Scenes From The Lives Of The Saints

A small collection of work by Chris Kenny in the window of The Rowley Gallery

Paintings in gouache and ink produced in Provence over the last five summers, each initiated by the biography of a saint, extending the Instagram @twigsaints project.

Constructions employing found materials – cut hardback book covers and twigs – that act as dynamic three-dimensional drawings provoking a range of associations without adhering to any explicit subject.

Chris Kenny has work in many collections including the British Museum, the V&A and the Museum of London. He is currently exhibiting at Mucem in Marseille.   Continue reading “Scenes From The Lives Of The Saints”

Frames of reference

A Handful Of Twigs

St James the Less

I photographed these Twig Saints quickly, against the trellis on the south-facing wall outside my workshop, as a farewell gesture, just as we were returning them to Chris Kenny for a forthcoming exhibition at the After Nyne Gallery in September. They are all framed by the artist, often in adapted and reformed cigar boxes, cobbled together with the wooden backs of old picture frames sourced from The Rowley Gallery. The little Twig Saints are delicately fixed inside and their weird and wonderful stories are told in captions displayed on the reverse of their box-frames. Continue reading “A Handful Of Twigs”

Frames of reference

St Valentine

Valentine was an amateur priest; he was very unpopular with the Roman authorities because he kept conducting illegal Christian weddings. He attempted to convert the emperor, Claudius Gothicus, known as Claudius the Cruel. The emperor, who had previously liked him, was livid and sentenced Valentine to death. While Valentine was in prison awaiting execution, he discussed Jesus with the jailer. The jailer said, “If Jesus is so great then use his magic to restore my beautiful daughter’s sight”. Valentine managed it – the jailer was instantly converted and went round smashing pagan idols. Valentine would never see the girl again but left her a little love note signed “Your Valentine”.

Valentine was beaten, stoned and beheaded on the Via Flamina on February 14th, 269. His flower-crowned skull is kept in the Basilica Santa Maria in Rome. Other bits of his bones are distributed around the world. The pagan festival of love, Lupercalia, used to fall at this time of year but was replaced by Valentine’s Day. It is the day that birds find their mates, as described by Chaucer in his poem ‘Parlement of Foules’.

Chris Kenny / The Rowley Gallery

Frames of reference

I Want To Be In That Number

The window of the Rowley Gallery has been blessed by the sudden arrival of a forest of twig saints. They appear to be involved in a game of invisible football, or perhaps they’re dancing in a silent disco, or maybe more likely they’re just writhing to the rhythm of life. Continue reading “I Want To Be In That Number”

Frames of reference