Relics by Mark Fairnington 

Inspired by objects from Ushaw’s extensive permanent collection, Relics will comprise 36 paintings by Fairnington displayed alongside important items from Ushaw’s holdings. The exhibition features significant works from Fairnington’s career, including paintings from the Collected Human and Collected and Possessed series together with Specimen 11, his monumental obssessievly realist depiction of a leaf insect. 


Fairnington’s paintings will be displayed alongside items from Ushaw’s renowned collection of religious relics. Other exhibits from Ushaw’s holdings include St Cuthbert’s Ring, a medieval gold and sapphire ring removed from the Saint’s tomb at the time of the Reformation, a 19th century sculpture depicting the martyrdom of St Cecelia and a copy of Mark Catesby’s Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (1747), the first published record of the animal and plant life of North America.


Relics explores notions of representation; as Fairnington commented, ‘Running through the show is the concept of a representation as evidence, of something seen, witnessed and recorded. The representation presents itself as a truth however believable or unbelievable the thing represented is.’ Lucy Jenkins, Ushaw’s Heritage and Curatorial Director said, ‘we are very excited to be showing an exhibition of Mark Fairnington’s stunning paintings in a way that makes connections with the historic collections at Ushaw. Mark’s interest in the nature of collecting, in realism and the representation of human and natural history has strong resonance with Ushaw as a place of faith and learning.’