The title of this collective exhibition, “EX VOTO”, a truncation of the Latin ex voto susceptor– translates to “of the vow made”. Curated by Lucy Stein and Sarah Hartnett, a duo also known as Mary Ley Line Pilgrimage, the exhibition features works by thirty contemporary artists who share an interest in a secular sense of the divine, contemporary ritual and anachronism. .

In 2019, Stein and Hartnett set out from St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall to hike the Mary ley line, a footpath through southern England and ending in Hopton, an unremarkable coastal suburb south of Great Yarmouth. Guided by dreams, coincidence and psychoanalytic interpretation, the couple developed a personal esoteric symbolism, evident in their large-scale frottage design. Altarpiece (all works cited 2023), which depicts Saint Catherine working at the wheel.

Alongside this work, “EX VOTO” features contributions from other “receptive visionaries”, including Alexa de Ferranti, Keira Fox, Nina Royle, Natalie Dray and Phoebe Collings James. Their visions enthusiastically embrace everyday life. Ready to wear, Rosie Mullan’s Pool is a loose strip of woven fabric accessorized with ceramic hoops and tags. At Cicely Travers Bargello consists of sheer, silky, argyle-patterned lingerie that looks like it was thrown by an excited harlequin. The prosaic title of Steve Claydon Mary Magdalene with red egg features an icon of the biblical heroine cradling an enigmatic orb in the middle of a red square.

By offering these works as an ex-voto to the public, the curators skillfully invite speculation about private wishes and desires. For Stein and Hartnett, who intend to renew their trip, it is a generative act. Vows are made and made again; the pilgrimage is never over.

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