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> > > Review: Mark Ware's 'Cathedra 900' at Exeter Cathedral

13 August 2012

photo of the inside of Exeter cathedral with artists banners hanging down from the central columns

Mark Ware's Cathedra 900 in Exeter Cathedral

Kate Cotton experienced the preview of Cathedra 900: a 3D banner exhibition by Mark Ware, in the nave of Exeter Cathedral has been extended until 30 September.

If you like your art big and bold then this exhibition is a real treat. Mark Ware’s 3D banners, elegantly draped on Exeter Cathedral’s giant columns, are a delight to the senses. With the addition of a pair of traditional red/ blue 3D glasses the banner’s architectural and Roman artefact images magically melt and dance in front of your eyes.

The accompanying baroque music played at the preview added to the wonderful ethereal feel of the event, and the whole scene felt slightly surreal as we all wandered in awe around the cathedral nave, our 3D glasses firmly attached to our faces.

Cathedra 900 is a multimedia art project created by Mark to celebrate the estimated 900 years of Exeter Cathedral’s existence. It is a collection of six disabled and non-disabled art events commencing with the 3D banner exhibition and culminating in an exciting live multimedia event scheduled for March 2013.

The banner designs reflect one of the cathedral’s most striking features - its symmetry – and offer a delicious warm palette of colours and imagery discovered by the artist on his many visits to the building. Four of the banners depict Roman artefacts, in reference to the Roman site that existed prior to the cathedral build.

The 3D technique, called anaglyph, dates back to the 1850s, much earlier than Hollywood’s adoption of modern 3D techniques. But these banners dance and jump out at you with the same brilliant effect as the latest 3D blockbuster.

What makes the exhibition all the more remarkable is that Mark, due to a severe stroke in 1996 at the age of 39, cannot actually experience 3D imagery most of the time. His stroke has affected his vision and brain’s ability to blend left and right images, a convergence required to see 3D images, and so wife Sara and daughter Kelsey have regularly had to confirm the 3D element of the images during the banners’ creation. This inability to reliably see the 3D effect has not stopped Mark producing anaglyph images for the past 35 years.

Mark has a first-class Fine Art degree from Northumbria University and a Masters in Fine Art from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, supported by a Fulbright scholarship. Following his post graduate studies he set up a very successful business in film and video production, still photography and marketing and promotion. He also regularly provided video footage for BBC and ITV news channels.

Mark’s commercial work came to an abrupt end when he had his stroke. As his condition has stabilised he has returned to Fine Art and, during recent years, has regularly exhibited his 2D and 3D work. He has also produced and directed a film about his experience of stroke, applauded by Sir Alan Bennett.

The Cathedra 900 3D banner exhibition is a great opportunity to experience Mark’s work. The exhibition runs until August 31 – go along, pick up your 3D glasses at the door – and prepare to be amazed!

See Mark Ware's blog at Or go to for more information


Joanna Brendon

20 August 2012

Like Mark, I have problems in seeing 3D, due to distortion in one eye, but I enjoyed trying and occasionally I could get it to work for me. But the exhibition works on two different levels, at least. From afar, in 2 DD, the predominately blue blue banners are extremely elegant, contemporary representations of features and details of the rich surrounding architecture. Sometimes, the content was easy to identify - the owls are surely a favourite - but at others the images were more cryptic, but always giving a strong sense of place and history.

I hugely admire Mark's work, but also his commitment and enthusiasm which are infectious!

Tim Heymerdinger

15 August 2012

An incredible achievement brought to life by Mark's amazing gifts and perseverence. My partner and I were lucky enough to be given 'the guided tour' by Mark - although I am assured that experiencing the banners in your own way is just as rewarding! The exhibition really works to highlight the extraordinary vision, thought and detail that went into the cathedral's long construction (and occasional destruction!); plus the often overlooked enduring nature of something so iconic and beautiful, among all our modern clutter.

I am a real fan of Mark's work (his film and theatrical productions are extraordinary - truthful, reflective and resonant).

An amazing artist to be supported and encouraged. :)

randour chantal

14 August 2012

Thank you for this marvellous exhibition.

Please don't stop it at the end of august.

Make a website with the banners and the object represented.

For some banners, I see the object but for others, it is very difficult for me to recognize the objects (I am just operated with 2 cataract).

The different ways to see objects is a passion for me. I have many worked on anamorphosis with my pupils in the math course.

You'll found the website under.

Thank you for this exceptionnal exhibition in this extraordinary cathedral.

Chantal Randour



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