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

Village Gallery to reopen with first group exhibition by York’s Westside Artists

In Her Shadows, by Adele Karmazyn

VILLAGE Gallery, in Colliergate, York, will reopen on Wednesday (2/12/2020), when Lockdown 2 ends, to present the first collective exhibition for York’s Westside Artists.

Running until January 23 2021, Immersed will showcase the work of Adele Karmazyn; Carolyn Coles; Donna Maria Taylor;  Ealish Wilson; Fran Brammer; Jane Dignum; Jill Tattersall; Lucy McElroy; Marc Godfrey-Murphy; Richard Rhodes; Robin Grover-Jacques and Sharon McDonagh.

Cayton Bay, by Carolyn Coles

“2020 has been an extremely hard year everyone, not least of all for artists, with many exhibitions and events being cancelled,” says gallery owner and curator Simon Main.

“So, Village Gallery is delighted to announce that its next post-lockdown exhibition will feature a group of local artists in their first collective showing.

Beehives & Sunflowers, by Jane Dignum

“The ‘Westside Artists’ is a small group of artists based around Holgate in York, who work in varied disciplines, such as painting, photomontage, print making, collage textile art, pottery and mixed media, and in varied subjects, from landscapes and seascapes to portraiture and abstract.”

Village Gallery’s opening hours are 10am to 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday, with Covid-secure social distancing measures in place.

Moon jars, by Richard Rhodes

“This exhibition is opening in time for everyone to find a truly unique Christmas gift while supporting local artists,” says Simon.

“Aside from its regularly changing art exhibitions, Village Gallery is York’s official stockist of Lalique glass and crystal, and additionally sells art, jewellery, ceramics, glass and sculpture, much of it the work of local artists.”

Child With Caterpillar, by Lucy McElroy

Carolyn Coles loves to be besides the sea as tide comes in for Village Gallery show

Holding On – Filey, by Carolyn Coles

YORK seascape artist Carolyn Coles will hold her first exhibition since lockdown at Village Gallery, Colliergate, York, from August 4 to September 19.

Favouring a limited palette to give her work identity, simplicity and life, Carolyn paints mostly on bespoke canvasses in oils and sometimes acrylics, applied with palette knives and flat brushes.

“I like to capture atmosphere, usually with a leaning towards dark and moody and generally on a larger scale,” she says.

Carolyn’s formal artistic education began with studying art and design at York College, then specialising in illustration at Hereford College of Art and Design, earning distinctions in the early 1990s.

Too Late To Go Home, by Carolyn Coles

After a career taking in marketing art materials and graphic design and illustration in journalism, Carolyn now devotes her time to painting, exhibiting and selling work both on the home market in York, London, Derby, Manchester and Leeds and internationally too.

Carolyn’s love of the seaside and nature in general is reflected in her new collection. “The impressionistic style allows the viewer to interpret their own story and pull their own memories back into play,” she says.

Carolyn was invited by curator and owner Simon Main to mount her “Oh I Do Like To Be Besides The…” show at Village Gallery.

“We select artists by going out to events like York Open Studios and North Yorkshire Open Studios, Art& and the Staithes art festival… and occasionally we get artists coming through the door, canvasses under their arms, trying to find a place to show,” he says.

Lifeline, by Carolyn Coles

“We met Carolyn and saw her work at her first York Open Studios show back in 2019 and were so taken with her seascapes – many inspired by and maybe giving a different perspective of the Yorkshire coastline – that we started talking about a show.

“The exhibition starting next week is the result of over a year of talking and getting a match in the diary. So, we are delighted we have finally made it and are really looking forward to hanging Carolyn’s beautiful work. And who doesn’t love Filey?”

Here Carolyn talks the easel life with Charles Hutchinson.

You were due to exhibit at York Open Studios and Staithes Festival of Art and Heritage Festival this year, both alas cancelled. Will those works now form the Village Gallery exhibition?
“Yes. All except one of my bigger pieces that found its new home just before lockdown; a new one from a smaller set of works, which was bought as a special present for Mothering Sunday; another for a secret wedding, and lastly one I sold, giving all proceeds towards a group in York who set themselves up to make and distribute face visors using 3-D printing technology.

“The festival in Staithes usually happens in September, so I would have expected more new works by then.”

I Spy Something Beginning With W, by Carolyn Coles

What did you do in lockdown when you couldn’t go down to the sea?
“I tried my hand in home-schooling, which wasn’t anything like I had imagined it to be. I rearranged furniture and took over our dining room as a studio, which offered mixed results, partly because I’d forgotten what it was like to have an honest live audience offering encouraging suggestions.

“I couldn’t escape to the loft, my old studio space, as it was now my partner’s office from home. And although I couldn’t go to the sea, the lockdown gave me a brilliant opportunity to sit and immerse myself intensively in the seascapes I had just been working on.” 

