14th April 2014, 8:57am
Art exhibition invites audiences to travel through time at rural church
Projection in the ringing chamber, William Lindley Visitors to a rural Lincolnshire church will be transported hundreds of years into the past, as part of an imaginative new art installation opening to the public next month.

St Andrew’s Church in Leasingham, near Sleaford, will become home to Shadow Play, a new immersive exhibition of contemporary works from artist William Lindley that explores the history of the church and its surrounding parish.

Shadow Play will discover St Andrew’s’ past, present and future narratives through a combination of different artworks and media, from drawing, printmaking, to projection and film. As a live installation that evolves throughout the weekend, some elements will only reveal themselves through audience encounter and changing light conditions, making each visitor’s experience unique.

It is the latest in a series of artworks to be commissioned as part of the successful Altered arts in churches programme - a pioneering partnership initiative between the University of Lincoln, artsNK and The Diocese of Lincoln. Funded by Arts Council England and Lincolnshire County Council, the programme aims to open up both rural churches and contemporary art to new audiences.

Chris Heighton, Arts Partnership Development Manager at the University of Lincoln, said: “Altered sets out to challenge visitors to view the county's historic churches in new ways through the prism of contemporary art. Each new commission explores and re-tells the many stories and legends deep within Lincolnshire’s churches to inspire communities, and Shadow Play is a fantastic example of this, particularly as William Lindley’s work will involve and respond to local audiences.”

Alongside the public exhibition, artist William Lindley will hold a series of workshops to engage local communities, including a printmaking session at the National Centre for Craft and Design in Sleaford (Wednesday 23rd April) and community workshops at St Andrew’s Church, Leasingham (Sunday 27th April). He will also work with local Year 10 students from Kesteven and Sleaford High School and pupils from Leasingham Primary School, whose work could feature in the final installation.

Speaking ahead of his exhibition, William Lindley said: “I have always found parish churches to be fascinating, and spent part of my formative years as an artist studying, drawing and even singing in them! As intersections between belief, architecture, time, landscape and community, and accretions of human and natural endeavour, they simultaneously remain known and understandable, yet full of mystery; this is often an integral part of their charm, and St Andrew’s is no exception. Shadow Play will explore these qualities, particularly focusing on its evolution, its architectural attributes and its perception and use today as a living building.”

The Shadow Play exhibition will feature The Ringing Chamber, a projected film looking through time and space, and a series of film fragments and stills around the nave and chancel that will depict pre-existing and imagined states of the church’s interior. Audiences will also see framed prints, plaster reliefs, wooden panels, pop-up models and collagraph plates throughout the church.

Ben Stoker, Church Development Officer for the Diocese of Lincoln, said: “St Andrew’s Leasingham is a beautiful, ancient church. William Lindley’s new work will ask us to look at it afresh, to explore its details, but also to reconsider its place in the landscape and community.”

Shadow Play opens to the public from 10am–9pm on Saturday 3rd May, 11am–9pm on Sunday 4th May and 10am-5pm on Monday 5th May. For more information on Altered and to find out about new curator and commission opportunities, visit www.alteredartsproject.weebly.com.