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March 2022

︎ Press Release

Thomas Coulson’s work focuses on the mental limitations of the human being. Exploring personal narratives in relation to religion and the transgressions of sexual escapades. Through the formations of texts, scripts, and site specifics, he hot-plates the subjects, to recontextualise their fragments and stand them as a testament to the archaic monoliths standing not only as architectural view points, but over sentimentalised rulings of society.

Miles Tuddenham is a multidisciplinary investigative artist, curator, director and founder of USUAL BUSINESS, working within the domains of time-based media, technical installation, post-internet immersion and digital forensic studies. As a present student of Central Saint Martins, studying a BA (Hons) in Fine Art (4D), Tuddenham is in the midst of developing his professional practice within contemporary art and technological research. His work aims to explore and investigate the existence of digital/analogue conflicts, tackle childhood curiosity through sculptural and performative satire, and launch technical investigations through forensic research within modern digital practice.

“Two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self.” SAINT AUGUSTINE, EXCERPT FROM BOOK XIV, CITY OF GOD.

A man is summoned to the house of God. Rolling hills hide the remnants of the foregone era of control, whilst a woven tapestry of ancient ritual and holiness is folded into a dark corner, left to rest in shadow. Two systems of monotony lie downstream, stretching for an eternity. Shalst he take the path leading to salvation, old stone and silence, or shalst he slope down to the undergrowth, the noise and red brick. The man grabs a fistful of bread. Raising his brow to gaze upon the morning dew, he stands still, moving in neither direction.

The Somonyng of Everyman documents Thomas Coulson and Miles Tuddenham’s visit to Buckfast Abbey in August 2021. Buckfast Abbey is part of an active Benedictine monastery in Devon, founded in 1018 and still housing thirteen monks to date. The trip was first conceived as an opportunity to observe the role of music in the house of God, but after a fortuitous coinciding with the Abbey’s anniversary of consecration, they were invited to stay at the monastery and join the monks’ daily practice. During their temporary dwelling, Coulson and Tuddenham spoke with members of the Abbey, religious pilgrims and local residents about their relation to the monastery and experience of life in an eclisiastical town.

Coulson and Tuddenham’s stay at Buckfast Abbey summoned an abundance of rich reflections and themes to their artistic practice: benevolence and giving; the caged man; authority and hierarchy; the path towards righteousness; existential monotony and angst; indulgence and temperance; restriction and repression; religious symbolism; opulence and modesty. Most significantly, the project records the experience of two artists on a non-religious pilgrimage to a place of immense holiness, and the resulting collision between the ‘everyman,’ the holy man and God. The Somonyng of Everyman is named after a 15th century play concerning mankind’s path to salvation. The play is told through a series of allegories, which follow a protagonist called ‘Everyman’ on a life-defining pilgrimage.

Thomas Coulson and Miles Tuddenham express their sincere gratitude to Fr. Abbot and The Monks of Buckfast Abbey for their warm response to the project and welcoming presence at the monastery.   - Harry Ghose Coveney

Monday Nov 5 2018

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