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.
Ruth Beloe, painting
RUTH Beloe finds equal fulfilment in figurative sculpture and still life paintings in oil.
She trained for three years at Charles H Cecil Studios in Florence, Italy, a fine art school modelled on the ateliers of 19th-century Paris, where she studied portrait and figurative drawing, painting and sculpting, using the “sight-size” technique.
On opening her studio in Ely, she began accepting portrait commissions in both charcoal and clay and was appointed artist-in-residence at the King’s School, Ely. She then worked in an artists’ foundry to better understand the processes and practicalities of lost wax casting for bronze to inform her own work in bronze.
She returned to Florence in 2009 and 2010 to develop her oil-painting technique at Studio Santo Spirito. Now she works from a studio in York, taking inspiration from Chardin and William Nicholson as she explores the inherent beauty of everyday items and objects from nature.
Note the reflective qualities of surfaces, the use of directed light to form appealing shadows and the play of refracted light in her paintings. Discover more at beloe.biz.
Milena Dragic, printmaking
BORN in Zagreb, Croatia, and now living in York, polymath Milena is a printmaker, animator and performing artist.
She studied printmaking at Zagreb’s Academy of Fine Arts, from 1971 to 1973, and combined arts at Brighton Polytechnic’s faculty of art and design, from 1973 to 1976. Residencies and placements ensued, along with more than 20 solo shows in Britain, Croatia, Germany and Switzerland and participation in print exhibitions in Britain, Poland, Brazil, Spain and South Korea.
“I perceive my work as a dynamic representation of forces underlying physical reality and their manifestations within everyday life,” says Milena, who prints on hand-made paper. “My aim is to awaken the feeling of wonder and awe that I have experienced during the process of gathering ideas and executing them in the prints.
“My colour prints are all relief prints: woodcuts, wood-engravings and linocuts. I like the simplicity of the process. I print without a conventional press. My colour prints are done by a reduction method, which means that all the colours are printed from the same block. At the end of this process there is no lino left, so the edition is truly limited.”
Her contemporary, colourful abstract work combines relief prints, animation and mixed media. Wearing her other hats, she has worked as an art director and animator at Leeds Animation Workshop, now works for Artlink West Yorkshire and is part of the York Dance Collective. Paint the full picture at milena-dragic.co.uk.
Russell Bailey, mixed media
RUSSELL invited putative York Open Studios 2020 visitors to expect “a range of expressionistic interpretations of York Minster in mixed media”.
“The main work results from over 12 months’ work on cathedrals – York Minster in particular – involving many site visits, plein air and studio-based work,” he says.
Favouring charcoal and mixed media, Russell embraces experimental ways of working and gestural mark-making. “Working expressively with freedom of marks with more considered drawn elements is key to how I process my experiences artistically,” he says.
“The work I do is often experimental, often part destroyed and then re-created to produce a very personal interpretation. In that respect, the work tends to reside in the hinterland between the literal and pure abstraction. Mixing media seems to have become a natural way through which I express myself.”
Russell has exhibited previously at York Open Studios, the Great North Art Show, Kunsthuis Gallery at The Dutch House, Crayke, and Blossom Street Gallery, York. His latest artwork also embraces small abstract pieces based on beliefs and others from art retreat locations. Take a look at russellbaileyfineart.co.uk.
Anthony Chappel-Ross, photography
ANTHONY is a familiar face behind the camera around York and beyond for his photojournalism for The Press, York, where he was an outstanding staff photographer, and other print media outlets too.
Since leaving journalism college in Sheffield in 2002, he has been shortlisted for more than 20 regional and national press awards: testament to his truly eye-catching talent.
For the past few years, he has started to work for himself, choosing his clients and commissions. “This freedom has allowed time for my own personal photographic interests to be explored,” says Anthony.
For his second York Open Studios exhibition, he had selected photographic images, predominantly in black and white, that explore the contrast, form and pattern of Barcelona, Antoni Gaudi’s Catalan Modernist architecture et al.
Check out anthonychappelross.co.uk…and snap to it.
Helen Rye, jewellery
JEWELLERY designer and maker Helen Drye works full time from her studio south of York, her designs inspired by nearby Skipwith Common National Nature Reserve.
Establishing her Silver and Stone Jewellery Design business in 2012, Yorkshire-born Helen’s collections have their roots in this woodland, especially the birds and hares, her favourite mushrooms and the moonlight.
While much of her work is made in sterling silver, some is designed and carved in silver clay, adding unusual features to the jewellery.
“My imagination is sparked by the woodland and common beyond my studio, wondering what the ancient Bronze Age people did, or the farmers grazing their sheep on the common land, or the Second World War pilots who trained here before going off to fight their battles in the sky,” says Helen.
“I try to imagine those people walking between the trees, through that same mist, in the morning light or the moonlight many years ago. I reflect this as though looking through my windows; ‘windows’ that look through the woodland, the trees and the birds and make you wonder what else is through there.”
Helen, by the way, also runs jewellery-making workshops and wedding ring workshops. More info can be found at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TOMORROW: Jill Ford; Danny Knight; Carrie Lyall; Alison Spaven and Kevin McNulty.