York gallery According To McGee exhibits Richard and Chantal Barnes and Freya Horsley at Affordable Art Fair Hampstead

Chantal Barnes and Richard Barnes: According To McGee regulars heading for next month’s Affordable Art Fair Hampstead in London

YORK art gallery According To McGee is making plans for a return to business after a seven-month sabbatical on leaving Tower Street last September.

“We’ve been busy reminding ourselves why we need to celebrate art as gallerists”, says co-director Greg McGee. “York Art Gallery has been a great touchstone, as have locations further afield. Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Middlesbrough’s MIMA, even last week’s trip to Belfast’s thriving independent art galleries, gave us a much-needed shot in the arm.

“The York experience can at times be a little insular, both from a purveyors and consumers’ point of view, so we’ve been getting out and coming back feeling re-energised.”

Embracing this outward-looking instinct, Ails and Greg McGee have focused their energies on the Affordable Art Fair Hampstead, running from May 11 to 14 on the Lower Fairground Site, Hampstead Heath, London.

Just Behind The Morning, by Chantal Barnes

“We wanted to stretch our curatorial wings outside of Yorkshire,” reasons Ails. “The Affordable Art Fair (AAF) is a whole different level of quality and serious collecting. The organisers now hold fairs in ten cities around the world: London, New York, Hong Kong, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Brussels, Singapore, Stockholm, Melbourne and Sydney.

“They’re dedicated to sharing the importance of loving art, and, when possible, collecting it. On a micro-level, that’s what we do too. So we approached them and they accepted us, and we’re looking forward to exhibiting with them in Hampstead next month.”

Although the McGees are purposely basing this latest chapter of their gallery’s evolution beyond York, a cohort of artists with strong links to York will be leading the way.

“At this stage of our career and with this specific project, it’s important for us to work closely with artists we actually personally like!” says Ails, “We’re handing our exhibition space over to Richard Barnes, Chantal Barnes and Freya Horsley. The three of them have a painterly synergy that has been hugely successful for us in the past and will help steady the ship as we sail into unknown waters.” 

St Pancras Night Bus, by Richard Barnes

According To McGee’s final exhibition after 17 years opposite Clifford’s Tower (see https://fb.watch/jpif4qmZM4/) was a celebration of all three painters, presenting their latest collections.

Will the Affordable Art Fair exhibition provide an opportunity for international visitors to enjoy what art lovers in York have been able to experience, namely three seascape and cityscape painters, all well regarded for years?

“That’s a good question,” says Greg, “The answer helps us distil what we do best. We celebrate contemporary painters, painters who relentlessly evolve, and yearn for the next chapter. It’s not in the nature of any of our painters, especially Richard, Chantal, and Freya, to fossilise their output and become complacent.

“Their current compositions and mark making have all the experimental derring-do of white-hot graduates out of a world-class art school with points to prove and paintings to sell. You don’t get to sell as well as these three, nor do you get invited to exhibit at a globally recognised art event such as Affordable Art Fair Hampstead, without having something exciting and relevant to say.”

Richard Barnes with two of his new metropolitan artworks after his move south from York

Richard, who moved south from York in 2020 after teaching art at Bootham School for many years, is excited to bring his new collection to a wider audience.

“For 17 years I worked on painting York in new ways. The concept of the cityscape was there to be pulled and played with, and the iconic visuals of York was perfect for that – being cheeky, being innovative, reinventing,” he says.

“Now it feels right to focus on London. There are so many stories, so many layers of history to capture. I’m really pleased with this collection, and I’m looking forward to revealing them at Hampstead with According To McGee.”

Chantal, Richard’s daughter, is an increasingly collectible painter with collections already gracing international walls. Hampstead will be her first art fair show.

Artist Chantal Barnes at work

“The vigour with which Chantal pushes paint around is exciting and relevant and indicative of where contemporary painting is today,” says Greg.

“Chantal and Richard have studios not far too apart, and sometimes they even collaborate on the same piece. There’s a wonderful synergy between the two of them, whether that happens to be on the same canvas or two canvases in close proximity, and this show is an exciting opportunity to witness that.”

Freya Horsley has been working on new collections for the exhibition. “While the internet makes artists and galleries increasingly global in their reach, the Affordable Art Fair is exciting because it’s absolutely about seeing real artwork up close and in person,” says the York artist.

“This is something that Greg and Ails have always celebrated and promoted in their York gallery: the physical presence of a painting and the way it can change a space.

