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Cathedra Domine

(Throne of God)

Artist: Rose Petterson

Size:  6m x 8m x 5m high

Medium:  steel rod and tube

Price: SOLD

Exhibited at:

Otago School of Art 06/07

Sculpture on Shore 2008

Sculpture in Central - Rippon Vineyard 2011

Private Sale - West Wanaka 2011/12


Cathedra Domine is a sculptural installation where the viewer can not just look at, but interact with the sculpture.  From a distance it could easily be overlooked.  A drawing in space it breaks boundaries of solidity and ethereality.  There is nowhere to stand and passively look at the whole, and it’s not until one is close to it that is emerges from space.  It is in the experience of walking through it where the encounter of the work takes place.. The Cathedra breaks down the walls between religion and spirituality, stripping away the building structure, the hierarchical nature of the church and the hypocritical glitz and expense of the cathedral.  While still leaving a space that is beautiful, moves the eye upward to heaven and provides a place that is transparent where what is done inside can be seen from the outside and what is done outside can be seen from the inside.


Cathedra Domine challenges religious systems.  I have removed all the peripheral structures of the Catholic cathedral by discarding all the statues, alters to saints, side chapels, the confessional; things that indicate a hierarchy to reach God.  In medieval cathedrals, excess is the key.  These magnificent cathedrals that are said to have been built to honour God were most often done at the expense and spiritual manipulation of the people.  I’ve taken away the excessive display of wealth where material wealth was an indication of spiritual wealth, and I’ve constructed a space that is a more ‘personal’ size.  It strips back the excessiveness, exposes it and provides a transparency that makes it vulnerable. A transparent church does several things; most inherently it has the capacity to contain light. A church that has transparent walls allows the people on the outside to see in and provide accountability. This deals with issues of hypocrisy that arise when the church hides behind their religion, to conceal their corruption or to justify the things they do.  Also a church without walls keeps those inside the church aware of what is happening outside. Sometimes those inside religion become unaware of the reality that is happening outside them.


My art practice is an exploration of the nature of opposites as contradictions that occur at the same time.  The cathedral is a structure that inherently contains these binary oppositions; it is solid yet ethereal, it has the ability to speak of the abstract concepts of light and transparency, but also of darkness and solidity. It is through a gothic framework that I can place this contradiction. The gothic as a genre, appeals to the mysterious and what is unknown; it is a fine balance of oppositions. It shows ‘the ugliness’ and ‘the beauty’ of things that appeal to the irrational. It has the ability to go against logic, which is exactly what the realm of the spiritual is. It deals with the liminal, the place that is between what is physical and what is spiritual. The seen and unseen.


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