In four weeks time, we are showing a small collection of paintings by an artist untroubled by style or fashion. Sister Deirdre Corfe has been a member of the Carmelite community at Quidenham in south Norfolk for over 40 years, entering a world of prayer and contemplation to live a life free of the fuss and fluff of that occupies most of our time.
Her paintings reflect this; they are neither fashionable or decorative. They do however give cause for thought. Thought about why she has painted them, why she has chosen to lead this life and whether all the other stuff - the fuss and the fluff - has any point or value.
in 2008, for her last exhibition with us in Norwich, Sister Wendy Beckett wrote; "Some art is for glancing at, and moving on: some art is for living with. Art that is not an immediate crowd-pleaser (or displeaser) but has depth to be fathomed and experienced is a rare find, and it is this kind of art that we discover in Deirdre Corfe." Sister Wendy concluded her comments writing "Corfe’s painting gives amazing pleasure but it is also a challenge. It demands gently that we look afresh at the world and at ourselves."
I do not spend my life in prayer and contemplation, but even here in this privileged and beautiful bubble, life can sometimes seem complicated and confusing. Each time I meet and talk with Deirdre and look at her work I do feel challenged. Not in a confrontational way, but they do leave me quietly wondering.