Even Now, mixed media on canvas, by Freya Horsley

“Working towards the fair has given me a really strong focus and an opportunity to make big impactful pieces, as well as smaller more affordable paintings, which is part of the rationale of the AAF. Alongside Richard and Chantal, I’m looking forward to showing our work to a new audience in this prestigious setting.’’

Ails is keen to build on According To McGee’s latest stage. “This is going to be about more than sales. The amount of global attention each Affordable Art Fair receives is simply huge, and we’re looking forward to bringing some of that gold dust back home when we relocate in York.”

Greg adds: “It’s this progressive, outward-looking energy that I think serves York so well. Us looking outwards to bring back energy and calibre is what in essence a heritage city like York is obliged to do now, for all kinds of reasons.

Greg and Ails McGee outside their former According To McGee gallery in Tower Street, York. Relocation plans are ongoing

“Unless you want to become Beamish [the Living Museum of the North in County Durham], history only works when you have one foot firmly planted in an innovative future. And rather than being a footnote in the annals of York’s creative scene, we would much prefer to be part of the future than the past.

“The art of Richard Barnes, Chantal Barnes, and Freya Horsley has always flown the flag for what contemporary painting can do, and we’re excited as to what this new approach can bring.”

Watch this space for updates on According To McGee’s relocation plans after the McGee family’s move into Acomb.

Affordable Art Fair Hampstead fact file

AFFORDABLE Art Fair Hampstead presents contemporary art from 100 London, UK and international galleries from May 11 to 14 at Lower Fairground Site, Hampstead Heath, London. Works are for sale at £50 to £7,500.

Visitors can enjoy an art-filled day out with installations, curated displays, rising star artists from University of the Arts, London and Jackson’s Painting Prize, plus bars and cafés. Expert advice is available from the fair’s new art consultancy service “to help make finding your dream artwork a breeze”.

Opening hours are: May 11, general admission, 11am to 5pm; Late View, 5pm to 9pm. May 12, 11am to 5pm, Art After Dark Late View, 5pm to 9pm. May 13 and 14, general admission, 11am to 6pm; Weekend Family Hour, 11am to 12 noon. Tickets: https://affordableartfair.com/fairs/london-hampstead

York artist Freya Horsley, pictured in the former According To McGee gallery space in Tower Street, York

Where else can you see Freya Horsley’s seascapes?

FREYA will be taking part in York Open Studios on April 15, 16, 22 and 23, showing her abstract landscape paintings at Bootham School Arts Centre, Bootham, York, from 10am to 5pm each day, preceded by a preview evening on April 14 from 6pm to 9pm.

Her work explores light, weather and atmospheric effects, building up surfaces with a wide variety of media and processes.

Greg and Ails McGee bid farewell to Tower Street gallery after 17 years with Saturday afternoon party. “You’ll come? Say you will!”

Visual Art Regrooved and now on the moove as According To McGee’s Greg and Ails McGee leave Tower Street with plans for a new venture

AFTER 17 years, York contemporary gallery According To McGee is to close its Tower Street doors on Saturday.

Acomb husband and wife and business duo Greg and Ails McGee are looking forward to launching their next art space, but first they will mark their exit from their yellow-fronted premises with a party. “You’ll come? Say you will!” rolls out the invitation on Facebook.

The couple met while teaching at Huntington School in York, where Ails (Miss Denholm at the time) taught art, Greg, English and drama.

Watch This Space: How The Press, York, reported the opening of Greg McGee and Ails Denholm’s launch of The ArtSpace gallery and workshop in the former Tower Street offices of Eddie Brown’s bus company . Copyright: The Press, York

In 2005, they opened their gallery in the shadow of  Clifford’s Tower, initially operating as The ArtSpace before the McGees put their name to the enterprise.  Now, coinciding with their own move to Acomb, they are shutting up shop, but not for long. One lease at is at an end, but a new lease of life for According To McGee will take root and beat fruit in suburbia.

“We’ve been busy gutting the gallery,” says Greg. “Chapter one comes to an end, but before we launch chapter two, we plan to have a party – and you’re invited.

Greg McGee, 30, at work on creating The ArtSpace, as According To McGee was first named, in 2005

“We’d love you to come and join us in saluting a wild 17 years’ holding court opposite Clifford’s Tower on Saturday from 4pm till 6pm.

