David Simpson’s three monochrome canvases, painted using a titanium-and-crystal, acrylic-based paint - for which the American artist is famous and which is perfect for reflecting light - hang in the apse. Under the flood lamps on the ceiling and below the big windows, the canvases’ gold, red and azure come alive in a blaze of light. The choice of colours is based on the traditional iconography used to represent the Trinity: gold for God (as in the warm golden tones used for the background in byzantine mosaics and medieval icons, symbolic of the divine presence); red for the Son (the colour of blood and symbol of the regality of Christ); azure for the Spirit (the colour of the sky, of the wind, of a breath).
In the Christian tradition the presbytery or sanctuary normally faces East and represents the eskatos
, the New Jerusalem coming down from above, from the kingdom of light.
The paintings are the epitomes of mirrors: ample, reflecting surfaces able to receive light and radiate it and diffuse it to the surrounding space. Although monochrome, each canvas appears to be ever-changing and never the same. Day light varies minute after minute, and new reflections are constantly and unexpectedly created. The surface continuously mutates in a representation of the infinite contained within the finite. The canvas becomes pure light vibration and our glance is always ready for ‘more’ and ‘further’.
The Apocalypse is seen as the revelation of a divine, elusive light, which wraps us with its Trinitarian colours, so that we are transformed and become that light that is enclosing us, until we are ready to pass it on as a gift.
This artwork seems to converse with Jannis Kounellis’ installation in the crypt; two contemporary artists and two ways of expressing the mystery of the ‘beyond’ within the history of mankind: as ‘Liberation’ in Kounellis and as ‘Revelation’ of the light in Simpson.