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Cathedra 900: Walking in the Rain / 30 August 2012

photo of a man standing looking into a camera, inside Exeter cathedral

Mark Ware on location in Exeter Cathedral. Photo by Sara Ware

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Mark Ware’s exhibition of the Cathedra 900 3D artwork banners at Exeter Cathedral has been extended until 30th September 2012.

I don’t like to refer to myself as a ‘disabled artist’. ‘Disabled’ suggests to me something that has been rendered safe or useless. But I can’t deny what a wonderfully liberating effect disability has had on my way of thinking and upon my art.

Before my stroke in 1996 I used to rush from A to B and not notice the gap that divides those letters. Most thoughts were in the past or in the future and, in retrospect, not much lay in between.

If it rained, I would run from one building to another or, from a car to my destination, in order to avoid getting wet. To avoid ‘bad weather’.

Now, due to my stroke. I can’t rush or run. When it rains, my pace remains the same.  And instead of attempting to avoid the rain, I choose to embrace and accept it.

I’m lucky. Because I no longer experience bad weather.

During my time in Exeter Cathedral working on photographic studies for the Cathedra 900 project, parts of the UK have had their wettest weather since records began. And yet, in the Cathedral the light has been beautiful no matter how dark the skies have been outside. My visual impairment varies from hour to hour, but even when it’s at its worst I can appreciate the Cathedral’s light as it alters continually throughout the day.

This is something I hadn’t fully anticipated at the beginning of the Cathedra 900 journey.  But it has had a profound effect upon the work I’ve produced. I began by thinking about outcomes, the future, and potentially profound thoughts. But as I shot dozens of images, I began to realise that what I was seeking was in front of me, in the here and now.  Light, colour, movement, sound, smell and touch.

In most gallery spaces the walls are white and the light is controlled and visitors are guided regarding where to stand to view work. You know what to expect before you go to them. In the Cathedral it’s all very different. 

The changes in light and sound in particular dramatically alter the experience of viewing the 3D banners. Since the exhibition began, I’ve visited the Cathedral several times and on each occasion the exhibition has looked different.

The show has now been extended until the end of September and it’ll be interesting to discover how the slight change of season will further affect the artwork.

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