“Paintings by Richard Barnes, his daughter, Chantal Barnes, and Freya Horsley await a final perusal in this location. All artists will be in attendance, as will all McGees.”

Artist Ails McGee (nee Denholm), 32, painting, not an artwork, but the gallery door in 2005

“Come over and say goodbye and peruse and perhaps purchase the paintings of Richard Barnes or Chantal Barnes.”

Greg and Ails are bowing out at Tower Street with Art Happening , the Barnes double bill of the former Bootham School head of art, cityscape artist Richard, and Chantal, a former pupil of Ails, who specialises in seascapes, landscapes and abstracts.

Ails McGee: Gallery co-director, curator, artist and teacher

Barnes & Barnes: Contemporary Painting finds the McGees’ gallery coming full circle. “It was back in 2005 that we launched here on Tower Street with a solo show from Richard Barnes, so this is in a sense a victory lap before we launch chapter two,” says Greg.

More details of what comes next for the McGees will be announced soon. “We hope you’re as excited as we are,” they say. “By the time winter 2022 comes around, all will be revealed.”

Greg McGee: Gallery co-director, curator, teacher-turned-tutor, caricature artist, wedding photographer, Dreamcatcher art advisor, New Visuality charity director, award ceremony host and 2019 judge on BBC One’s Best House In Town

“We were naïve when we started, but with naïveté comes a confidence,” reflects Ails. “Though we’re still just as confident 17 years later, we’re aware that this is the time for a reboot. We’d like to rediscover that sense of risk and experimentation that fuelled us so long.”

Greg concurs: “We started with Richard Barnes and we’ll finish here with Richard and his daughter Chantal’s art. That’s a pleasing narrative. The next chapter will include a dozen new artists we’ve never worked with before, but for now we say, to quote the neon art of Gary Winters & Claire Hind, ‘We Made Something Of This.’ That means a party on Saturday and a salute to everything that’s been.”

Artist Chantal Barnes: Exhibiting with father Richard Barnes in Art Happening, Barnes & Barnes: Contemporary Painting, According To McGee’s last picture show in Tower Street

Greg and Ails McGee select ten moments where According To McGee “altered the cultural atmosphere” in York

It’s Good But Is It Art?, 2006

“IT was our second year as a gallery,” recalls Greg. “York Theatre Royal was getting ready to run Yasmina Reza’s play Art, in which one of a group of three friends purchases a blank white canvas to hang on his wall, leading to all kinds of existential debate.

“We were asked to contribute to their promo theatre booklet, but we thought we’d go further and run a series of exhibitions that asked of our visitors, ‘Is This Art?’.

“It gave us a good chance to distil our ambitions to an irreducible manifesto as well as work with a huge array of local artists. Ultimately though it proved to us as gallerists that we were a gallery in which contemporary painting was going to be our priority.

“It opened the door to Richard Barnes, who really helped us in the early days harness exactly what kind of space we wanted to be.

“The ‘Is It Art’ show was great. We launched it with a private view that hammered home what we were all about in the early days, which was much more about creating events and having packed parties than selling paintings.

“Guests included actors Stuart Organ, Andrew Dunn and Daniel Hill; we had Lord Mayors and Sheriffs; rock band Death Cigarettes performed. York was great back then with a really vibrant scene.”

Greg McGee, centre, and Ails McGee with the It’s Good But Is It Art? artists, including Milladdio (Andy Hinkles), second from right

Poetry! Kenny Goldsmith, Arnold Kemp, Rob Fitterman and Kim Rosenfeld, 2007 – 2010. Dreamcatcher: 2013-2022

“LOOKING back, it’s amazing how much international poetry we managed to fit into our early days,” says Ails. “Kenny Goldsmith, Rob Fitterman and Kim Rosenfeld were – and still are – some of the hottest textual artists in New York. Kenny was featured at President and Mrs Obama’s celebration of American poetry and was subsequently appointed the first Poet Laureate of New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

“Bostonian Kemp is an artist, poet, and curator and serves as the Dean of Graduate Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was named a 2012 Guggenheim Fellow in Fine Arts. They all brought a transatlantic and literary energy to our York gallery.” 

Greg adds: “We continue to fly the flag for poetry via my role as arts advisor for international poetry-zine Dreamcatcher and running exhibitions up until the present day. Staying sensitive to the currents of modern writing has helped us hugely in continuing to curate cutting-edge exhibitions.”

