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Faith in the Miraculous by Matthew Raw

Faith in the Miraculous by Matthew Raw

© Courtesy the artist.

Faith in the Miraculous was commissioned by the University in 2020.

The artist Matthew Raw, participated in an open day, a seminar and a series of visits to each department to talk to students and staff about the new building and their vision of what it could achieve. His last visit was on Tuesday 3 March 2020. Two weeks later we were in lockdown. On his last visit, he met the University community development staff. During the summer term 2020 he worked with them to develop a simple exercise that could be sent to all school children, to community contacts and to university staff on furlough to keep them in touch with the university and to give them an inspiring activity. This activity informed Matthew's choice of glaze colours and combinations for the finished piece.

Inspiration for the title came from the Coventry Mystery Plays, that not only refer to the mysteries of religion but to the mysteries of makers and making. Through the skills of craft guild members, raw materials were transformed into objects of beauty and economic value which enabled the city to survive and adapt. Matthew Raw notes:

“Faith in the Miraculous is an exploration of the act of people coming together to create. What relationships, collaborations, meetings, sharing of thoughts and ideas will this building facilitate? It is the not knowing. It is the chance of it all. The title is there to celebrate this mystery, and optimistically looks to the future, despite the challenges of the present.”

The work uses the grid of the tiles to reference John Piper’s window in Coventry Cathedral. The tiles are cut from a single die that creates a shallow fin between the columns of the tiles. They make up a panel of 5 rows and 21 columns.

Using glazes Matthew has created a rich and vibrant work which can be read as an abstract painting. Like the cathedral’s dark green Chapel of Unity, this coloured block is a rich contrast to the red walls of the rest of the building and signals the public entrance to the building. It reinforces the ethos of interdisciplinarity and cross-pollination within the Faculty of Arts. Handmade, with the added element of the unknown alchemies within the glazing process, it speaks of a bold confidence in the unpredictable processes of creativity.