Philippa Beale
Born 1946
Lives and works in France.

Le Chemin de Croix, (Stations of the Cross) was very influenced by Romanesque sculpture and the polychrome colour that survived the religious wars and is still found painted decorating some Romanesque Churches in France. The sculptures of the Chemin de Croix at the Cathedral Saint Pierre in Poitiers were very influential, as was the story of Jesus, a young man who was convicted by lies of jealous prelates and Beale realised that his misery was today prescient for many brave individuals who have high standards, want to live with the truth.

The Stations of the Cross is a series of fourteen images which are headed with Roman Numerals in gold leaf. Each image represents part of a day of tragedy resulting in the crucifixion and finally resurrection of Jesus. He is falsely accused, persecuted and forced to carry his instrument of torture to his execution. Each image highlights the banality of evil as described in 1963 by Hannah Arendt in ‘The Final Solution’, some however show the bravery of a few who despite their own fear help the victim, and throughout his mother is with him. The only type of relationship that did not break down at Hiroshima or Nagasaki was that unselfish love a mother can have for her child. It is understood that the levels of signification here are world-wide and transcend creed and race.

The installation was complicated to produce starting with clay portrait models, cast in plaster onto which photographs of coloured drawings of the Chemin de Croix from the Cathedral Saint Pierre in Poitiers were projected. That Cathedral was inaugurated by Henry II, the first Plantagenet King of England and his bride Eleanor of Aquitaine, who he later imprisoned for ten years in the Castle at Winchester because she backed their sons against him in a fight for their enormous kingdom; so this fact added even more meaning to the artist born in Winchester and now living in Aquitaine. Finally each image was printed onto canvas and painted over with acrylic to withstand the damp 11th century Romanesque church. There are five layers of creating and destruction to reach a level of sophistication of the digitally printed work.

PHILIPPA BEALE was born in Winchester and studied art at Winchester School of Art, Goldsmiths College and the University of Reading. She was the first artist in residence at Southampton City Art Gallery.