Arnold Kemp at According to McGee: https://vimeo.com/66807378

Kenny Goldsmith at According to McGee: https://vimeo.com/accordingtomcgee

Greg and Ails McGee with Kenny Goldsmith

Interactive Prints: Transamerica, Nathan Walsh, 2013

IN 2013, transatlantic links between York and New York received creative consolidation via an exhibition at 5th Avenue in New York and According To McGee. “York’s own Nathan Walsh, an internationally established painter, exhibited his astonishingly photorealist cityscapes at New York’s Bernarducci Meisel gallery,” says Ails. “Four days before that, a ‘pre-exhibition warm-up gig’ kicked things off at According To McGee.

“It was an opportunity to test some very innovative and experimental approaches. ‘Transamerica’ is a beautiful, bejewelled cityscape of San Francisco. What was especially great was that it’s rigorously observed and painstakingly crafted.

“On another level, Walsh painted it in concert with Newcastle University’s Culture Lab, so that with a free app developed especially for it, viewers could download the app and see the path the painting took, from its sketches to its final completed mark.”

The opening event had 150 people downloading the app simultaneously. “They held their iPod or iPhone in front of the print, seeing the history of one of the most beautiful cityscapes from one of the greatest photo-realists in UK reveal itself,” says Greg.

“It simply changed completely the way you see art. Collectors now had art in their hallway that, by day, was a stylish poster and became, once they had Repentir downloaded, cutting edge, limited-edition digital art. How’s that for a dinner party conversation piece?”

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFglWBPwSEw&ab_channel=TheYorkChannel

New Visuality working on Seebohm: Stories and Gaming in 2014

Seebohm: Stories and Gaming, Nick Walters and Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2014

ACCORDING To McGee’s charitable arm New Visuality has worked with young people from across York.

“The Joseph Rowntree Foundation provided funding for us to work with young people from York who came from families who had experienced poverty,” says Greg. “For a lot of people, the very concepts of creativity and culture can lead to feelings of exclusion and frustration. 70 per cent of our participants had never visited York Minster.

“We sat with the young people and their families and carers and highlighted a strategic aim: how do we ensure accessible, diverse and inclusive cultural entitlement for young, disadvantaged people in the city via innovative creativity, and to seamlessly include participants who could pay fees? It was a tough call, but the Joseph Rowntree Foundation funding galvanised us on every level.”

The artwork was a mixture of basic gaming, comic-book illustrations, digital art and collage. “We needed to unify it to exhibit it in any meaningful way, so we brought in light installation artist Nick Walters to take over our front window,” says Ails.

“Fresh from installations at York Minster and Glastonbury, he worked with us to get the best out of each participant. He came up with the main visual, to project phrases and text from Seebohm Rowntree’s influential 1901 book, Poverty: A Study Of Town Life.

“Through a semi-transparent patchwork row of terraced houses and characters and their activities created in the project, the words filtered through colours and images chosen independently by our participants; some of their work, some of them working.

“It ended up being part of citywide festival Illuminating York but also stood as an inner-lit testament to Joseph Rowntree Foundation for months.”

Video: https://vimeo.com/111587718

Death’s Door, by Rae Hicks, 2013 , from the Garage Projects exhibition in 2015

Garage Projects, Goldsmiths and Glasgow School of Art Graduates, 2015

THE McGees saw in their tenth anniversary with a group show from Goldsmiths and Glasgow School of Art graduates.

Garage Projects, comprising Rae Hicks, Paul Crook, Jack Park, Mary Wintour, Ian Parkin and Will Thompson, brought ‘Beginnings, Middles, Ends’ to York.

“It was a chance for us to look outwards and chase quality,” says Ails, “Rae Hicks won the John Moores Painting Prize and more recently the Waverton Art Prize, beating 700 submissions shortlisted by the international curator Paint Talk.

“The exhibition launched with a packed event. Both Goldsmiths and Glasgow Schools of Art are so important in influencing the future of visual art, it was exciting to play a part in that.”

Video: https://vimeo.com/130984932

Ails McGee with Sir Ian Botham (now Lord Botham) at the launch of New York, YOU York

New York, YOU York, Dollarsandart featuring Sir Ian Botham, 2015

“DUBAI celebrity artist Jim Wheat, of Dollarsandart, had already encouraged a groundswell of interest in Dubai and the USA. It was thrilling to welcome him to York for an inaugural solo show, and having it officially opened by Sir Ian Botham was an added bonus,” says Ails.