Where have you been painting since lockdown easement?
“I’ve been back in my studio with the Southbank Artists group at Southlands Methodist Church for a month now, and I’ve more than welcomed the return to what feels a bit like the old normal.

“I’ve been working on a commission, which is huge, so it’s probably just as well I’m not painting at home.”

Staithes In The Mist – Collectors Huddle, by Carolyn Coles

How does it feel to be painting en plein air again?
“I’ve not managed a huge amount of this yet but hope to when holidays come. Luckily, I enjoy working from photos and sketches, as a lot of my field trips are indeed family days out.

“I love painting with my daughter although I end up assisting, which does get easier with time. Nothing beats painting on location.”

6. What draws you to the sea as a subject matter? The sight, the sound, the light, the dark?
“Hands down, light is the winner. However, the energy, mystery, its patterns, unexpected treasures and its mood all play a massive part.

“I always feel I’m happy with a piece when I can hear the sound of the sea whispering its relentless chatter. I’ve always loved the sea. It’s just so completely fascinating.

Not Today, Runswick Bay, by Carolyn Coles

“I’ve spent hundreds of hours contemplating life looking at it. I was a big fan of fossil hunting in my twenties, though I never really thought about painting the sea back then. I think partly the reason for painting seascapes now is because it’s a good way to take myself back.” 

How do you settle upon the painting techniques you use?

Over the years, I’ve definitely settled into my way of working. I love using broad, flat brushes alongside palette knives, which enables more random marks, producing less contrived mark-making. 

“I prefer oils, the soft buttery texture; the incredible depth of colour leaves acrylics standing really. But I do like to work with speed at times and acrylics do tick a lot of boxes. I also love working in lots of other media; charcoal is sublime.” 

Time To Go III, Sandsend, by Carolyn Coles

Do you have a favourite seascape?  Sandsend? Staithes? Wherever?
“I couldn’t say really as every place has its own merits. I’ve painted Sandsend a lot, but recently Filey has become more prominent. The light there can really be incredible.

“Runswick Bay can be as still as a milk pond – really quite surreal. Staithes has its own beauty but different again.

“I’m not fussy but do prefer quieter spots if I can find them. Saying that, Saltburn is incredible but more for messing about in the sea. Great wave action there.”

In the Yorkshire versus Northumberland battle for the best coastline award, which one wins?!
“Ask me again after the summer, as I’m planning a few trips to the Northumberland coast. I doubt it could beat Yorkshire, though I couldn’t say for sure yet. Maybe I’ll get marooned as fellow York artist Malcolm Ludvigsen did at Holy Island. It’s pretty easy to lose the sense of time when painting. I bet that was exciting!”

Crash, by Carolyn Coles

Who are your fellow artists in the Southbank Artists group. What do you most enjoy about working out of Southlands Methodists Church?

“There are 16 studios in all at South Bank Studios, ranging across all disciplines, even performance artists! I’d feel bad mentioning some rather than others, but they really are a great group to work with. A really interesting bunch. I’ve missed seeing them.

“Special thanks are always due to Donna Maria Taylor who gave me the chance to join her in her space at first, and who remains a brilliant source of support. It’s a great space to work in.

“My studio has a wonderful North light, which was lucky. It can be busy at times, but I feel very much at home there.”

The Walk, by Carolyn Coles

Who are the Westside Artists? Will you be hosting a joint show at some point?

“The Westside Artists (York) – fondly known as ‘The Westies’ – came to be when we grouped together in early 2019. Our close proximity to each other was a great support network at the time and the reason for its name. 

“Now we keep in touch offering each other support, advice, laughs. Sharing ideas, and even helping out in a material crisis, is perfect when working locally to one another.

“We’re planning to host a joint show in December, when there’ll be around 12 of us exhibiting at Village Gallery. We’re really looking forward to it.”

What’s coming next for you? Any upcoming shows?
“I have work being exhibited until next January at York Hospital, presently enjoyed by workers and patients, but no visitors. I’m really sad the Staithes festival has had to be cancelled, though it’s totally understandable obviously.”

“I always feel I’m happy with a piece when I can hear the sound of the sea whispering its relentless chatter,” says York seascape artist Carolyn Coles

Carolyn Coles, “Oh I Do Like To Be Besides The…” exhibition of seascape art at Village Gallery, Colliergate, York, August 4 to September 19. Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm (4.30pm, Sundays).

For more information on Carolyn, go to her website: carolyncoles.co.uk.

Please note: Village Gallery’s Covid-secure etiquette:

“WE are only a little shop, so to conform as far as possible to social distancing, it will only be possible to have one person/family-friendly group in at a time,” says owner Simon Main.

