The Methodist Modern Art Collection comprises paintings, limited edition prints and reliefs. In the early 1960s John Morel Gibbs, a Methodist layman and art collector – realising that many Non-conformists had little appreciation of the insights that contemporary artists could bring to the Christian story – decided to create a collection of prime examples of such work that could be toured around the country. This he did, with the help of Methodist minister, the Rev. Douglas Wollen.
The works they acquired became the core of the present Collection – described as “the best denominational collection of modern art outside the Vatican”.
The Collection includes leading names from the British art world of the last 100 years, such as Edward Burra, Elisabeth Frink, Eric Gill, Patrick Heron and Graham Sutherland.
The Collection is available as a touring exhibition, and has travelled widely, to town and city galleries, cathedrals, churches and schools across England, showing at four to six venues a year. When not on tour, the Collection is stored under the care of a custodian at the Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History, Oxford Brookes University.
However, excitingly 2015 will see The Methodist Modern Art Collection travel outside England for the first time in its 55 year History, as it takes up residence in The Braid Arts Centre, Ballymena, Co. Antrim from 10th May – 18th June.
The Methodist Art Collection is one of national importance and continues to expand to reflect the ideas of contemporary artists. This presentation of the collection provides a fantastic opportunity to experience very high quality work up close in familiar local spaces and local Churches in partnership with Ballymena Churches Forum & The Braid Arts Centre.
The project will also include an Arts Trail around the local churches, with a painting from the collection being exhibited in several Churches around the Ballymena Borough, turning local members of the congregation into arts ambassadors for their selected artwork.
(Image from the Braid website)