Next month Julia Borodina makes a splash in Sky Arts’ Landscape Artist of the Year, but first she is exhibiting at gallery in York

Julia Borodina: Russian-born West Yorkshire artist exhibiting at Blossom Street Gallery . Sky competition awaits

WEST Yorkshire painter Julia Borodina will be competing in Sky Arts’ 2022 Landscape Artist of the Year, set for screening in January and February.

Perfect timing for her York exhibition, Into The Light, now on show at Blossom Street Gallery until the end of January.

“She’s managed not to let anything slip regarding the outcome,” says gallery owner Kim Oldfield. “I first met Julia when she exhibited here as part of the Leeds Fine Artists Group, and it’s very exciting that she’s now been selected for the Sky competition.”

Born in Tobolsk, Western Siberia, Russia, Julia graduated with distinctions in Fine Art from Omsk University, later completing a Masters in Painting in the UK in 2002.

Autumn, Woodland, acrylic on board, by Julia Borodina

“I usually work from my studio at the Creative Arts Hub in Mirfield, south of Leeds, or paint outdoors at various locations, depending on the season,” she says. “My main themes are landscapes and townscapes. 

“I greatly enjoy working outdoors as it gives me an opportunity to develop suitable compositions and experiment with light conditions.”

Julia is always searching for beauty. “I’m trying to capture a unique moment of life, which on its own is telling a story. I’m interested in painting ‘portraits’ of things and places,” she says.

“The whole experience of painting ‘en plein-air’ is an ideal working environment for me. I start from investigating the area on foot or on my bicycle, noting the places of interest and making quick sketches. 

Anglesey, acrylic, by Julia Borodina

“Next step will be to come back to the selected spots and to produce a number of preliminary studies and additional photos if needed. After that the collected material matures and expands in the studio.”

Julia has exhibited her work at the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, Society of Women Artists, Royal Society of Marine Artists and Society of Wildlife Artists at the Mall Galleries, London.

As well as being a member of Leeds Fine Artists Group, she has taken part in annual exhibitions in York and Holmfirth and at other British galleries and art fairs. Overseas, she shows work at the National Watercolour Exhibition in Russia.

Julia enjoys sharing her creative knowledge with students. “I have extensive teaching experience since graduating and have worked with all age groups, being especially excited to inspire my youngest pupils at primary-school level,” she says.

“I’m trying to capture a unique moment of life, which on its own is telling a story,” says Julia Borodina of her “portraits of things and places”

“We’ve produced some amazing artwork based on climate change, as well as international projects in Chengdu, China, funded by the British Council.

“I teach workshops for children on Saturdays at the Creative Arts Hub, Mirfield, and receive invitations to design and run unique art projects tailored to the needs of both primary and secondary schools.”

Julia also runs painting workshops, teaching short and long-term painting and drawing courses for adults.

From next month, the focus will fall on her Sky Landscape Artist of the Year endeavours after she was selected last summer for the seventh series. “I have very happy memories of the filming and invite you to watch it this winter, when it will be out on Sky Arts TV and Freeview in January and February,” says Julia, still staying tight-lipped on how she fared!

Julia Borodina: Into The Light, Blossom Street Gallery, York, running until January 31; gallery closed from December 25 to January 17. Opening hours before Christmas Day: 10am to 4pm; Christmas Eve, 10am to 3pm. From January 17: 10am to 5.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday; 10am to 4pm, Sundays.

The poster for Julia Borodina’s Into The Light exhibition at Blossom Street Gallery, York

More Things To Do in and around York, as Levelling up, peas and wickedness this way come. List No. 54, courtesy of The Press

Ben Moor and Joanna Neary: Mini-season of stand-up theatre and comedy at Theatre@41

MOOR, Moor, Moor and much more, more, more besides are on Charles Hutchinson’s list for the week ahead.

Surrealist stand-up theatre of the week, Ben Moor and Joanna Neary mini-season, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, today until Saturday

BEN Moor and Joanna Neary combine to deliver five offbeat comedy shows in three days in their Theatre@41 debut.

Moor contemplates performance, friendship and regret in his lecture about lectures, Pronoun Trouble, tonight at 8pm. Tomorrow, at 7.30pm, Neary’s multi-character sketch show with songs and impersonations, Wife On Earth, is followed by Moor’s Who Here’s Lost?, his dream-like tale of a road trip of the soul taken by two outsiders.

Saturday opens at 3pm with Joanna’s debut children’s puppet show, Stinky McFish And The World’s Worst Wish, and concludes at 7pm with the two-hander BookTalkBookTalkBook, a “silly author event parody show”. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Gunpowder Guy in Horrible Histories’ Barmy Britain. Picture: Frazer Ashford

Alternative history lesson of the week: Horrible Histories’ Barmy Britain, Grand Opera House, York, today at 1.30pm, 7pm; tomorrow, 10.30am and 7pm; Saturday, 3pm, 7pm; Sunday, 11am, 3pm

WHAT if a Viking moved in next door? Would you lose your heart or head to horrible Henry VIII? Can evil Elizabeth entertain England? Will Parliament survive Gunpowder Guy? Dare you stand and deliver to dastardly Dick Turpin?

Questions, questions, so many questions to answer, and here to answer them are the Horrible Histories team in Barmy Britain, a humorously horrible and eye-popping show trip to the past with Bogglevision 3D effects. Box office: atgtickets.com/york

Hannah Victoria in Tutti Frutti’s The Princess And The Pea at York Theatre Royal Studio

Reopening of the week: York Theatre Royal Studio for Tutti Frutti’s The Princess And The Pea, today to Tuesday; no show on Sunday

YORK Theatre Royal Studio reopens today with a capacity reduced from 100 to 71 and no longer any seating to the sides.

First up, Leeds children’s theatre company Tutti Frutti revive York playwright Mike Kenny’s adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s story, set in a place where what you see is not what it seems: the Museum of Forgotten Things.

Three musical curators delve into the mystery of how a little green pea ended up there in an hour of humour, songs and a romp through every type of princess you could imagine. Box office and show times: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Artist Anita Bowerman and Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen at Dove Tree Art Gallery and Studio

Open Studios of the week: Anita Bowerman, Dove Tree Art Gallery and Studio, Back Granville Road, Harrogate, Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 5pm

HARROGATE paper-cut, watercolour and stainless steel artist Anita Bowerman opens her doors for refreshments and a browse around her new paintings of Yorkshire and Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen, prints and mugs. 

