The art historian Sister Wendy Beckett recently opened the exhibition Sacred Light: Christ and a Gathering of Saints by Greg Tricker in Gloucester Cathedral.
The cathedral was a mystically apt setting for around 70 artworks (half of them new) by the Gloucestershire-based artist, who was born in 1951.
Sister Wendy said: “Tricker has an amazing innocence and passion, and extraordinary command of techniques, painting, drawing, printing, sculpting, all with the same concentrated yet gentle power.”
New stained-glass panels of the most subtle delicacy and chunky grandeur – portraying, in turn, Mary and the baby Jesus, the adult Christ, St Francis of Assisi and St Clare – are attached to great columns in the nave.
Also in the nave is an impressively intricate oak sculpture of a voyaging Joseph of Arimathea, and a bronze figure of St Bernadette of Lourdes as a far-seeing shepherdess.
Walls of the cloister too have been hung with examples of Tricker’s earthy yet graceful art, forming a kind of retrospective, encompassing his extensive series on subjects such as the Catacombs, the life of Kaspar Hauser (the holy fool of a young boy imprisoned for 12 years in a tiny, dark underground cell, near Nuremberg, in 1828), St Francis and St Bernadette, and most recently the journeys of Christ.
There are beautiful juxtapositions here between Tricker’s art and the cathedral settings. For example, an exquisitely fluid limestone relief of St Francis and the birds held aloft by a medieval carving (on a pillar in the nave) of angels’ wings. A painting in a range of deep olive and emerald greens of a healing wellspring – a radiant light pouring forth as Bernadette’s hand reaches a point on the rock at Lourdes, from whence a spring flows – is placed opposite the lavatorium in the cloisters, the spot originally fed by a stream used by the monks of the abbey for washing at mealtimes, and the most complete example of its kind in England.
The exhibition continues at Gloucester Cathedral until May 5, and is due later in the year to travel to Westminster Cathedral.