exhibition that can be experienced from an artistic, spiritual or religious perspective – or a combination of all three.
Further information about the artist can be found on his website: nrpugh.co.uk