“It’s a perfect chance for inspiration before the Christmas present-buying rush starts,” says Anita, who has been busy illustrating a new charity Christmas card for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance featuring the Yorkshire Shepherdess.

Rachel Croft: York singer-songwriter performing at Drawsome! day of activities at Spark:York as part of York Design Week on Saturday

York Design Week gig of the week: Drawsome!, Mollie Coddled Talk More Pavilion, Spark:York, Saturday, from 3pm

AS part of Drawsome’s day of workshops and an Indy Makers Market to complement MarkoLooks’ print swap exhibition of illustrators and printmakers, York’s Young Thugs Records are curating a free line-up of live music.

Taking part will be The Hazy Janes, Kell Chambers and Rachel Croft, singer, songwriter and illustrator to boot.

Breabach: First touring band to play Selby Town Hall in “far too long”. Picture: Paul Jennings

Welcome back of the week: Breabach, Selby Town Hall, Saturday, 8pm

GLASGOW folk luminaries Breabach will be the first touring band to play Selby Town Hall for almost 20 months this weekend.

“Leading lights of the Scottish roots music scene and five-time Scots Trad Music Award winners, they’re a really phenomenally talented band,” says Chris Jones, Selby Town Council’s arts officer. “It’s an absolute thrill to have professional music back in the venue. It’s been far too long!” Box office: 01757 708449, at selbytownhall.co.uk or on the door from 7.30pm.

Levelling up in York: Jazz funksters Level 42 in the groove at York Barbican on Sunday night

Eighties’ celebration of the week: Level 42, York Barbican, Sunday, doors 7pm

ISLE of Wight jazz funksters Level 42 revive those rubbery bass favourites Lessons In Love, The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up), Something About You, Running In The Family et al at York Barbican.

Here are the facts: Mark King’s band released 14 studio, seven live and six compilation albums, sold out Wembley Arena for 21 nights and chalked up 30 million album sales worldwide. 

This From Eternity To Here tour gig has been rearranged from October 2020; original tickets remain valid. Box office for “limited availability”: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Writes of passage: Musician and now author Richard Thompson

Guitarist of the week:  Richard Thompson, York Barbican, Monday, doors 7pm

RICHARD Thompson plays York Barbican on the back of releasing Beeswing, his April autobiography subtitled Losing My Way And Finding My Voice 1967-1975.

An intimate memoir of musical exploration, personal history and social revelation, it charts his co-founding of folk-rock pioneers Fairport Convention, survival of a car crash, formation of a duo with wife Linda and discovery of Sufism.

Move on from the back pages, here comes Richard Thompson OBE, aged 72, songwriter, singer and one of Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 20 Guitarists of All Time. Katherine Priddy supports. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

That clinches it: Emma Scott’s Macbeth leaps into the arms of Nell Frampton’s The Lady in rehearsals for York Shakespeare Project’s Macbeth. Picture: John Saunders

Something wicked this way comes…at last: York Shakespeare Project in Macbeth, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, October 26 to 30, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

THE curse of Macbeth combined with Lockdown 1’s imposition to put a stop to York Shakespeare Project’s Scottish Play one week before its March 2020 opening.

Rising like the ghost of Banquo, but sure to be better received, Leo Doulton’s resurrected production will run as the 37th play in the York charity’s mission to perform all Shakespeare’s known plays over 20 years.

Doulton casts Emma Scott’s Macbeth into a dystopian future, using a cyberpunk staging to bring to life this dark tale of ambition, murder and supernatural forces. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Ballet Black dancers Marie Astrid Mence, left, Isabela Coracy, Cira Robinson, Sayaka Ichikawa, Jose Alves, Ebony Thomas and Alexander Fadyiro in Mthuthuzeli’s The Waiting Game

Dance show of the week: Cassa Pancho’s Ballet Black, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday, 7.30pm

ARTISTIC director Cassa Pancho’s Ballet Black return to York with a double bill full of lyrical contrasts and beautiful movement.

Will Tuckett blends classical ballet, poetry and music to explore ideas of home and belonging in Then Or Now; fellow Olivier Award-winning choreographer Mthuthuzeli November contemplates the purpose of life in The Waiting Game. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

From Limpsey Gate Lane, August, by Sue Slack

Exhibition of the week: Fylingdales Group of Artists, Blossom Street Gallery, Blossom Street, York, until November 30

TWELVE Fylingdales Group members are contributing 31 works to this exhibition of Yorkshire works, mainly of paintings in oils, acrylics, gouache and limonite.

Two pieces by Paul Blackwell are in pastel; Angie McCall has incorporated collage in her mixed-media work and printmaker Michael Atkin features too.

Also participating are David Allen, fellow Royal Society of Marine Artist member and past president David Howell, Kane Cunningham, John Freeman, Linda Lupton, Don Micklethwaite, Bruce Mulcahy, Sue Slack and Ann Thornhill.

Fylingdales Group of Artists celebrates Yorkshire in Blossom Street Gallery show

From Limpsey Gate Lane, August, by Sue Slack

THE Fylingdales Group of Artists is exhibiting at Blossom Street Gallery, Blossom Street, York, until November 30.

Formed in 1925 in Denton Hawley’s studio in Robin Hood’s Bay with eight members and a mission to exhibit Yorkshire pictures: a modus operandi that prevails to this day. 

Through the decades, members included Algernon Newton, Roland Hill, Florence Hess, Albert Pile, Fred Williams, Will Taylor, William Dealtry and many more.

Whitby Abbey, Standing Proud, by Ann Thornhill

Twelve members are contributing 31 works to the Blossom Street Gallery exhibition, consisting mainly of paintings in oils, acrylics, gouache and limonite.

Two pieces by Paul Blackwell are in pastel; Angie McCall has incorporated collage in her mixed-media work and linocut, wood engraving, etching and aquatint printmaker Michael Atkin features too.

On show alongside them are works by David Allen, fellow Royal Society of Marine Artists member and past president David Howell, Kane Cunningham, John Freeman, Linda Lupton, Don Micklethwaite, Bruce Mulcahy, Sue Slack and Ann Thornhill.

