“I have always loved stained glass windows, particularly the highly coloured rose windows of Notre Dame and Chartres and the abstract designs of post-war artists. Many English churches had to have windows replaced after 1945, resulting in wonderful modernist designs. Particular favourites of mine are Marc Chagall, who made some amazing windows for Tudeley Church in Kent, and Tom Carter Shapland, who lived near here and whose work can be seen at both St Matthew’s and St Mark’s churches in Surbiton. The effect of sunlight streaming through juxtaposed colours can be breathtakingly beautiful, and is a particular feature of the style in which I like to work.”
Not having formal training as an artist, Simon approaches stained glass as an enthusiastic dilettante, in the sense of one who ‘takes delight’. His work could more strictly be described as leaded lights, albeit generally abstract in form and boldly coloured. In creating a stained glass panel he particularly likes the combination of art and craft: art in the conception and design, and craft in the cutting, assembling and finishing of the glass and lead. Not all stained glass artists feel this way – some of the most famous, such as Chagall and John Piper, didn’t make the actual windows themselves but left it to others to assemble them, collaborating closely with the craftsmen who fulfilled their designs.
Four of the pieces shown here are the result of a visit to the Abstract Expressionism exhibition at the Royal Academy in 2016. The strength of the colours and designs of Jackson Pollock and Barnett Newman in particular led Simon to think of how they could be re-imagined in transparent form, “although to reproduce the enormous scale of their works in coloured glass would be a daunting undertaking!”
Simon’s exhibition runs from 8th July – 5th August.
Meet the artist night is on Tuesday 10 July from 7 to 9pm
He can be contacted on: