Iconic paintings by Chris Woods find new home
In an elaborate religious ceremony 18 years ago, contemporary Stations of the Cross paintings by artist Chris Woods were consecrated at St. David of Wales Anglican church.
Woods, well known for his painting McDonald’s Nation, was commissioned to do the works by a parishioner who has since moved and prefers to remain anonymous. The Diane Farris Gallery exhibited the series before they were installed at the East Vancouver church at 2475 Franklin St. in 1996.
St. David of Wales parish closed in February due to lack of membership, and the paintings are being relocated.
“It was a big deal — oh yeah. [The paintings’] significance is the way they incorporate the images of contemporary human beings in a series of paintings that depict, in a contemporary way, biblical events,” he said. “Every church of pretty well every Christendom denomination, if they have images of some kind, have Stations of the Cross.
And this was a continuing tradition of creating a set of Stations of the Cross, but done by a young emerging artist of obviously enormous talent.”
Woods, now represented by Gallery Jones, said the patron had viewed his work at the Diane Farris Gallery, which represented him in the 1990s and early 2000s. Though hesitant to do the commission, Woods agreed when the patron suggested they be done in a contemporary setting.
“It was a really great experience,” he said. “The reason I took the commission in the first place was because Christian themes were sort of the bread and butter for artists for a 1,000 years essentially before the camera was invented…. So if you were a young artist, you would work with religious themes — that’s where the work was.”
He added: “I don’t feel like it was 20 years ago. The works feel just as fresh as the day I painted them and time just disappears when you stand in front of them. It takes you way back to the old days. I might now choose to do them slightly differently I think. But at the time I worked to the edge of my powers, so they still hold up pretty well — certainly to my eyes.”