Gallery opening hours are 10am to 4pm, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Rocky Shore In Sun, by Bruce Mulcahy, at Blossom Street Gallery, York

Who are the NEW artists in 2021’s York Open Studios? Six in the city to seek out

Serious advice from Joanna Lisowiec in her lettering series

AFTER the Covid-enforced fallow year of 2020, York Open Studios returns this weekend for its 20th parade of the city’s creative talent.

Preceded by tomorrow’s preview evening, from 6pm to 9pm, the event will see 145 artists and makers open 95 studios, homes and workplaces on July 10 and 11 and July 17 and 18, from 10am to 5pm.

Among them will be 43 debutants, prompting CharlesHutchPress to highlight six newcomers a day over the week ahead, in map guide order, as York prepares for a showcase of ceramic, collage, digital art, illustration, jewellery, mixed media, painting, print, photography, furniture, sculpture and textiles skills this month.

“Soothingly immersive”: Fiona Love’s art in her own words

Fiona Lane, painting, 8 Claremont Terrace, Gillygate, York

SELF-TAUGHT artist Fiona paints seascapes and landscapes, mostly on canvas.

“Most of my work is seas and trees,” she says. “I’m inspired by the beautiful and diverse Yorkshire countryside, which is so accessible to me.”

Favouring mixed media, she loves working with colour and light, creating pictures that she describes as “almost 3D” and “soothingly immersive”. 

“I prefer to paint outside,” says Fiona Lane, not least in her flower-filled courtyard

“I’m always developing my style,” she says. “I stretch and smooth paint which I apply with palette knives and brushes, adding details with other media. I prefer to paint outside, whether in the woods, by the sea or in my flower-filled York courtyard.”

Fiona will be taking part in tomorrow’s preview evening.

Creating textile designs is a form of meditation for Ealish Wilson

Ealish Wilson, textiles, PICA Studios, Grape Lane, York, second weekend only

TEXTILE designer Ealish has lived and worked in many places around the world, spending 15 years in the USA before making her way to York and joining the PICA Studios arts hub.

However, Japan was where her work was transformed. “Japan taught me that art exploration and practice is a lifelong journey from which we constantly learn,” she says.

“Experience informs the creative process over time, enhancing and developing an artist’s expression. It’s about seeing creativity in the everyday.”

She brings this philosophy to making her sculptural textiles, using a variety of substrates and techniques, including print, drawing, photography and stitching.

Ealish Wilson’s artistic philosophy: “Seeing creativity in the everyday”

“I repeat this process to create multiple iterations and layers to my designs,” she says. “Much of my process investigates pattern and its transformation through surface manipulation. I use many traditional hand methods of stitching, such as pleating and smocking, to physically alter my original designs.

“Frequently my work starts in the digital realm: whether photographing an object or one of my own paintings, it serves as inspiration for new work. Many of my images are everyday scenes or objects of purpose that appear mundane but feature a beautiful shape or colour that’s a perfect jumping-off point to create a textile.”

Ealish, who sees the craft of making as “my form or meditation”, is also exhibiting in the Westside Artists’ Momentum Summer Show at Blossom Street Gallery, York, until September 26.

Embroidery by Amy Butcher

Amy Butcher, textiles, 1 Carlton Cottages, Wigginton, York

FOR Amy’s applique-based hand embroidery, a collage of intricately cut fabric shapes creates a foundation. This is then stitched and embellished to make illustrative pieces rooted in nature and animals.

“My love of art and textiles started at school and has been a passion ever since,” says the largely self-taught Amy.

Amy Butcher: A passion for textiles

“The support and inspiration from an embroidery class enabled me to continue to develop my work and confidence, and in 2014 I was fortunate to get the opportunity to work with the greetings card company Bug Art.”

She now works on developing her own range of greetings cards, prints, cushion panels, coasters and embroidery stitch kits, printed from her original textile art for Beaks & Bobbins.

Tomorrow’s preview evening will be the first chance to catch her York Open Studios debut.

Golden Orioles, an illustration, by Joanna Lisowiec

Joanna Lisowiec, illustration, 40 Hempland Drive, York

JOANNA’S prints and illustrations look to nature, classical art and mythology for inspiration, as she focuses on birds and animals in her bold, clean and distinctive linocuts, drawings and paintings.

“My aspiration is to capture truths that make one ponder the beauty of life,” she says.

Originally from Poland and brought up in Colorado, USA, and Switzerland, she first came to Britain to study illustration at Edinburgh College of Art, falling in love with the wild Highlands and later with the “quaint English countryside” when she moved to Yorkshire for her MA in advertising and design from the University of Leeds.

“As an illustrator and printmaker, I’m known for a bold style of illustration with lots of texture, usually focused on the beauty of nature and narratives inspired by folklore. I love reading books and would love to illustrate a classic novel one day,” says Joanna, whose surname is pronounced “Lease-oviets”.

“When I’m not working, I can be found with my nose in a book, taking long walks in the countryside, drinking tea and listening to the rain.”

She will be opening her studio for tomorrow’s preview.

Black Mist, by Dee Thwaite

Dee Thwaite, painting, 10 Bedale Avenue, York, second weekend only

DEE uses acrylic paint, inks, graphite, oil pastels and charcoal in her sea and landscape paintings and drawings, marked by stormy skies, movement in the clouds, shifting light and the changing seasons.

Dee Thwaite at work in her studio

Mainly self-taught, this contemporary abstract artist expresses her love of the North Yorkshire coastline on canvas, board and paper in works that combine both a physical and emotional response when she paints, predominantly with her hands, as opposed to brushes.

“Painting has become such a healing and therapeutic part of my life and one of my greatest passions,” says Dee.

A Tabitha Grove painting on handmade paper

Tabitha Grove, painting, Arnup Studios, Panman Lane, Holtby, York

TABITHA uses bold colour, contrast, ink, watercolour, gold leaf and collage on handmade paper, fabric and even garments to explore perceptions of the body and how they can be challenged and celebrated. 

Her career as an actor and costume designer for film and theatre has informed Tabitha’s passion for storytelling and her fascination with the way our bodies interact with our environments.

Tabitha Grove: Actor, costume designer, art therapist, piano restorer….and artist

Tabitha’s career portfolio career extends to co-managing Look Gallery, in Helmsley, being an art therapist in hospitals and now working in piano restoration, where she learns rare skills that influence her art.

Each experience has informed Tabitha’s style, she says, leading to her “bringing diverse technique to a new perspective”.

TOMORROW: Reg Walker, Michelle Galloway, Judith Glover and Here Be Monsteras Ceramics (Kayti Peschke).

Who are the NEW artists in 2021’s York Open Studios? The joy of six more to find

An exploration of line and colour by Nick Kobyluch

AFTER the Covid-enforced fallow year of 2020, York Open Studios returns this weekend for its 20th parade of the city’s creative talent.

Preceded by Friday’s 6pm to 9pm preview evening, the event will see 145 artists and makers open 95 studios, homes and workplaces on July 10 and 11 and July 17 and 18, from 10am to 5pm.

Among them will be 43 debutants, prompting CharlesHutchPress to highlight six newcomers a day over this week, in map guide order, as York prepares for a showcase of ceramic, collage, digital art, illustration, jewellery, mixed media, painting, print, photography, furniture, sculpture and textiles skills this month.

“I love the decisiveness of the pen when committing pen to paper,” says Mark Druery

Mark Druery, drawing, 63 St Paul’s Terrace, Holgate, York

YORKSHIREMAN Mark is inseparably both an architect and an artist.

Trained at Canterbury School of Art and Design, where he developed his love for art, architecture and Italy, he works mainly with technical pens directly onto watercolour paper, to which he applies watercolour wash and accents “if I have the time”.

“I love the immediacy of mark-making and the decisiveness of the pen when committing pen to paper,” he says, ahead of showing sketches and drawings of such favourite places along his travels as York, Yorkshire and Venice in his York Open Studios debut.

“There is always a risk factor when using pen directly and you must constantly adapt when drawing and evolve and change with the process, just like being an architect; I cannot take my building down and start again!”

Mark Druery: Artist and architect

More of Mark’s pen and watercolour sketches are on display in the Momentum Summer Show, the Westside Artists’ exhibition at Blossom Street, York, until September 26.

“I never forget the place where I sat and passed the time and sketched and painted,” he says. “The concentration required in this process to capture a place on paper commits the details to memory far better than any photograph and remains with you forever.”

He will be among the YOS artists welcoming visitors at Friday’s 6pm to 9pm preview.

Kate Akrill’s ceramics, made for “those who love the spookier side of life”

Kate Akrill, ceramics, 14 Caroline Close, Holgate, York

BY day a librarian, by night Kate is a self-taught potter, burning the midnight oil to make skulls, cauldrons and shadow-box altars.

Under the guise of Skullduggery Ceramics, she creates “lovely and unusual, handmade, ceramic homeware and jewellery for those who love the spookier side of life”. 

Drawing on strange and peculiar themes from gothic literature, witchcraft, superstition and Victorian mourning, she makes subtly unusual jewellery, combining traditional motifs with unexpected imagery and textures.

Kate Akrill: Diurnal librarian, nocturnal potter

Kate uses hand-building techniques and distorts the original purpose of found objects and moulds to turn clay into striking – and sometimes unsettling – designs.

Like Mark Druery, she is taking part in the Momentum Summer Show, mounted by Westside Artists at Blossom Street Gallery, and will be opening her home studio for the YOS preview evening.

Mixed-media work by Lisa Lundqvist

Lisa Lundqvist, mixed media, garden studio behind 55 Green Lane, York

LISA uses foraged and found objects in nature to create art that reflects her love and respect for the natural environment around her, whether expressed through mixed-media assemblage, installations, eco-printed textiles or paintings in oil and cold wax.

After pursuing an international career in portrait and wedding photography, Lisa expanded her creative skills by completing an Access Art & Design diploma last year, attaining a distinction.

Lisa Lundqvist: Developing work in both fine art and textiles

An emerging body of art in mixed media led to her acceptance onto an MA course in Creative Practice, where she is now developing work in textiles and fine art.

“My main focus of research is in discovering environmentally conscious techniques for eco-dyeing and printing textiles using local plants,” she says.

The first chance to visit her garden studio will be at Friday evening’s preview.

Nick Kobyluch: Saw the light; left London for York

Nick Kobyluch, drawing and painting, 73 Acomb Road, York

NICK moved to York in 2018 from London, where he had been part of Skylark Galleries.

His drawings and paintings range from landscapes and portraits to both representational and abstract, experimental mark-making in an exploration of line and colour.

“There will be a range of framed and unframed pieces, as well as sketchbooks, on show to view,” says Nick, who has taken part in many shows and art fairs over the past few years and has his work in many private collections.

“My work preserves precious, fleeting moments,” says portrait artist Lucy McElroy

Lucy McElroy, portraiture, 24 Manor Drive South, York

PORTRAIT artist Lucy combines traditional techniques of drawing and painting with expressive mark-making to create beautiful, emotive images with a realistic likeness to her subjects. 

She takes commissions as well as dedicating time to developing her own creative practice in her home studio. “Deeply aware of the transient nature of life, my work preserves precious, fleeting moments,” says Lucy, who works in oils, charcoal and soft pastels.

“My present practice looks at family relationships and explores how our family histories shape who we are today.”

Lucy McElroy: Exploring how our family histories shape who we are today

Lucy, who studied Fine Art at Leeds University, has enjoyed 16 years of teaching art and now balances her time between the joys and challenges of being a mother to a young family, teaching at All Saints RC School, in York, and her artistic creativity.

You can see more of Lucy’s portraits at the Westside Artists show at Blossom Street Gallery, York, through the summer.

Glass bobbin, “invisible” work, by Liz O’Connell

Liz O’Connell, glass, 53 Plantation Drive, York

LIZ is an emerging artist of Irish and Yorkshire heritage, who uses many techniques and processes in glass, making objects in her York studio.

Fascinated by textiles and issues of “invisibility” and “skill value”, she completed a degree in Contemporary Craft at York College and then studied for a Masters at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland, where she expanded her practice to incorporate film and performance.

“I explore domestic narratives by making glass textiles and using them performatively, exploring complex ideas about gender and ‘invisible’ work,” says Liz. “I re-appropriate domestic detergents and materials; subverting domestic chores by filming the process and by creating film stills and canvases.

“I explore domestic narratives by making glass textiles and using them performatively,” says Liz O’Connell

“I want us to consider the psychological impact of constant caring, giving and invisible labour. The films and stills capture the process and the domestic sphere in which I work. The failure to measure or acknowledge unpaid labour is the biggest data gap in collecting economic statistics.”

Liz will give demonstrations of her working practice each day, preceded by opening her studio for Friday’s preview evening.

TOMORROW: Fiona Lane, Ealish Wilson, Amy Butcher, Joanna Lisowiec, Dee Thwaite and Tabitha Grove.

Who are the NEW artists in 2021’s York Open Studios? Meet another six-pack…

Pamela Thorby: Recorder virtuoso turned ceramicist

AFTER the Covid-enforced fallow year of 2020, York Open Studios returns this weekend for its 20th parade of the city’s creative talent.

Preceded by Friday’s preview evening, the event will see 145 artists and makers open 95 studios, homes and workplaces on July 10 and 11 and July 17 and 18, from 10am to 5pm.

Among them will be 43 debutants, prompting CharlesHutchPress to highlight six newcomers a day over the week ahead, in map guide order, as York prepares for a showcase of ceramic, collage, digital art, illustration, jewellery, mixed media, painting, print, photography, furniture, sculpture and textiles skills this month.

“My work aims to abstract the modern, decaying landscape with textures and geometric composition,” says Mick Leach

Mick Leach, painting, 3 Thorpe Street, Scarcroft Road, York

AS a self-taught artist and full-time worker, Mick’s side-career in painting has been taking shape steadily since early 2016. “I’m still learning,” he says.

He works mainly with acrylic paint and chalk powder, along with other media, that he applies to MDF board to achieve a layered, industrial aesthetic in his abstract paintings.

Mick Leach: Self-taught abstract artist

He draws inspiration from El Lissitzky, the Russian artist, designer, photographer, typographer, polemicist and architect, and Kazemir Malevich, the pioneering fellow Russian avant-garde artist and art theorist.  

“Pursuing my urge to create, my work aims to abstract the modern, decaying landscape with textures and geometric composition,” says Mick, who won the 2019 Art& York Best Raw Talent award.

Look out too for Evie Leach’s jewellery designs in the same house. Both Mick and Evie will take part in the preview evening from 6pm to 9pm.

Ceramicist Pietro Sanna in his studio

Pietro Sanna, ceramics, 44 Dale Street, York

BORN in Sardinia and now working and living in York, Pietro has always been interested in art. During his degree studies in Contemporary 3D Craft at York College, he started to focus on the use of the ceramic medium.

Since graduating, he has taken part in The Kunsthuis Annual Ceramics Show, at the Dutch House, Mill Green Farm, Crayke, and in exhibitions at the Silson Contemporary Gallery, in Harrogate, where he is a gallery artist.

Pietro creates hand-built vessels as carriers for broad types of narratives; his practice taking inspiration from experimentation with clay and the possibilities it offers during the act of making.

Charlotte Dawson: Artist and facilitator

Charlotte Dawson, painting, 44 Dale Street, York

PIETRO’S partner, Charlotte is a vital player in York’s art scene, organising the York River Art Market, by Lendal Bridge, where artists and craftspeople set up stalls on Dame Judi Dench Walk at weekends in the summer months.

In her own work, facilitator Charlotte is a multi-disciplined artist, focusing on abstract painting and jewellery. She began her formal arts education in 1996 at Westwood Art College, Scarborough, later taking a short course at York School of Jewellery in 2010.

“My painting seeks to create a visual language, working intuitively to discover interesting compositions and colours through energetic mark making,” says Charlotte Dawson

After completing an Access course in Art & Design at York College in 2012,  she gained a BA Hons in Art & Design Interdisciplinary at Leeds University of Art in 2015.

“My painting seeks to create a visual language, working intuitively to discover interesting compositions and colours through energetic mark making, while my jewellery designs are led by technique and colour to create contemporary and everyday pieces,” says Charlotte.

A ghostly artwork by Caroline Lewis

Caroline Lewis, collage, 24 Hob Moor Terrace, York

LANDSCAPES and ghosts vie for centre stage in Caroline’s artwork.

Scenes of (mainly) Yorkshire inspire the landscapes, depicted in collage, lino print and paint. As for the ghosts, images sparked by Covid-19 and abandoned places are captured in collage, transfer printing and paint.

Caroline Lewis: Ceramicist, jewellery designer, delicatessen owner, gardener, pianist and collage artist

Caroline has a BA Hons in ceramics from West Surrey College of Art and studied on a one-year jewellery course full time at Maidenhead College of Art.

She owned a delicatessen for 30 years until taking early retirement in 2017 to give her more time to take up art again, along with gardening, re-learning the piano, walking and just enjoying life full stop.

David Bowie, portrait, by Lucie Wake. “It’s all about the eyes,” she says, and indeed the eyes have it

Lucie Wake, painting, 15 Slingsby Grove, York

ART runs like a seam through the life of Lucie, who has a BA Hons in Ceramics.

She built up a successful licensing company, Hocus Pocus, her designs adorning many products across most of the high-street stores. In 2005, she ventured into painting, concentrating on portraits, both of people and animals.

Lucie captures the soul of her portrait subjects through her expressive use of delicious slabs of oil paint on canvas. “It’s all about the eyes, they capture your attention,” she says.

Lucie Wake: Portrait artist for people and canines alike

Lucie, who promotes her art via Facet Painting, will be participating in Friday’s preview night from 6pm to 9pm and will be giving demonstrations over the two weekends.

Her work also can be found in the Momentum Summer Show, presented by the York art group Westside Artists at Blossom Street Gallery, by Micklegate Bar, York, until September 26. Gallery opening hours are: Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 10am to 4pm; Covid safety measures are in place.

Stoneware-fired porcelain sculptural vessels by Pamela Thorby

Pamela Thorby, ceramics, 11 Middlethorpe Grove, York 

PAMELA left behind a distinguished career in music as a recorder virtuoso and academic to pursue a new path in fine art.

Her stoneware-fired porcelain sculptural vessels are “imagined but reminiscent of a multiplicity of organic forms”: whether interstellar, fossil, micro-organism or coral.

“I aspire to make work light enough to be hung in the air; strong enough to be placed piece inside piece, creating new possibilities of form and meaning,” says Pamela. “My aim is to translate the dynamism and sensitivity of my former career as a musician into a ‘visual music’ in clay.”

She is “so excited” to have been selected for her first participation in York Open Studios. “This was another one of the goals that I set myself and here we are, in my third year as a ceramicist, and I’m working towards a major body of work for this month’s fantastic event,” she says.

“I aspire to make work light enough to be hung in the air,” says Pamela Thorby

During lockdown, Pamela worked intensively towards a collection of thrown functional stoneware to partner with her sculptural hand-built porcelain forms. “The concentrated discipline of daily wheel practice has provided meditative solace and structure in extraordinary times,” she says.

In her esteemed career in music, Pamela was professor of recorder at the Royal Academy of Music in London until 2019; the regular recorder player for Welsh composer Sir Karl Jenkins’s projects and a member of such groups as La Serenissima, New London Consort and Palladian Ensemble with Baroque violinist Rachel Podger.

In May 2007, she performed a radical fusion of jazz and folk music with Perfect Houseplants at the National Centre for Early Music in York, an innovative experience she described memorably as: “I’m a bit like a gherkin on a salad plate: I’m adding piquancy to the mix.”

She will give demonstrations during the two YOS weekends and will be opening up her home studio for the Friday preview too.

TOMORROW: Mark Druery, Kate Akrill, Lisa Lundqvist, Nick Kobyluch, Lucy McElroy and Liz O’Connell.

More Things To Do in and around York as ‘Byrne out’ strikes tonight’s comedy gig. List No. 39, courtesy of The Press, York

Shock of the new: Milton Jones looks startled at the prospect of replacing Ed Byrne at short notice for tonight’s comedy bill at York Theatre Royal

AWAY from all that football, Charles Hutchinson finds plenty of cause for cheer beyond chasing an inflated pig’s bladder, from a late-change comedy bill to Ayckbourn on film, York artists to a park bench premiere.

Late substitution of the week: Byrne out, Jones in, for Live At The Theatre Royal comedy night, York Theatre Royal, tonight, 7.30pm

ED Byrne will not top the Live At The Theatre Royal comedy bill tonight after all. “We are sorry to announce that due to circumstances beyond our control, Ed is now unable to appear,” says the official statement.

The whimsical Irish comedian subsequently has tweeted his “You Need To Self-Isolate” notification, running until 23.59pm on July 7.

Well equipped to take over at short notice is the quip-witted pun-slinger Milton Jones, joining Rhys James, Maisie Adam and host Arthur Smith. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Naomi Petersen and Bill Champion in Alan Ayckbourn’s The Girl Next Door at the SJT and now on film too. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

“Film of the week”: Alan Ayckburn’s The Girl Next Door, from Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, until Sunday

THE SJT’s film of Alan Ayckbourn’s latest premiere, The Girl Next Door, is available on the Scarborough theatre’s website, sjt.uk.com.

Directed by Ayckbourn, his 85th play can be seen on stage in The Round until Saturday and now in a filmed recording in front of a live audience until midnight on Sunday.

One day in 2020 lockdown, veteran actor Rob spots a stranger hanging out the washing in the adjoining garden, but his neighbours have not been around for months. Who is the mysterious girl next door? And why is she wearing 1940s’ clothing?

Ray of sunshine: Edwin Ray as Tick/Mitzi in Priscilla Queen Of The Desert at Leeds Grand Theatre. Picture: Darren Bell

Musical of the week ahead: Priscilla Queen Of The Desert, Leeds Grand Theatre, July 6 to 10

PRISCILLA Queen Of The Desert returns to Leeds for seven socially distanced performances in a new production produced by Mark Goucher and, for the first time, Jason Donovan, star of the original West End show and two UK tours.

Loaded up with glorious costumes, fabulous feathers and dance-floor classics, three friends hop aboard a battered old bus bound for Alice Springs to put on the show of a lifetime.

Miles Western plays Bernadette, Nick Hayes, Adam/Felicia and Edwin Ray, Tick/Mitzi, in this heart-warming story of self-discovery, sassiness and acceptance. Box office: 0113 243 0808 or at leedsgrandtheatre.com.

Solo show: Polymath Phil Grainger puts his songwriting in the spotlight in his Clive concert in Stillington

Gig of the week outside York: Clive, alias Phil Grainger, At The Mill, Stillington, near York, tomorrow, 7.30pm

CLIVE is the solo music project of Easingwold singer, songwriter, musician, sound engineer, magician, actor, Gobbledigook Theatre director and event promoter Phil Grainger.

As the voice and the soul behind Orpheus, Eurydice and The Gods The Gods The Gods, Clive finds the globe-trotting Grainger back home, turning his hand to a song-writing project marked by soaring vocal and soulful musicianship. Expect a magical evening wending through new work and old classics in two sets, one acoustic, the other electric. Box office: tickettailor.com/events/atthemill/512182.

Emily Hansen’s Pilgrim 14 as Mary Magdalene in a rehearsal for A Resurrection For York at Dean’s Park. Picture: John Saunders

Open-air theatre event of the weekend: A Resurrection For York, Residents Garden, Minster Library, Dean’s Park, York, Saturday and Sunday, 11am, 2pm, 4pm

THE wagons are in place for A Resurrection For York, presented by York Mystery Plays Supporters Trust, York Festival Trust and York Minster.

Philip Parr, artistic director of Parrabbola, directs a community cast in an hour-long outdoor performance, scripted by Parr and 2018 York Mystery Plays director Tom Straszewski from the York Mystery Plays cycle of the crucifixion and the events that followed. Tickets are on sale at ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/york/residents-garden-deans-park/a-resurrection-for-york/.

Autonomous, by Sharon McDonagh, from the Momentum Summer Show at Blossom Street Gallery, York

Exhibition of the week and beyond: Momentum Summer Show, Westside Artists, Blossom Street Gallery, by Micklegate Bar, York, until September 26

YORK art group Westside Artists, a coterie of artists from the city’s Holgate and West areas, are exhibiting paintings, portraits, photomontage, photography, metalwork, textiles, ceramics and mixed-media art at Blossom Street Gallery.

Taking part are Adele Karmazyn; Carolyn Coles; Donna Maria Taylor; Ealish Wilson; Fran Brammer; Jane Dignum; Jill Tattersall; Kate Akrill and Lucy McElroy. So too are Lucie Wake; Marc Godfrey-Murphy; Mark Druery; Michelle Hughes; Rich Rhodes; Robin Grover-Jaques, Sharon McDonagh and Simon Palmour.

The Park Keeper director Matt Aston, left, actor Sean McKenzie and writer Mike Kenny at Rowntree Park, York. Picture: Northedge Photography

Theatre premiere of the week ahead: Park Bench Theatre in The Park Keeper, The Friends’ Garden, Rowntree Park, York, July 7 to 17 (except July 11)

AFTER last summer’s trilogy of solo shows, Matt Aston’s Park Bench Theatre return to Rowntree Park with Olivier Award-winning York writer Mike Kenny’s new monologue to mark the park’s centenary.

Performed by Sean McKenzie, The Park Keeper is set in York in the summer of 1945, when Rowntree Park’s first, and so far only, park keeper, ‘Parky’ Bell, is about to retire. That can mean only one thing, a speech, but what can he say? How can he close this chapter on his life? Will he be able to lock the gates to his kingdom one last time? Box office: 01904 623568, at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk or via parkbenchtheatre.com.

Andy Fairweather Low: Booked into Pocklington Arts Centre for next February

Gig announcement of the week outside York: Andy Fairweather Low, Pocklington Arts Centre, February 11 2022

ANDY Fairweather Low, the veteran Welsh guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and producer, will return to Pocklington next February.

Founder and cornerstone of Sixties’ hitmakers Amen Corner and later part of Eric Clapton and Roger Waters’ bands, Cardiff-born Fairweather Low, 72, will perform with The Low Riders: drummer Paul Beavis, bassist Dave Bronze and saxophonist Nick Pentelow. Box office: pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Jane McDonald: Lighting up York Barbican in July 2022 rather than July 4 this summer

Rearranged gig announcement of the week in York: Jane McDonald, York Barbican, July 22 2022

WAKEFIELD cabaret singer and television personality Jane McDonald’s Let The Light In show is on the move to next summer.

For so long booked in as the chance to “Get The Lights Back On” at York Barbican on July 4, the Government’s postponement of “Freedom Day” from June 21 to July 19 at the earliest has enforced the date change for a show first booked in for 2020. Tickets remain valid; box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Westside Artists to gain Momentum in summer show at Blossom Street Gallery

 Autonomous, mixed-media collage on box canvas, by Sharon McDonagh, long-listed for the 2021 Aesthetica Art Prize and now to be shown in the Momentum Summer Show at Blossom Street Gallery, York

YORK art group Westside Artists open their Momentum Summer Show at Blossom Street Gallery, by Micklegate Bar, York, on Friday (25/6/2021).

This coterie of artists from the Holgate and West area of York will be showing a varied range of disciplines, from painting and photomontage to textiles, ceramics and mixed-media art.

Among the participating artists, and a key organiser too, is Sharon McDonagh, from Holgate, who had her mixed-media work long-listed for this year’s Aesthetica Art Prize, whose accompanying exhibition is running at York Art Gallery. One of Sharon’s submitted pieces, Autonomous, is now featuring in the Momentum show.

Missy T, oil on canvas, by Lucie Wake

Joining her at Blossom Street Gallery are: Adele Karmazyn, digital photomontages; Carolyn Coles, seascapes; Donna Maria Taylor, mixed media; Ealish Wilson, textiles; Fran Brammer, textiles; Jane Dignum, prints; Jill Tattersall, mixed media; Kate Akrill, Skullduggery ceramics, and Lucy McElroy, portraits.

So too are: Lucie Wake, from Facet Painting, paintings and portraits; Marc Godfrey-Murphy, alias MarcoLooks, illustrations; Mark Druery, pen and watercolour sketches; Michelle Hughes, prints; Rich Rhodes, ceramics; Robin Grover-Jaques, painting and metalwork, and Simon Palmour, photographs.

The Momentum Summer Show will be gaining momentum until September 26. Gallery opening hours are: Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 10am to 4pm; Covid-compliant measures are in place.

Untitled, ‘Dark and Light’ acrylic on canvas, by Robin Grover-Jacques

Sharon McDonagh finds beauty in decay in a city where buildings are losing their soul

Shades Of Decay 1, by Sharon McDonagh

SHARON McDonagh cannot recall any past Urban Decay exhibition in the historic city of York.

“So, this show will be quite unique and probably a tad controversial for York,” she says, introducing her Fragments artwork as lead artist in the Urban Decay winter show at Blossom Street Gallery, in the shadow of Micklegate Bar, York.

“With the new development plans being released late last year for Piccadilly and the public view on the design of the new hotel, especially the Banana Warehouse façade, I’m exhibiting my paintings of these buildings, as well as a new one of the lovely derelict ‘Malthouse’ building in The Crescent that was, up until recently, taken over by Space Invaders as a pop-up arts, craft, food and drink space until its demolition.”  

Sharon is drawn to painting the “darker side” to York, in particular to its derelict buildings, against the backdrop of her high-profile past career as a police forensic artist. That work required her to draw dead bodies, creating artist’s impressions of unidentified fatalities from mortuary photographs and crime-scene information, and you can make the psychologist’s leap between death and decay if that is your Freudian wont.

“It might seem mad going from being a forensic artist depicting bodies to doing paintings of decay, but I suppose it’s all an organic path of death and destruction,” she says.

Driven by a passion for a nostalgia and a fascination with urban decay, the Holgate artist sees both dereliction in York and now dereliction of duty among the city’s architects and developers.

Switched on but empty: one of Sharon McDonagh’s Fragments at Blossom Street Gallery

“Redevelopment, if it’s done in the right way, is fine, but I don’t think they’re empathetic with what the building was originally. They’re too consumed by money, not by aesthetics, which is ironic when we’re living in a beautiful city like York.”

Sharon took part in York Open Studios for the first time last spring – and will do so again at Venue 57 in April – when her exhibition of derelict buildings had the title of Transition. “What’s been lost in York’s buildings is soul,” she says.

“Like when Space Invaders took over the ‘Malthouse’, different organic communities came together and gave it soul – it was always busy, it had such a good vibe, and because it was off the beaten track, you didn’t get stag and hen party groups going there – and it makes me mad that other places in York are not doing the same.

“So, when I saw the plans for Piccadilly, I thought ‘here we go again’. It’s not about being radical; it’s about being in tune with how York was.

“I think of all of York’s forgotten buildings that people walk past but don’t give a thought to, but people worked in those buildings, lived in those buildings, had businesses in them, and we need to utilise what’s been left derelict. But, as I said before, it seems to be York is becoming soulless.

The Front Elevation, The Malthouse, by Sharon McDonagh, the latest addition to her Transitions series of derelict York buildings

“The opportunity to make something of York’s old buildings is wasted by lack of creativity and empathy for what was there before, and I just don’t know what designers, planners and architects are going to do with the city next.”

You will not be surprised that Sharon is a supporter of the somewhat contentious Spark:York small business enterprise in 23 “upcycled” shipping containers in Piccadilly. “I love it! People who don’t go there are the ones who criticise it, saying it’s an eyesore, but there was nothing there before, and yes, four of the businesses that started there have moved to bigger premises,” she says.

Sharon has another reason for “always loving” derelict buildings, she reveals. “I enjoyed the rave scene of the late Eighties and early Nineties that took over derelict places, though I was more intent on looking around the buildings than dancing!” she says. “I know it was illegal, but you could walk around these amazing old buildings, which was fantastic.”

For her Fragments show, she has complemented her 2019 Transition buildings with new paintings inspired by her work in end-of-life care, personal experience and working with dementia patients.

“The Fragments series is an exploration into the fragility of life,” she says of her tactile paintings that evoke emotion, nostalgia and intrigue. “The vintage light switches and sockets symbolise the person, while their last moments and memories are represented by the fragments of wallpaper and tiles. The last glimpses of life, the last remaining fragments before they die.

“I thought of light switches and sockets, because of the act of switching on and off lights and then life finally being switched off.”

In her artwork, she creates highly textured acrylic and multi-media paintings that examine “the beauty that nature makes through decay”. Basing her Fragments designs on vintage wallpaper, she makes and hand paints all the pieces of wallpaper and tiles separately. She then distresses them to look old and decayed before adding them to her paintings.

“When you see a derelict house, there are so many levels of paint and wallpaper, so many different lives have been lived there, so many layers to those lives, that it’s akin to your own life, which has many layers,” she says

Analysing her subject matter, Sharon notes: “I always have a bit of a dark side, don’t I? People think I must have a broom and cauldron at home and fly around at night! But I love how natural decay can cause beauty.

“It’s about change; urban decay is about natural change, but we don’t like change, or people or things dying, but we can’t shy away from it.

Miss You, by Sharon McDonagh, dedicated to her late father. Note the receiver, dislodged off the hook

“It’s that simple. We’re here and then we’re gone, but people don’t like to talk about death – but it’s been in my working life for a long time, first as a police forensic artist and then at the hospital.”

Her artistic outpourings have helped Sharon deal with her own grief. “When a parent goes – my dad had cancer – that grief changes you forever, you feel it every day, but you grasp at what keeps them alive in your thoughts, you grasp at what reminds you of them. That’s why there’s nostalgia in my paintings,” she says.

“I’ve dedicated the painting of a telephone in the Fragments series to my father, so I’ve called it Miss You, and symbolically the receiver is off the hook to signify the last missed call.”

Sharon always paints “from the heart, not from the bank balance”. “That’s the right way. If someone stands in front of one of my paintings and gets an emotional response, that means more to me than money in the bank,” she says.

Shades Of Decay 2, by Sharon McDonagh, at Blossom Street Gallery

“When I’m painting, it has to mean something to me, or it won’t mean something to someone else when they look at it.

“I also like my paintings to be tactile. If you can touch something, it evokes memories, and that’s why I like doing 3D pieces and collages, so you can touch them and all your senses are working at once. I love touching paintings, though I once got chucked out of a gallery for doing that!”

From paintings, to prints and cards, Sharon’s Fragments are in touching distance at Blossom Street Gallery until the end of February. “It’s great to be invited to do an exhibition on Urban Decay, which I don’t think has been done in York before, and it’s been really good to get  feedback on it,” she says.

What would York’s planners, designers and architects make of it, you wonder.

York artist Sharon McDonagh, standing by her Fragments artwork at Blossom Street Gallery’s Urban Decay exhibition in York

Did you know?

FOR many years, Sharon McDonagh created artist’s impressions of unidentified fatalities from mortuary photographs and crime-scene information.

She gained recognition for her work within this field on television, as well as in the media, on account of her unusual work and experiences.

She was commissioned as an artist by the BBC to produce the drawing of a late relative of footballer-turned-television-presenter Gary Lineker for BBC1’s Who Do You Think You Are?. 

She has been involved in community art projects with disadvantaged young people and now works with teenagers from challenging backgrounds, promoting art as a way to express themselves. 

At York Hospital, she is delivering a unique project on the dementia ward, using art as a way to encourage patient interaction and alleviate anxiety. 

The Banana Warehouse, Piccadilly, one of Sharon McDonagh’s Transitions series, to be exhibited at City Screen, York, in May and June

Sharon McDonagh’s exhibitions

Urban Decay, Blossom Street Gallery, Blossom Street Gallery, York, until February 29. Joint show with Fran Brammer, Linda Harvey, Simon Sugden and Jill Tattersall.

York Open Studios “Taster” Exhibition, Central Methodist Church, St Saviourgate, York, April 3 (private virew), 4 and 5.

York Open Studios, Venue 57, Holgate, York, April 17, preview evening 7pm to 9pm; April 18, 19, 25 and 26, 10am to 5pm.

City Screen café bar, Coney Street, York, May 19 to June 15, featuring six Piccadilly paintings. “The café has soul,” she says. “The wall is exposed brickwork, which is a perfect backdrop for my work.”

Resonate solo exhibition, Basement Arts Project, Beeston, Leeds, June 22 to July 21. “It really will be in a basement,” she says.