“Even if you cannot see anyone in the shop when you arrive, please shout out to check it’s OK, as there may be people upstairs. And if you have to wait, please queue responsibly outside, maintaining that essential two-metre separation.”

No York Open Studios in April, but all that art still needs a new home, so look here…DAY EIGHTEEN

Out Of The Woods, by Adele Karmazyn

YORK Open Studios 2020, the chance to meet 144 artists at 100 locations over two April weekends, should have started with a preview evening tomorrow, but the annual showcase 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.

A work from Sharon McDonagh’s Fragments series: An exploration into the fragility of life

Sharon McDonagh, painting

SHARON is drawn to painting the “darker side” of 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 of her detailed, intriguing work, marked by unconventional themes and, in particular, a love of architecture, York’s forgotten buildings and items left behind.

Sharon McDonagh with her Fragments works at the Blossom Street Gallery’s Urban Decay exhibition earlier this year

Earlier this year, she exhibited her new Fragments series in the Urban Decay exhibition at Blossom Street Gallery, and works on that theme would have featured in her second York Open Studios show too.

“Fragments is an exploration into the fragility of life,” Sharon says. “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.” Discover more at sharonmcdonagh-artist.co.uk.

Autumn Hedgehog, linocut, by Jane Dignum

Jane Dignum, printmaking

JANE creates colourful linocut prints and also makes collages out of pieces of her prints, her subject matter spanning wildlife, the Yorkshire coast and the city of York.

“I like experimenting with different techniques of printmaking and enjoy the sometimes surprising results that occur,” she says.

Jane Dignum in her studio

Jane studied fine art at Leeds College of Art, where she started to investigate printing. She always carries a sketchbook and camera and creates designs from photographs that she has taken. Take a look at janedignum.com.

Filey, by Carolyn Coles

Carolyn Coles, painting

PAINTING impressionistic seascapes and landscapes, Carolyn’s use of palette gives her work identity and life. She paints mostly on bespoke, stretched canvasses in oils and acrylics, applied with palette knives and flat brushes.

“I like to capture atmosphere, usually with a leaning towards dark and moody and generally on a larger scale,” she says.

Carolyn’s formal artistic education began with studying art and design at York College, then specialising in illustration at Hereford College of Art and Design, earning distinctions in the early 1990s.

Carolyn Coles: Specialising in seascapes and landscapes

After a career taking in marketing art materials and graphic design and illustration in journalism, Carolyn now devotes her time to painting, exhibiting and selling work both on the home market in York, London, Derby, Manchester and Leeds and internationally too.

Carolyn’s love of the seaside and nature in general is reflected in her new collection. “The impressionistic style allows the viewer to interpret their own story and pull their own memories back into play,” she says.

“I’m interested in re-creating a feeling, an essence. I love being by the sea or in the hills. It’s a tonic. The noise, everything, just soaks into me. I like to be playful, bold and subtle in my work.”

A regular participant in the annual Staithes Art and Heritage Festival, she also exhibits at various galleries in York. More details at carolyncoles.co.uk.

Adele Karmazyn: distinctive mix of techniques

Adele Karmazyn, digital prints

ADELE’S mostly self-taught process involves scanning 19th century photographs, textures and her own paintings to create digital photomontage artwork, often with a hand-finished element using inks, oil paint and gold leaf.

Her love of antiques and oddities, old doors and weathered surfaces are the foundations of her work. Bringing people from the past back to full colour and intertwining them with creatures big and small, coupled with delicate foliage, she creates images both sophisticated and playful. Often she uses idioms, metaphors and musical lyrics for inspiration and to add narrative.

Forest Boy, by Adele Karmazyn

Adele studied for a textile art degree at Winchester School of Art, worked briefly for an interior magazine in London and then set out to see the world. Many years later, she settled in York and returned to her first calling, completing a diploma in children’s book illustration in 2015, gaining a distinction.

It was then that she then turned to using her camera and photoshop, but still picking up her paintbrushes regularly and drawing on most days too. “Creating textures, drawing animals and getting the composition on paper is where each image begins,” says Adele.

More info can be found at adelekarmazyn.com.

A North Eastern scene by Nathan Combes

Nathan Combes, photography

NATHAN photographs urban landscapes, working primarily in black and white as he captures the sense of isolation and decaying beauty found in the places that he visits.

“I use a variety of modern digital and vintage film cameras to photograph places, locations and objects that are often overlooked and deemed unworthy of attention,” he says.

Recording life in black and white: Photographer Nathan Combes

Inspired by photographers such as Robert Frank, Chris Killip and William Eggleston, his work is thought provoking, challenging and humorous.

His York Open Studios debut would have featured work from his most recent project, focusing on the North East. He can be contacted via nathancombesphoto@gmail.com.

Tomorrow: Lu Mason; Nick Kobyluch; Michelle Hughes; Lucy McElroy and Ian Cameron.