LAST weekend should have been spent visiting other people’s homes, not staying home. This weekend too.
This is not a cabin-fevered call for a foolhardy Trumpian dropping of the guard on Covid-19, but a forlorn wish that York Open Studios 2020 could have been just that: York Open Studios. Instead, they will be York Shut Studios.
Nevertheless, in the absence of the opportunity to meet 144 artists at 100 locations, banished by the Coronavirus lockdown, CharlesHutchPress is determinedly championing 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, a handful of artists who now miss out on the exposure of Open Studios are being 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. Home and studio addresses will not be included at this lockdown 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.
Furthermore, look out for plenty of the 144 artists still showcasing their work over the York Open Studios period online. Visit yorkopenstudios.co.uk to take your own virtual tour.
The website says: “We’re doing a Virtual Open Studios, with artists posting based on a daily theme for the ten days spanning our two weekends. They’ll be showing you their studios and workshops, favourite processes, answering your questions, and of course lots of pictures of their new work!
“Search for #YorkOpenStudios anywhere on social media or follow your favourite artists to see more.”
First, however, here are six more artists and makers for you to discover…
Monica Marshall, mixed media, student
EMERGING artist Monica is a fine art student at York St John University, where her practice centres on coping with life and the psyche, and how this is affected by Asperger Syndrome.
“I explore the complexity of emotion and the subconscious through the use of text and expressionist mark-making in a variety of media, primarily through drawing, painting and printmaking,” she says.
In her experimental art, she plays with scale, distortion and using colour to convey certain emotions. “My work is mostly monochromatic, combining text alongside self-portraits and other characters,” says Monica. “The results communicate a powerful message while retaining elements of humour.”
She takes inspiration from German Expressionism, Surrealism and outsider art. “In regard to media, I am very open-minded and experimental. My preferred medium is usually printmaking, using a colour scheme consisting primarily of red, green, black and white, as well as oil painting on a large scale,” says Monica, who divides her time between York and Brighton.
“When I’m not scribbling, painting and/or hiding in the print room, I enjoy finding and photographing monkey puzzle trees – otherwise known as Araucaria Araucana, penury, Chilean pines and an assortment of other aliases – as well as writing poetry, prose and short stories.”
This was to have been Monica’s first year as a York Open Studios artist. Discover more at monicamarshallblog.wordpress.com.
Richard Barnes, painting
RICHARD’s distinctive, dazzling work in York and London has focused on drawing and photographing the cities as the light fades.
“I record the sounds, movement, architecture and atmosphere of the ancient buildings within a modern context,” he says of his cityscapes. “Our brains are bombarded with digital information; the resultant paintings explore a reality beyond this facade.”
His cityscapes are ever evolving. “I am looking to highlight the sensations of life and light, movement and stillness, the changing and new juxtaposed with the permanent and prevailing history.”
For contrast, he paints Yorkshire landscapes. “In my landscapes, the idea is to escape the noise and to respond to a natural but often equally dramatic environment,” says Richard.
Living in York since 1984, working as both an artist and art teacher, he completed his PhD in 2006, exploring the use of digital intervention within a traditional, intuitive painting practice.
Now, the development of Richard’s images often involves drawing; photographing; printing; working on top of this print; re-photographing; re-printing; re-working, many times over, “until a final image is arrived at that captures the visual and tactile nature of the experience of being in a particular place, at that particular time.” Visit richardofyork.com for further insights.
Emily Harper-Gustafsson, painting
BOOTHAM School art teacher Emily creates delicate and contemplative paintings that seek to capture small moments in space and time.
“Familiar objects are transformed by the use of negative space and subtle subversions of traditional perspective,” she says.
“My paintings attempt to render the apparently everyday and mundane a matter for epiphany, contemplation and reflection.”
Emily can be contacted via email@example.com.
Freya Horsley, painting
TAKING landscape and seascape as her starting point, whether in Yorkshire, Europe, the Himalayas or Canada, Freya’s abstract paintings focus on transient effects of light and weather and the changes they bring to the face of land and sea.
Whether drawing on the spot outside in the landscape or painting larger works back in the studio, she uses a wide variety of materials and experimental processes to create her surfaces and atmospheric effects.
“I’m increasingly exploring in greater depth the relationship between what is being painted and how it comes about, how much is real place and how much painted space,” Freya says.
“In the first stages of a painting, I pour and drip very liquid paint, manipulating it by tilting and moving the support on the floor and easel. Gradually I refine this process, responding to the marks and to my own sense of the space that emerges.
“I also often use wax, collage and other media, alongside the veils of thin acrylic and oil paint, to explore these different levels of looking and ways of experiencing a place and space.”
Based in York, Freya exhibits in Yorkshire, London, the North West, Lancaster and Cornwall. She was to have shown her work at Bootham School, as usual, at York Open Studios, and still in her diary is Coast, at Porthminster Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall, from June 13 to September 5. Take a look at freyahorsley.com.
Benn Jackson, painting
BENN’S practice involves experimenting with a range of processes that never end or finish, pushed through different methods to create something different.
“The ‘process’ refers to the process of the formation of art: the gathering, sorting, collating, associating, patterning, and moreover the initiation of actions,” says Benn.
“’Process’ explores the way the artist forms decisions. With my practice, I aim to push ideas through a range of unorthodox methods to create a new body of work.”
That work, spanning print, collage and painting, would have been exhibited at York Open Studios for the first time. Check him out at instagram.com/jelly-benn.
Jelena Lunge, drawing
JELENA’s work is concept and progress driven. “Using pen and ink, I draw inspiration from people, emotion and nature,” she says. “Mostly I create drawings that are thought provoking and illusory.”
Jelena graduated from Vilnius Academy of Arts, in Lithuania, with a BA in sculpture and qualified as an art teacher. Her drawings have been shown at international exhibitions in the Baltic States, Russia, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Germany, the USA and the UK.
“I now live and work in York, where I display and sell my work from creative spaces and galleries,” says Jelena, who last year exhibited at City Screen; York Explore library; Angel on the Green; Naburn Lock; Spark: York; Clements Hall and the Golden Ball pub.
“My drawing combines portrait form with the abstract, incorporating symbolism with touches of fantasy,” she says. More info at jelenalunge.com.
TOMORROW: Sarah Raphael-Balme; Lesley Seeger; Evie Leach; Ric Liptrot; Katrina Mansfield and Kitty Pennybacker.