She remembers “Beefy” Botham’s time in the gallery fondly. “He was lovely,” she says. “We talked a lot about the Scottish Borders and my hometown, Kelso. He also collaborated on painting a canvas with Jim, which went on to auction,” she says.

Sir Ian enjoyed his day in York. “It was a great pleasure to open Jim’s show supporting New Visuality,” he said. “I was impressed with how he’d developed his work, and I recommended ‘New York, YOU York’ at According To McGee.”

Text, Technology, Disability & Art: Light installation artist Nick Walters’ project at According To McGee

Text, Technology, Disability & Art, The Print Project, 2016

ACCORDING To McGee employed its charitable arm, New Visuality, to multifaceted effect in an exhibition that brought Greg and Ails the Best Cultural Event award at the inaugural York Culture Awards that year.

“We won in a pitch held at a Digital Innovation Fund GeniUS event the most cutting-edge kit in its field: Ideum’s Platform 46,” says Ails. “We set about building an algorithm-based programme that allowed learners at Blueberry Academy, via magnetic words, to concoct their own slogans and tweets.

“Each message was unleashed as a visual hot-air balloon, where the learner saw their own message join the increasingly complicated Twittersphere surrounding York at that time.

“Many tweeters loved UNESCO’s designation of York as a City of Media Arts; many tweeters were baffled, and many trolls hated the whole thing on principle. The differences in opinion was fascinating, so we thought ‘let’s make art out of this’.”

According To McGee duly contacted The Print Project in Shipley, West Yorkshire. “The Print Project are the Rolls Royce of letterpress printing,” says Greg, “It was an exciting morning at York’s Blueberry Academy when The Print Project first arrived and set up. Letterpress printing is aesthetically glorious and is a great leveller too: anyone can have a go.”

Ails and Greg McGee with York actor Mark Addy after receiving the Best Cultural Event award at the inaugural York Culture Awards in 2016

The learners at Blueberry Academy chose, organised, and pressed their posters. “We spent a summer interfusing innovation and traditional printing techniques,” says Greg. “The learners curated a series of their posters to complement the beautiful Giclée posters designed by Choir of Vision, culled from tweets from members of the public reacting to York’s UNESCO status as #CityofMediaArts.

“Some loved it, some hated it. Either way, the posters were in gallant company with the letterpress posters.

“When it came to the job of imbuing all tweets and slogans with a Jedi-esque digital power, we worked once more with light installation artist Nick Walters. According To McGee became for three weeks a refulgent, futuristic spaceship, all the while building its glorious swagger on slogans written by York’s most vulnerable citizens.” 

Ails adds: “Nick was amazing. He was fascinated by the tweets created by the learners, as well as by the nature of Twitter itself. He built his installation around a bird cage, complete with origami birds, so that when the tweets were projected though it, the messages would refract through the birds and glitter ball, radiating around the gallery and through the front window, beneath the black shadow of Clifford’s Tower.

“It was great to receive the award from Mark Addy at the Culture Awards too.”

Video: https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/144349339

Pop Art revivalist Horace Panter with Greg and Ails McGee

The Beano Is 80!, Horace Panter, 2018

SKA legend Horace Panter provided the Pop Art and star quality as the gallery caused an international splash by kickstarting the 80th birthday celebrations of The Beano comic. 

“It was a very light-hearted exhibition, but there was no mistaking the characters’ punk credentials. Dennis the Menace and Minnie the Minx were disruptors before Johnny Rotten was born!” says Greg.

“To have Horace Panter, who was so instrumental in kickstarting ska-punk with The Specials, mediate the characters through his own Pop Art filter was hugely exciting, relevant, and irreverent.

“We had Dennis and Gnasher diving into Hockney’s LA swimming pool; Minnie the Minx as a Warholian starlet and Lord Snooty in a Lichenstein frame, complete with Ben Day dots.

“The Bash Street Kids invaded the high art world of Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst. Collectors from all over the UK attended the opening and we sold massive originals and more limited editions than Gnasher has had sausages.”

Video: https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/751792201

Greg McGee with a Banksy artwork at the Hello There! exhibition in late 2019

Hello There! Banksy, Grayson Perry, Vic Reeves, and Dscreet, 2019

“IT was just before the pandemic, when a collector friend of ours donated world-class art, including pieces by heavyweights Banksy, Vic Reeves (aka Jim Moir), Grayson Perry and urban artist Dscreet,” says Greg. “We thought we’d launch it as we would any other exhibition, but this art was just so instantly collectible, it sold straight away via phone calls.”

