Reflecting on Reflection

The love of God unutterable and perfect flows into a pure soul the way that light rushes into a transparent object,

The more love that it finds, the more it gives itself; so that, as we grow clear and open the more complete the joy of loving is.

And the more souls who resonate together, the greater the intensity of their love, for mirror like each soul reflects the other.

Dante The Divine Comedy

Reflection is a breathtaking collection of works by nine international glass artists who have been inspired to create site-specific installations in response to the Cathedral

From the Salisbury Cathedral brochure 

The first time I saw this exhibition I was to be honest underwhelmed. This was to some extent due to the photographs in the brochure and on the website, which rather in the manner of estate agents’ pictures, made some of the installations look quite other than how they appeared to the naked eye. Thursday however I had a second go, this time with a guided walk. The guide was not, as I had expected, a glass expert but one of the regular Cathedral guides armed with a catalogue and other additional information. But you know what? It made a huge difference. Two reason for this. Firstly I actually had to stop and look at all the installations properly not just glance at them and decide they didn’t really do much for me. Secondly the comments and observations of others in the group greatly enhanced the experience, which now became one of community rather than only individual reflection.

A third difference was that I had taken my DSLR camera so was looking with a photographer’s eye – something that I don’t always do if I’m not actually holding the camera.

I do find that holding the camera reminds and enables me to focus on the detail and therefore to experience things differently.

These photos are of a piece called ‘Another New Day’ by Sabrina Cant which changes colour in an almost mysterious way as it caught the light differently.

The most dramatic and my favourite of the installations is ‘Incandescent’ by Amy Cushing which hangs over the font.

Taking good pictures in this environment is not easy. The light is challenging; the glass in the case of ‘Incandescent’ is constantly moving and there are a number of people around who seem to pop up in the picture just as I have succeeded in focusing. All this meant that several of the pictures I took were not in sharp focus and in some cases not focused at all (must try to overcome my aversion to using a tripod). These were however, some of the ones I liked best, so I have included them here. The middle one of the three smaller pictures above is of particular interest as it shows the glass installation against the stained glass window its colours were choosen to reflect and complement.

The final image I am going to share with you is ‘Devotion’ by Louis Thompson. It shows a series of hand-blown glass bottles  set out on a votive candle stand representing the figures of saints and monarchs on the Cathedral’s west front. The first time I saw this I wasn’t too keen but I liked it much more this time, perhaps because I spent more time looking at the individual bottles and the wonderful shapes they contained.

There is much more to this exhibition than I am sharing here so if you live anywhere near do go and visit the cathedral or if not check out the info on their website.

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