Grace - Johannes von Stumm - credit Erica Longfellow

“Six years ago, I encountered Johannes Von Stumm’s’ work for the first time and knew then we had to work together,” Dr Michelle Castelletti, Director of Oxford Festival of the Arts, tells us when explaining how new exhibition Lightshadow came about. 

“And there was nowhere else I could envisage this glorious interlacing of stone and glass and metal and space than at New College in Oxford,”

“The light through the cloisters, the colour of the stone, the spirituality and spatiality of the place – all working harmoniously with the glass, the granite, the limestone, the steel, the then and the now. There was nowhere else this would work in quite the same way,” she adds.

Johannes von Stumm – United – at New College. credit Erica Longfellow New College 4 – United

“So I could not be more delighted, or more thankful, that Lightshadow has come to fruition here in Oxford. It has been my greatest privilege to curate this,” Michelle adds.

Johannes von Stumm himself says: “It is the spiritual energy of a piece of art which counts, and nothing else,” so Lighthadow‘s conversation between absence and presence seems perfectly at home in this extraordinary setting.

Welcome – Johannes von Stumm – at New College. credit Erica Longfellow

Johannes von Stumm has combined metal with glass and stone in his work for the past 40 years, served as President of the Royal Society of Sculptors, the Oxford Art Society and is a founding member of Sculpture Network in Europe.

And now you can experience Johannes von Stumm’s sculpture for yourself in the cloisters of New College, from Friday April 19 – August 27

Left Behind – James Gemmill

His exhibition runs concurrently with artists James Gemmill and Gavin Lockheart whose exhibition Just Looking opens on Saturday April 20 for just over a week at Pembroke College.

Oxfordshire-based artist James Gemmill works in the cinematic world, television, and design, as well as a gallery artist, and Gavin Lockheart, whose landscape paintings include further imagery apparent on the surfaces.

Gavin Lockheart

“There is a subliminal thread across these artists’ works which plays on different possible interpretations of stories and a darkness, a link to horrors and inhumanities around us, with a tantalising glimmer of hope. April 20-28.

Their references to the darkness of war and conflict links to the Pembroke College JCR Art Collection, established in 1947 by Anthony Emery following his return from WW2, leads us nicely on to OFA’s next exhibition of works by British surrealist painter and war artist, Paul Nash, also at Pembroke.

Paul Nash – Paul Nash sketching in Cowley, 1940-41 © Tate. Other Paul Nash is © Worcester College. Oxford During the War, 1942.

Drawing on the collections of the Ashmolean Museum, the Tate archives, a number of Oxford colleges and private collections, LAND, SEA, AND SKY – PAUL NASH IN OXFORD aims to illustrate the Oxfordshire locations that inspired the work of British surrealist painter and war artist, and the Oxonian women who supported him. 11 May – 9 June.

And don’t miss MARIA VARELA AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT in he Kendrew Barn Gallery, St John’s College from April 29 – May 18. The photographer captured images of marches, speeches, protests, and the hard work of building a Movement from the bottom up, through her lens.  Varela’s photography offers an important perspective on one of the most significant periods of reckoning in American history. 

Image: James Meredith March through Mississippi, June 1966. Reflection of marchers in puddle. © Maria Varela Photography, courtesy of the National Museum of Mexican Art

And to finish on a high note, The Muse brings a fascinating collaboration, again st St John’s, by Arpita Shah (in collaboration with Photo Oxford) and textile artist Julia Engelhardt.

Drawing from Mughal and Indian miniature paintings from ancient to pre-colonial times, Arpita Shah’s Modern Muse explores the ever-shifting identities and representations of South Asian women in contemporary Britain. June 28 – July 14.

Vidya – Modern Muse © Arpita Shah

The work of textile artist Julia Engelhardt, Ancient Sounds – Song for Euterpe, inspired by one of the nine Greek Muses, will be unveiled alongside, together with all the new commissions of this exhibition.

A panel discussion with art historian, critic and writer, Ruth Millington, Arpita Shah, Julia Engelhardt and other artists whose work will be exhibited at the festival, on the muse, takes place at The Kendrew Barn on Friday June 28 at 7.30pm.

Oxford Festival Of The Arts runs until July 13.