Ails adds: “It was a weekend event that was over too soon. It was a shot in the arm in that it brought us to a wider audience and reminded us that investing in globally collectible art is a serious business.”

Bob Frith, from the Dave Pearson Trust, with Greg and Ails McGee

Painting: Figures Underground And Imagined, Dave Pearson and ex-miner Harry Malkin 2019; The Return Of The Painter, 2016-2022

“DIGITAL art and poetry are great, but ultimately our raison d’être is contemporary painting,” says Ails. “In the case of Dave Pearson, who died in 2008 of cancer, his art is especially poignant. The Guardian has him as ‘a great British painter’, BBC Radio 4 as ‘the greatest painter we never knew’. Internationally respected art critic Edward Lucie-Smith hails him as a ‘really major artist’.

“Credit must go to the Dave Pearson Trust, who initially rescued his studio in Haslingden and continue with it as their full-time job to organise his art, with experts applauding their hard work and declaring that the collection is worth more than £1 million.”

According To McGee’s collaboration with the trust will continue to grow. “We’ve worked with them for years, and in 2019 we threw a new synergy into the mix.

“Ex-miner and full-time artist Harry Malkin creates contemporary painting that can hold its own alongside Dave’s, providing counterpoints and consolidations all the while.

“Harry Malkin’s first-hand depictions of mining are the finest in the UK, endowing torchlit moments of toil with a muscular theatricality. Cheeks and eye sockets are ink black, shoulders are slick crescents, and amid the trembling chiaroscuro, the figures quicken and bristle in their brutal work.

“Their poise and movement are perfectly calibrated with the instinct and knowledge hewn from many decades’ worth of witnessing and working more than one mile deep underground.”

Ails concludes: “Painting has never been more needed, and with the likes of Amrik Varkalis, David Baumforth, Freya Horsley, Chantal Barnes Julia Poulton at the forefront, the medium is showing no signs of letting up soon.”

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hum_aiXXFUo&ab_channel=Ails%26GregMcGee

Lights out after Saturday’s party for “We Made Something Of This”, Gary Winters & Claire Hind’s neon sign at According To McGee’s Tower Street gallery

More Things To Do in and around York for June 18 to June 26, as the Romans invade again. List No. 87, courtesy of The Press

Cherie Gordon in Everyday, on tour at York Theatre Royal in Deafinitely Theatre’s 20th anniversary tour. Picture: Becky Bailey

FROM the Pride parade to Roman festivities, Americana musicians to English prog legends, defiant deaf theatre to bracing art, Charles Hutchinson savours a diverse diary ahead.

Empowering play of the week: Everyday, Deafinitely Theatre, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday and Wednesday, 7.30pm

FOUR people come together to perform a ritual of community and catharsis. Gathering up true stories of deaf women and non-binary people’s experiences of surviving abuse, they form a witches’ coven like no other, replete with a cauldron of newt’s eyes and butterflies, deep scars, and blazing signs.

Commissioned by New Diorama Theatre, Deafinitely Theatre’s playful, urgent, defiant world premiere by writer-director Paula Garfield combines British Sign Language and oral English as it draws on interviews to explore domestic abuse and mental health in the deaf community. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Davina De Campo: Performing at York LGBT Pride at Knavesmire

Fiesta of the week: York LGBT Pride, June 18, from high noon

THE York Pride Parade leaves from outside York Minster at Duncombe Place. Best advice: arrive at 11.45am, ready for departure at 12 noon, with the parade arriving at Knavesmire (Tadcaster Road end) between 1pm and 1.30pm.

On the main stage, hosts Miss Sordid Secret and DJ Kira introduce live music and entertainment from Nadine Coyle, Davina De Campo, Duncan James, Marcus Collins and Jo O’Meara. York Pride is a free family-friendly event, but donations are welcome.

Dolphin Hotel, by David Finnigan, at According To McGee, York

Exhibition launch of the week: Contemporary Painting: Elementals and Synthesis by Freya Horsley and David Finnigan, According To McGee, Tower Street, York, June 18 to July 11

EXHIBITING Freya Horsley, from York, alongside David Finnigan, from Scarborough, is “not so much a duo show, more like two exhibitions in one gallery,” says According To McGee co-director Greg McGee.

