The Reredos

This magnificent work of art, which so dramatically focuses our attention on the altar, is by Bob Brumby.

An abstract design was chosen deliberately in order not to distract the eye from the Altar ceremonies.

 Its purpose is to aid concentration, not compete for it. As to what it depicts, the artist is naturally reluctant to say, for he is not a literal artist.

As a painter, he communicates his ideas by means of the images he creates; understanding is in the eye of the beholder. However, he offers signposts to guide our eyes and understanding.

“What the painting is ‘about’ is the resurrection. It symbolises the story of our human struggle: our spiritual development, our materialistic desire, our hunger for knowledge and truth, and our ache for peace.

At the bottom of the painting, dark tones are used to express ‘the beginnings’ and form a contrast behind the altar, thus making the altar ‘sing out’.  Here you will observe weeds, seeds, fighting beasties and fermenting bubbles, in other words the struggle of evolution.

Moving upwards, you can make out the image of a calf symbolising Saint Luke and then, over on the right, Saint Matthew symbolised by a human head.

Between them are some spiky forms, signifying the crown of thorns, and to the right of that are three crosses on a hill and a tree.

Above these forms, you may detect two fish, symbolising Christianity with, below them, a net-like pattern referring to the fishers of men. 

Next, to the left, geometric patterns and structures represent the human need to build, make one’s mark, and journey into the unknown. 

Above, in the centre, an eagle, the symbol of Saint John, is depicted, and to the right, a rampant lion symbolises Saint Mark.

From the eagle's right, a pattern of architectural forms associated with church buildings emerges.  As well as illustrating the presence of ‘the church,’ this also presents our attempt to build to the glory of God.

To the left, you will observe a stripy, wavy pattern, an acknowledgement that there are many roads to salvation or to God, and none of them is easy, straight or perfect. 

The planets of the universe are shown to be ever expanding and re-forming as are, at the other end of the scale, the minutest cells of life.

We are now three-quarters of the way up the Reredos, where the forms, through the use of colour and pattern, are beginning to come together.

Still discernable are such images as four arches representing the gospels, three towers – the Trinity, a shape containing many windows – the heavenly mansions, and so on.

Towards the top, the colours and forms mingle and meld, gradually bringing all thoughts, ideas, hopes and visions into an acknowledgement of unity, of being at one with the universe and at peace.