This catalogue developed out of the exhibition, Symphony of Lights: An Exploration of Stained Glass Windows in St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, London, ON, hosted at the Artlab Gallery on the campus of The University of Western Ontario from February 8-19, 2021. The exhibition focused on the visual and aural effects of seven major features of the church: the 1984 organ, the 14 bells (1955 & 1996), and five of the churches’ 29 stained glass windows: John and Peter at the Sepulcher (1905), Priscila (1974), The War Memorial (1949), The Holy Eucharist (1992), and Christ Blessing the Children (1932). Since 1888 parishioners, neighbours, and the community of London have enjoyed sensorial experiences of the Gothic-inspired church. The exhibition celebrated these encounters by recontextualizing them into a gallery setting. All too often, we experience religious buildings in situ that isolates the visual and aural experiences within the confines of history and at times in an unfamiliar and unrecognizable religious space by the lay population. In the exhibition, we attempted to reimagine the grandeur of these seven artistic features of St. John’s by acknowledging their religious and historical settings, but more importantly, highlighting their artistic merit through a multisensorial experience that furthers those Londoners have enjoyed for over 130 years.
As with any project, there are numerous people and institutions that helped support our exhibition. We extend our sincerest gratitude to the community of St. John’s: the Parishioners, the Venerable Archdeacon Tanya Phibbs, the Reverend Lyndon Hutchison-Hounsell Tssf, Stephen McClatchie SMMS, Ph.D., and the staff of St. John’s all of whom actively embraced and supported our efforts. At The University of Western Ontario, we would like to thank the following for their help in bringing this exhibition together: the Department of Visual Arts, Dr. John Hatch (Former Chair), the Artlab staff: Ruth Skinner and Dickson Bou, Andrew Silk, Western’s Faculty Development Research Fund, and Courtney Waugh Emily Carlisle-Johnston, and the staff and developers of Scholarship@Western.