YORK Open Studios 2020, the chance to meet 144 artists at 100 locations over two April weekends, has been cancelled in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, with doors sadly shut for the April 17 to 19 and April 25 to 26 event, CharlesHutchPress wants to champion the creativity of York’s artists and makers, who would have been showcasing their ceramics, collage, digital, illustration, jewellery, mixed media, painting, print, photography, sculpture and textiles skills.
Each day, in brochure order, five artists who now miss out on the exposure of Open Studios will be given a pen portrait on these pages, because so much art and craft will have been created for the event and still needs a new home. Addresses will not be included at this time.
Meanwhile, York Open Studios artists are finding their own way to respond to the shutdown by filling their windows with their work instead. Look for #openwindowsyork2020 to locate them. “If you see one in your area while taking your daily exercise, take a picture and let us know,” they say.
Kate Buckley, sculptural porcelain
ORIGINALLY from North Wales, Kate has lived in York for two decades as a partner, mother, teacher, artist and designer.
Having taught for more than 20 years, now she has graduated with a first-class contemporary craft degree from York College and is a UK prize winner in the Eleanor Worthington International Art Prize in Tertiary Education (Italy and the UK).
Porcelain meets origami in her thought-provoking sculptural works that favour a stripped-back colour palette focusing on light and shade. She uses slip-cast and press-moulded folded parchment and linen, together with folded surface distortion in concrete and plaster.
“The product is the sum of the process and the imperfections tell the story of the making,” says Kate, who is a member of the British Origami Society and artist-in-residence at York College.
“My time there is spent striving to express the delicacy of paper in porcelain and investigating how geometry, repetition and folding capture the interplay of shadow and light and embrace the space between.”
Since 2017, Kate has exhibited in York (According To McGee, Village Gallery), Harrogate, Newcastle (Holy Biscuit), London (Art. Number 23) and Urbino, Italy, and last year at Kunsthuis Gallery’s Shades of Clay exhibition at The Dutch House, Crayke, and Art& York, York Racecourse. She will return to Art& York from October 23 to 25 this autumn. Go to katebuckley.co.uk to learn more.
Kay Dower, painting
KAY is the resident artist at Corner Gallery, which she first ran in Scarcroft Road for 18 months and now operates from her home.
“Having more space allows me to showcase more art to more people in the context of a relaxed, contemporary home, and of course there’s the excuse to make more of a party out of it,” she reasons. “I’m all for a casual approach to art with a dollop of fun and fizz thrown in for good measure.”
Starting out as an “unserious, serious artist”, she now paints with lashings of acrylics, using a palette knife to give her paintings a sense of freedom and texture. Subjects range from everyday ‘still life’ objects, whether pears or Prosecco, gerberas or gin bottles, to quirky scenes of York.
Among these are classic York buildings and corners of York, depicted from fresh angles, such as York Racecourse and Bishopthorpe Road. “These are artworks that don’t want to hide behind glass,” she says.
Kay welcomes commissions big and small via cornergallery.art/artists/kay-dower/.
Claire Morris, photography
YORK retro book-art photographer Claire likes to encourage people to think about their favourite books in a different way when she brings vintage book covers and iconic characters to life through the lens
“I’ve always had an interest in photography and creating pop-up books,” says Claire, whose primary influence was American photographer Thomas Allen, who would cut characters out of pulp-fiction books and then photograph them.
“I loved this concept so much, I started doing my own versions. His were a bit sexy and I wanted mine to be cleaner.”
Inspired by vintage fictional books, Claire uses paper-cutting techniques to partially free the characters from the book, before dramatically lighting and staging the shot to give the impression of the figure coming to life from the pages, creating a 3D, retro-cool image.
Claire divides her time between working in the health sector and scouring charity shops and second-hand book sales, sourcing images and materials for her next art piece.
“I find inspiration from the characters on the front of the books. There’s something so iconic about book covers from the 1950s,” she says. “I like to highlight the emotions that the characters are showing and telling their story by placing them into a new situation.”
As well as being a permanently featured artist at Kay Dower’s Corner Gallery, Claire has exhibited this year at Pig & Pastry, Bishopthorpe Road, The Gallery, Malton, and Pocklington Arts Centre. Take a look at clairemorris.photography.
Emma Whitelock, painting
DEPICTING evocative land and seascapes in an expressive style, Emma’s work often incorporates a lone female figure as a tiny abstract symbol.
Seeking to portray an emotional connection to land and sea, how the outer world can reflect the inner, the expansiveness of nature acts as a foil to human concerns with memory and solitude.
Her inspiration varies from the dramatic Yorkshire moors and coast, to the exceptional light and vibrancy of Cornish summers.
“Using acrylic with mixed media, I build layers that evolve intuitively to create textured, semi-abstract works, where I aim to transport the viewer to wild places,” says Emma.
Her use of colour is both dramatic and ethereal, often giving the works the feeling of being poised on the borderline between day and night. “They are charged moments, filled with remembrances past and possibilities for the future,” she says.
One of Emma’s paintings, featuring a seagull, was used by York Settlement Community Players for artwork for Helen Wilson’s production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull at the York Theatre Royal Studio earlier this year. Head to emmawhitelock.co.uk for more info.
Peter Donohoe, sculpture
PETER’S sculptures explore the relationship between two people, friends, lovers, real or imagined.
Having graduated from Leeds College of Art in 1969 with an honours degree in sculpture, he worked in mainstream theatre and the museum display industry as a prop maker and commercial sculptor. This gave him a broad experience of both materials and technique.
In 2005, he left full-time employment to concentrate on his personal work and to develop an alternative approach to figurative sculpture.
His sculptures are in hand worked copper, patinated and mounted on stone. Visit his website at peterdonohoe.co.uk.
TOMORROW: Angela Anning; Pamela Thorby; Andrian Melka; Isabel K-J Denyer and Pennie Lordan.