Nov 22

Susan Morris, Silence (on Prepared Loom), 2022, panel 3.

Image by Stephen White & Co

Recently launched at St John’s College Oxford - new site-specific art commission for the new Library and Study Centre, 'Silence (on prepared Loom) by Susan Morris

St John’s College has commissioned two tapestry artworks for its new Library and Study Centre designed by Wright & Wright Architects: Susan Morris’s series of six woven tapestries ‘Silence (on Prepared Loom)’ for the Library & Study Centre,

together with Mary Lum’s tapestry ‘St John’s Primer’ located outside the Laudian Library - see news entry below.

The new Library and Study Centre has provided the opportunity for artists to create site-specific works inspired by the context of the Library and its architectural design.

This approach to artist commissioning has been led by the vision of the College’s presidents, bursars and art panel members, working with Modus Operandi, and supported by its architects, who have generously afforded opportunities for other creative minds.


Susan Morris says of her tapestry series:

‘These tapestries were woven directly from a 50-minute sound recording made in the garden on the other side of Sprott’s Wall, a boundary shared between the garden and the library. Through the application of a specially written script, the recorded sound was configured to the 'score' for John Cage's 1952 Lecture on Nothing, a spoken word performance that has silence at its core. The garden itself is visible through the single window in the second bay of the reading room, and can be regarded as part of the overall piece.’



Nov 22

Mary Lum, St John's Primer, 2022 (detail)

Recently launched at St John’s College Oxford, new site-specific art commission for the new Library and Study Centre, ' St John's Primer' by Mary Lum

Mary Lum explains the inspiration for 'St John’s Primer' :

‘An introduction to the St. John’s library collection of rare books and manuscripts, comprising fragments of texts and symbols from many languages, fields of study, cultures and time periods.

The tapestry speaks to the importance of the written word, how texts are put together, how they endure over time, and how meaning can be lost, transformed, or expanded.  It invites viewers to read in individual ways that prioritize how language looks, as well as what it says.’

The commissions form an important addition to the collection of notable contemporary artworks for the College, which include Kirsty Brook’s ‘Otranto Passage Artwork’ and Susanna Heron’s ‘Stone Drawing’ both of which were commissioned as part of the first phase of the New Library. The contemporary art collection includes earlier commissions by Wendy Ramshaw, Alexander Beleschenko, Langlands & Bell and Ian Monroe, all curated by Modus Operandi.    




Nov 22

Alexander Beleshchenko glass art commission (detail)



ICAEW commissioned Alexander Beleschenko to design, create and install an integrated permanent artwork in glass for the Institute’s Members’ Room, as part of the refurbishments of their building, Chartered Accountants’ Hall, in the City of London, by Donald Insall Associates.

The brief was to contribute to the distinctive architectural environment, of the Chartered Accounts’ Hall building and that would engage its members’ and visitors’ attention and imagination and provide a memorable new element within the building.

Realised in a combination of traditional glass working techniques, the artwork is constructed using contemporary materials and processes and was fabricated by the artist in his studio in Swansea. The commission complements the complex interior of the Members Room, rich in architectural features, strong tones and colours.

The work was developed in collaboration with the architects  Donald Insall Associates who completed the building refurbishment and curated by Modus Operandi Art Consultants.


“The artwork is a combination of realism and abstraction. The realism aspect is of the three repeating motifs - depictions of the original window fenestration that existed in the same wall as the artwork before the extension was built. Interwoven and layered with these images are details taken from the decorative aspects of the building. The grid geometry is generated out of a flooring pattern in one of the corridors. The ribbons and allied artefacts are inspired by some of the decoration seen in the stained glass sited in the main hall”.

Alexander Beleschenko, 2022


See Architects Journal feature here:

Architects Journal




May 21

Temporary Retention Site for Atmospheric Particles 

Image credit: Rachael Champion


Rachael Champion’s Temporary Retention Site for Atmospheric Particles was a recent commission for Berkeley Square’s recently pedestrianised area to the north-west of the Square and was on site for six months from October 2020 to April 2021. It has now been relocated to Montgomery Square, Canary Wharf, E14 until 2023.


The sculpture was inspired by the remarkable London Plane trees of Berkeley Square. Layered bark-shaped panels with printed imagery surrounded a series of brightly coloured metal drums, each containing an array of bioremediating plant life known for its ability to reduce air pollution in urban environments. The metal drum containers referred to the petrochemical industry, a conceptual link to London’s poor air quality. In the sculpture they were repurposed as vessels to support biodiversity and a cleaner environment. 


The artist Rachael Champion comments:

“Temporary Retention Site for Atmospheric Particles addresses the issue of air pollution within our cities. Located adjacent to Berkeley Square where some of the oldest and most majestic examples of the London Plane tree can be found, this artwork looks to other species for inspiration and collaboration to improve the quality of the air we breathe.”


The installation was curated by Modus Operandi and commissioned by Grosvenor Britain & Ireland.



Apr 21

Panel session ‘The Future of Public Art’


Panel session ‘The Future of Public Art’ organised by the Royal Society of Sculptors April 2021


Panel members: Jon Sharples (Chair), Vivien Lovell, Sinta Tantra, Bianca Bova, Clare Burnett (President, RSS)


The Future of Public Art panel session



Apr 21

Rana Begum, Surbiton Health Centre, 2013

© Rana Begum


Artlyst interview with Vivien Lovell

Artlyst interview: Vivien Lovell responds to Revd Jonathan Evens’ questions about curating art in the public realm. See Artlyst interview