Maggi Hambling creates first commission for a church in East Sussex resurrection sculpture

By Culture24 Reporter | 26 March 2013

Hanging high over an altar in a symbolisation of the resurrection, acclaimed painter, sculptor, draughtsman and printmaker Maggi Hambling's first sculptural work for a church will be dedicated on Easter Sunday.

The artist says The Resurrection Spirit, which will dangle above the nave of St Dunstan’s in Mayfield, is “caught in a moment of flight” in a metaphor for “the hope, meaning and essence of the resurrection.”

The National Gallery’s first Artist in Residence, in 1980, Hambling has made notable public sculptures opposite Charing Cross Station and in Brixton.

She wants her latest work to “encourage the eye to rise from the altar to the sky”, and hopes it will “unify the spiritual life” of the 12th century building’s interior and surroundings.

A photo of a curved glass sculpture on a church roof interior
© Courtesy St Dunstan's
Father Nigel Prior, who commissioned the sculpture through the 2010 bequest of Walter Podger, a sacristan of the church, says Hambling has “succeeded in conjuring a new visual metaphor for Christ”, appealing to “believers and unbelievers alike.”

It will be a focal point for parish services every Sunday.

“So many artists have shied away from this subject,” says Nathaniel Hepburn, who helped Prior plan the process in his role as the curator of the nearby Mascalls Gallery.

“Art history doesn't give us many clues about how to make a physical manifestation of Christ's resurrection.

“It takes a brave artist to tackle this subject and we found that artist in Maggi Hambling."
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