‘My aim is to create art that seems incomplete, impermanent and imperfect,’ says sculptor Janie Stevens as According To McGee exhibition opens this weekend

Sculptor Janie Stevens, flanked by According to McGee co-directors Greg and Ails McGee

ACCORDING To McGee launches its series of Affirmations exhibitions with a fusion of ceramics and sculpture tomorrow (8/1/2022).

“We’re still all about the paintings,” says Ails McGee, co-director of the gallery in Tower Street, York. “I’ve been working on my own series of Still Lifes; Beth Ross is here, David Baumforth, Horace Panter too, but we just thought the blank slate of 2022 merited a new approach and so we have some new 3D items.”

They take the form of a ceramic collection from David Austin Duckworth and the latest forms from celebrated sculptor Janie Stevens, who lives just outside York.

Part of Janie Stevens’ sculptural paean to simplicity, Imperfect

“What was important was to kick off the year with art that is for the most part positive and aspirational,” says Ails. “The front gallery is a battle-cry for the positive values of art. Art often throws the cultural equivalent of a Molotov cocktail into contemporary life, but it can also simply reflect what’s aspirational and optimistic.

“Sculptor Janie Stevens launches Imperfect, a sculptural paean to simplicity. It’s her collection of sculptures that greets the visitor in our front gallery and we’re delighted to be widening our remit with work such as this.”

Yorkshire-born Janie says: “Direct carving is a way of freeing the spirit, both my own and the spirit of the stone. I really enjoy observing how the stone changes as the light falls – pure alchemy! My work is hand carved, original and, above all, tactile. Sculpture is not just for the eyes.”

Artist Harry Malkin with Ails McGee at According To McGee in 2019

She encourages connecting with the natural stone through touching, feeling and stroking a sculpture too.

“I take inspiration from Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Tony Cragg,” says Janie, who works with local quarried stone, both in limestone and soapstone. “I’m driven by shape, tactility and emotion; three-dimensional form excites me as I continually test my understanding of the natural world.

“My aim is to create art that seems incomplete, impermanent and imperfect, which therefore aesthetically has no limitations to its beauty and simplicity.”

“Harry is an ex-miner and knows exactly what it is to work chest deep in freezing black water one mile underground,” says Greg McGee

Co-director Greg McGee highlights the latest work by According To McGee regular Harry Malkin, on view in the back gallery in the briefest of exhibitions. “It’s a pleasing counterpoint to the front room,” he says. “Harry is an ex-miner and knows exactly what it is to work chest deep in freezing black water one mile underground.

“These portraits of a rapidly vanishing world from a true draughtsman are a crucial part of Britain’s recent heritage, but they’re here for Saturday only, so if anyone needs a contemporary reason to visit their favourite heritage city, this is it.”

Janie’s art also can be found online at: accordingtomcgee.com/collections/janie-stevens