Shock and awesome
Ushaw’s permanent collection contains the kind of religious relics that are likely to produce awe including St. Theresa’s blood and fragments of the True Cross. Other items include St. Cuthbert’s Ring; a 19th century sculpture depicting the martyrdom of St Cecelia; and a copy of Mark Catesby’s ‘Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands’ (1747), the first published record of animal and plant life in North America.
For this exhibition Mark Fairnington is showing ‘Relics’, a series of paintings that have been inspired by these objects (which will also be displayed). Fairnington: “Running through the show is the concept of representation as evidence, of something seen, witnessed and recorded. The representation presents itself as a truth however believable or unbelievable the things represented is.”
The exhibition also features significant works from Fairnington’s career, including paintings from the ‘Collected Human’ and ‘Collected and Possessed’ series together with ‘Specimen 11’, his monumental photorealist depiction of a mantidae. Lucy Jenkins, Ushaw’s Heritage and Curatorial Director: “We are very excited to be showing an exhibition of Mark Fairnington’s stunning paintings in a way that make connections with the historic collection at Ushaw. Mark’s interest in the nature of collecting, in realism and the representation of human and natural history has strong resonance with Ushaw as a place of faith and learning.”Mark Fairnington: Relics, 28 March-20 June, Ushaw, Durham, DH7 9RH. More info: ushaw.org