18 July-4 October 2015
Ministries of Defence: Breckland’s Hidden Churches and Landscapes
18 July – 4 October 2015
Hungate Medieval Art, St Peter Hungate Church, Princes Street
New work by artists Gerard Stamp and Matthew Flintham will feature in the latest exhibition
to be held in the beautiful medieval church of St. Peter Hungate.
Requisitioned by the military at the start of the Second World War and used for active training
ever since, Stanford Training Area (STANTA) near Thetford, West Norfolk, is home to the four
medieval churches of Stanford, Tottington, West Tofts, and Langford, each with its own
identity and special architectural features. Rarely visited, artist Gerard Stamp was granted
special access to the interior of the area, while Matthew Flintham traced the circumference of
its vast perimeter. Both have created work that responds to the strange and atmospheric
landscape. Following the spring exhibition at Hungate, which focuses on the history of the
churches within STANTA, the paintings and installations of Stamp and Flintham offer a
contemporary artistic response to the unique history and environment of the area.
Gerard Stamp said of the opportunity to participate in the exhibition:
“I have always wanted to explore STANTA, partly because of the lure of exploring
something ‘forbidden’ but also because of the poignant story of the evacuation”.
For the exhibition, Gerard has created a series of watercolour paintings capturing the beauty
and stillness of the four medieval churches, juxtaposed with the military infrastructure that
surrounds them. Church architecture has long been a passion of Stamp and a focus in his
work. An established Norfolk-based artist, his evocative paintings and drawings of East
Anglia’s fine religious buildings have been widely exhibited across the UK.
Flintham’s work for the exhibition, entitled STANTA (with surface samples), is part of his
ongoing exploration of military landscapes throughout the UK. Concerned with the
relationship between power, place, and architecture, Matthew has constructed a wire-frame
model of the restricted airspace above the Stanford Training Area, revealing its invisible
dimensions. Flintham will also include sound recordings in the exhibition, taken at each of the
nine geographical coordinates which define the STANTA airspace on the ground. An artist and
writer whose work has featured in a number of publications and exhibitions, Matthew is
currently a Research Associate at Liverpool University.
We are indebted to the generosity of our sponsors the East Anglia Art Fund, Norwich Town
Close Estate Charity, the John Jarrold Trust and Norfolk County Council’s Arts Project Fund.
The exhibition Ministries of Defence; Breckland’s Hidden Churches and Landscapes will be
open from Saturday the 18th of July, and can be visited every weekend until the 4th of
October. Admission is FREE.
About Hungate Medieval Art
Based in the decommissioned medieval church of St Peter Hungate, Hungate Medieval Art
exists to promote the medieval art and architecture of Norfolk through a programme of
exhibitions, learning, and events.
Address: St Peter Hungate Church, Princes Street, Norwich
Opening hours: Saturday 10 am – 4 pm and Sunday 2 – 4 pm and by appointment.
Website: www.hungate.org.uk (please check for up to date information on our series of
Message from Charlotte Crawley, East Anglian Art Fund
EAAF has given a small grant to the new art exhibition opening this Friday at Hungate Medieval Art, formerly the church of St. Peter Hungate which stands at the top of Elm Hill just above the Briton’s Arms restaurant. This year’s show Ministries of Defence: Breckland’s Hidden Churches and Landscapes, features new art works by Gerard Stamp and Matthew Flintham.
Both artists have been given rare access into the Stanta battle area down in South Norfolk and their art works reflect some of the hidden features of this Breckland landscape which is so often out of bounds to normal mortals! Like me, many people are huge fans of Gerard’s wonderful watercolours. He was very excited at the prospect of spending time in the churches of the battlefield area and I am sure that his new watercolours will tell their very unusual story.