Beasts and More Beasts: An exhibition of etchings and drawings by Jo Davis Trench
Norwich Cathedral Hostry Exhibition Space, NR1 4DH
1 - 24 September 2017, Free entry
9.30a.m. - 4.30 p.m. Mon – Sat, 10.a.m. - 3.p.m Sundays
An exhibition of etchings and drawings by Jo Davis Trench in Norwich Cathedral Hostry will be on from 1st September until 24th September 2017.
The work in this exhibition engages in a visual dialogue with the religious and secular imagery of medieval church carvings. They reflect an age of faith where visual metaphors were frequently used to convey God’s message, where the terrors awaiting the guilty in Hell were vividly evoked.
The churches’ carvings that inspired these prints can be found throughout East Anglia. To walk into one of these churches is to enter another world, where the pew-‐end carvings become animated by the fables, stories and scenes that inspired them. Next to the fabulous beasts that are part of this teeming yet ordered world, are carved, intensely observed depictions of nature, as exemplified by Norwich Cathedral’s owl with a mouse in its beak.
Jo Davis Trench’s prints and drawings explore the expressive powers of these dogs, demons, saints and lions and their dual natures, which can be found in the Bible stories and medieval bestiaries. To take one example, the medieval bestiaries parallel the idea of the lion’s dual nature and how he was seen to typify Christ:
Leo the Lion, mightiest of Beasts will stand up to anybody […] The nature of their brows and tail-tufts is an index to their disposition. Their courage is seated in their hearts while their constancy is in their heads. They fear the creaking of wheels, but are frightened by fires even more so. (12th century Latin Bestiary, translated by T.H. White)
According to the medieval writers, one of Leo’s symbolic characteristics was that he could erase his tracks with his tail when pursued, thus typifying Christ who concealed his divinity when he entered the Virgin’s womb.
Jo Davis Trench has spent several years travelling across East Anglia, sketchbook in hand, in search of the dogs, demons, horses, griffins, lions, men and woman who populate the often-‐ overlooked ends of church pews and arm rests. After drawing them in situ, Jo Davis Trench reworked her sketches into steel etchings in a printing studio in East London.
Open Day with the Artist
Jo Davis Trench will be welcoming and speaking with visitors to the exhibition on Saturday 9th September from 9.30 a.m. -‐ 4.30 p.m.
An alumna of the Royal College of Art, Wimbledon Art School, Camberwell Art School and the Royal Drawing School, Jo Davis Trench is the author of several books on knitted textiles and over two decades was a visiting lecturer at London and regional art schools. As well as her own studio practice, Jo Davis Trench continues to teach and is currently mentoring prisoners for the Koestler Trust.