Catholic artist Mike Quirke exhibits in Bloomsbury and Mayfair

Bl Carlo Acutis

Dynamic Catholic artist Mike Quirke had two simultaneous exhibitions in London showcasing a wide range of his inspiring work.

His shared exhibition with works by three other artists at the Lumen Centre, Bloomsbury, is enhanced by the wonderful light in this unique space which Mike says is “pretty impressive”. The URC building was renovated by architects Theis and Kahn with features by Alison Wilding and Rona Smith as a multi-faith place of worship. A skylight is in the center of the place and an impressive stained glass window. An art gallery is incorporated into this vibrant setting of religious art.

His most recent painting is Tobit and Sarah praying, depicting them at their nuptials in a contemporary style. Asmodeus, “the worst of demons” is seen threatening behind Tobie. There’s also a delightful mixed media depiction of Tobias and the angel after Verrochio with the youngsters linking arms to Archangel Raphael.

Other larger scale paintings depict the Crucifixion and the Holy Family fleeing to Egypt. The icon representations of Christ Pantocrator and the Virgin of Tenderness are familiar themes to which he returns while exploring different mediums and techniques.

Quirke originally planned Journey to the desert: an image of Lent to portray Christ with the devil by his side, but changed tack and turned him into Everyman – one of us, who are all sinners. It is a mesmerizing canvas in pastels with oxidized elements. Jesus walks beside us, accompanying us through the journey from the desert to the light. The figure of Jesus and his companion look straight ahead. Quirke says the divine face is inspired by Duccio’s face of Christ. Her hair is swept by a purple wind, perhaps indicating the power of the Spirit enveloping Jesus as well as the tug of war between good and evil that we all face as we are shaken by the tumult of life and of death. Jesus takes it all on himself. The other figure is more contemporary in style – representative of everyone. The force of the wind envelops everything as the two figures tighten their capes around them. The two have their hands resting on their hearts as they travel side by side. A restlessness seems to emanate, present in the artist on her own journey to reproduce themes in new ways to resonate with us today. There are also prints available at a more modest price of this subject and others.

Forty of his photos hang on the walls and include his impressive iconic Dinner at Emmaus with a male and female disciple on either side of the risen Christ. Prints are also available.

A mixed media print of Saints Cyril and Methodius obvious. These Greek brothers known as the Apostles of the Slavs are very present in this period of war in Ukraine and uncertainty in the surrounding countries which have been culturally influenced by them.

Eighteen figures of saints and figures of modern inspiration such as Bonhoeffer and CS Lewis are represented in affordable prints ranging from £30 to £75. Later saints like Teresa of Calcutta in black and white monotype and Joséphine Bakhita in color and black and white alongside more classic figures such as St Scholastica beautiful image with its dove attribute.

A collection of smaller works can be seen in lockers. All his photos are for sale.

There are also 100 postcards representative of his production.

There is still time to see this magnificent exhibition.

Another recent shared exhibition in Mayfair showed some of his poverty and misfortune themed photos. 54, the gallery is a small space but unlike a previous exhibition, it did not present its works optimally, completely omitting the previously used window space – a perfect space for its smaller frames. I was particularly fascinated by a black-and-white self-portrait of Quirke sitting in a cafe in the 1970s while unemployed, titled Social Security. All of this can be seen on his website. Several other prints in his mixed media style or monochrome black and white prints were inspired by images by Murillo, Dorei, Van Gogh and Bosch.

Quirke says: “I find I want to align myself with the artists of the past. They noticed the suffering of the poor, often reflected in their own lives”, adding that in the face of Covid there was confusion and uncertainty that resonated with these themes of past and present misfortune.

The Lumens exhibition is at 88, Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9RS until 2 April.

Check out Mike Quirke’s website, social media and online stores here:

Website: https://mikequirke.com/

in line: www.boutiquehttps://mike-quirke.sumup.link

Etsy Shop: https://mikequirke.etsy.com

Twitter @mikeq00L

Instagram @mikeq00L

Key words: Mike Quirke, artist, Amanda C Dickie, Carlo Acutis

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Julia P. Cluff