11 Feb – 7th March

Keble College Chapel, Oxford

A cross is a meeting of two timbers or two metal joists at 90 degrees to each other and connected with some fastening – nails, nuts or bolts.

At the historical origins of the form of the cross there is a beam and column lashed together to produce a joint. The cross on which Jesus Christ was nailed was of the kind known as immissa, which means that the vertical trunk extended a certain height above the transverse beam. The victim of a crucifixion in Jesus’ time would have carried the crossbar, the crossbar then being attached to the post, and then fixed in place by making holes through it or binding it with a cord. The reason for the shape of the cross is that it was built to support the weight of a human figure and to elevate the figure, making the person suffer visibly in an abominable way.

The simple engineering concept at work in the historical Cross is still relevant to those designing and building structures in our modern built environment. Crosses are needed to provide structural integrity. By this I mean a pin joint or a fixed joint: in engineering applications huge forces can be applied through these cross structures. On a spiritual level, the Crucifixion likewise brought together huge forces that changed the world, sin and our understanding of God. Jesus on the cross is at the centre of where these forces meet: human and divine, life and death, sin and salvation.

What I’m attempting to do in this exhibition is to make visible a form.The simple, elemental image of a cross pattern is something we see hundreds of times a day: on railings, car doors, “crossed branches” of trees. I’m trying to access this as a Christian act, as a way of seeing God everywhere. God’s willingness to suffer for us is visible in the small things, the patterns, in every image. Seeing is believing, but once you start looking for the cross image, looking is believing.

Visitors to this exhibition will be able to meditate on fragments of R.S. Thomas’ poetry alongside the images. Known as “poet of the cross”, his work contains material for reflecting on the literal and metaphorical time and place of the Crucifixion, re-infusing my examination of form and structure with the significance of the Crucifixion story. If you would like to participate in this project, I encourage you to look again for the form of the cross (cruciform) in your life, and as a consequence to embark on an exploration of your own faith manifesting in the world. Tweet pictures using the hashtag #keblecross


Instagram found photos

Using my own collected images and inviting others to provide images i collected a set of found crosses. Slideshow is shown below.

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