St Paul’s Cathedral

2003-2004, Artist in Residence, St Paul’s Cathedral

Sue was invited by St Paul’s Cathedral to explore, through a series of paintings, the ‘tension between tourism and the life of the Cathedral as an active church’.  These paintings took the form of a series of paintings which reflected both the Cathedral’s fame and its historical foundation.

Sue’s painting process included washing away layers of paint to expose the brightly painted floral details on the Victorian vestments, symbolically acknowledging the foundation of the church.  This was a deliberate imitation of the restoration and stone cleaning project underway for the 300th anniversary of the laying of the final stone in 1708. As centuries of dirt was removed, the natural cream colour of the walls’ Portland stone was revealed. In addition, the process of adding and removing paint produced patterns like disjointed handwriting or the fragmentary sounds echoing throughout Wren’s masterpiece.

The panels of the paintings vary slightly in measurement and fit together like a row of postcards, waiting to be purchased from the tourist shop. Sue uses a sweet confectionery palette to create a sense of ‘unreality and awe’ and which helps transform the everyday object into a personal keepsake of our favorite London icon.