Modern paintings are dividing opinions

A TRIPTYCH of three large contemporary paintings by Chichester artist Nicola Hancock (pictured) in St Marys Church, Pulborough is dividing opinion among congregation and visitors.

The paintings, which Nicola created as her response to attending evensong over many months in Chichester Cathedral, are brightly-coloured abstracts.

Five-foot-by-four-foot oil paintings on canvas hung as a set over the vestry door, they are the first images that greet you as you enter the church.

A member of the church choir said: “I don’t understand them but would like to – they are just squiggles to me” while Rob Aylott, of the Church Council, said “I find them uplifting and they give the area a sense of beauty, peace and space.”

Father Paul Welch, the Rector of the church, said: “We are privileged to have the opportunity to hang art that speaks of a spiritual response to worship in a setting that supports that response.

“I realise that contemporary art is not everybody’s cup of tea but the Christian Church in the 21st century has to look at every way in which different people respond to God. These paintings, which will only be hung for about three months, some will find uplifting while others will have difficulty with them; we hope many people will visit the church, sit quietly and make up their own mind.”

Nicola, the artist, said: “The paintings are pure crystals of my distilled experience. They are part of a body of work that is a hymn to the Christian story. By choosing to have faith in the ineffable, I find myself so very human that I am full of resonance with the divine nature of all it is to be alive.”

One of the paintings has previously been hung in the prestigious Chichester Pallant House Gallery of Modern British Art, and more of Nicola’s work can be seen on her web site

To see the three paintings at St Marys, Pulborough, (post code RH20 1AB) you can visit the church which is open most weekday afternoons between 2 and 4 and see more about the church on