Let There Be Light: An exhibition of artwork inspired by the history and beauty of churches

An exhibition will be on display in Bath Abbey from 18 April-31 May celebrating the history and beauty of churches.

Titled ‘Let There Be Light’, the exhibition will feature over 20 works by local artist, Shelley Ashkowski. Each piece is inspired by the stunning architecture of these buildings as well as many intricate studies of stained-glass windows. At the heart of the exhibition will be one of the artist’s newest pieces featuring Bath Abbey’s magnificent Great East Window. Completed in 1873 and repaired after World War II, the East Window tells the story of Jesus’ life from birth to resurrection in 56 scenes.

Much of Shelley’s collection uses acrylic gouache paint, specifically chosen for its high pigmentation and matt finish to provide vibrant colours. Some are also embellished with gold leaf to add opulence to the finished work.  The details are painstakingly drawn out to the point that some are only truly visible by looking through a magnifying glass. Many of the paintings are set against a pure white background to create a sense of abstraction from the original context. The results are beautifully decorative but also convey fascinating aspects of history and religion.

Shelley Ashkowski said: “I am delighted to be exhibiting my work at the Abbey. I can think of no better place to showcase my ‘Let There Be Light’ collection. Bath Abbey has been called the Lantern of the West because it has so many glass windows – 52 in total, and it’s a truly beautiful and inspirational Living Church.”

“I have always had a love of church buildings, especially Gothic architecture, and in recent years have started to really appreciate the beauty of the stained-glass windows that often fill these buildings. Not only are they ever-changing, responding to external light sources but they also embody intriguing stories often told through symbolic imagery and colour.”

Newly commissioned exhibition merchandise will be available in the Abbey shop, including prints, cards and a selection of stationery items. The exhibition is available to view during Bath Abbey’s opening times; visitors are invited to make a donation at the door when they enter Bath Abbey. Please see www.bathabbey.org for opening hours.