“Freya and David are far removed in terms of subject and mark making, but there’s enough intersection to be able to build an event like this.”

Horsley’s Elementals works focus on seascapes full of bristling light and spray, serenity and inner-lit joy; Finnigan’s four new Synthesis paintings are geometric abstractions influenced by sound and modulation. 

Sunday’ll be the day for That’ll Be The Day! at Grand Opera House, York

Tribute gig of the week: That’ll Be The Day!, Grand Opera House, York, June 19, 7pm

THIS long-running show, now into its 36th year, celebrates the golden age of rock’n’roll and pop from the 1950s through to the 1980s.

That’ll Be The Day combines comedy sketches and impersonations with stellar vocals and musicianship, fronted by director, producer and vocalist Trevor Payne. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or at atgtickets.com/York.

Courtney Marie Andrews: Third time lucky for Phoenix singer-songwriter as she returns to Pocklington at last

Americana gig of the week: Courtney Marie Andrews, Pocklington Arts Centre, June 19, 8pm

AMERICAN singer, songwriter, poet, musician and now artist Courtney Marie Andrews makes her long-awaited return to Pocklington this weekend.

Phoenix-born Courtney, 31, twice had to postpone the follow-up to her December 2018 gig. The focus was expected to be on the 2021 Grammy-nominated Old Flowers, but now that she has announced the October 7 release of ninth album Loose Future on Fat Possum, hopefully she will showcase new material too. Box office: 01759 301547 or pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Yes, it is Yes: Playing Close To The Edge at York Barbican

Progressing to the past: Yes, York Barbican, Wednesday, 8pm

PROG rock pioneers Yes’s Album Series Tour 2022 celebrates the 50th anniversary of Close To The Edge, the September 1972 album inspired by Siddharta and their “state of mind” at the time.

Wednesday’s concert combines the iconic album in full with further Yes classics, performed by Steve Howe, guitars, Geoff Downes, keyboards, Jon Davison, vocals, Billy Sherwood, bass guitar, and Jay Schellen, drums and percussion. Legendary Yes artwork artist Roger Dean opens the show with a video wall of images and graphics and a reflection on his long history with the band. Tickets remain valid from the postponed May 19 2021 date. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

The Felice Brothers, James, second from left, and Ian, right, with band members Will Lawrence and Jesske Hume

If you are yet to discover…The Felice Brothers, Pocklington Arts Centre, Thursday, 8pm

THE Felice Brothers, the folk rock/country rock band from the Hudson valley of upstate New York, are led by Ian and James Felice, joined on this tour by Will Lawrence on drums and Jesske Hume on bass.

Inspired equally by Woody Guthrie and Chuck Berry, they began in 2006 by playing subway platforms and sidewalks in New York City and have since released ten albums, the latest being 2021’s From Dreams To Dust. Box office: 01759 301547 or pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Charge! The Eboracum Roman Festival is on its way

Festival of the week: Eboracum Roman Festival, June 25 and 26, all day

THE Legions of Rome take over York Museum Gardens for a packed weekend of outdoor festivities featuring a Roman Living History Encampment between 10am and 5pm each day; the Kids Army and Roman-themed family activities run by Playful Anywhere from 11am to 3pm on both days. Entry is free.

Head inside the Yorkshire Museum to discover Roman treasures, especially the new exhibition The Ryedale Hoard: A Roman Mystery.  

Authors of Roman fiction and non-fiction will chat and sign books in the Tempest Anderson Hall from 10am to 4pm each day.

The Chemical Brothers: Get ready for Block Rockin’ Beats at Castle Howard

Big beat of the week: The Chemical Brothers, Castle Howard, near York, nearer Malton, June 26; gates open at 5pm 

HEY boy, hey girl, electronic pioneers The Chemical Brothers are taking to the stately-home grass this summer as Manchester big beat duo Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, both 51, galvanize rave diggers.

Expect such dancefloor nuggets as the chart-topping Setting Sun and Block Rockin’ Beats, Hey Boy, Hey Girl, Let Forever Be, It Began In Afrika, Star Guitar, Galvanize, Do It Again. Got To Keep On and Go. Camping will be available. Box office: castlehoward.co.uk.

Attraction of opposites permeates Freya Horsley and David Finnigan’s Elementals and Synthesis show at According To McGee

Everything in modulation: Scarborough artist David Finnigan with his Synthesis works at According To McGee

ACCORDING To McGee plays host to a “double happening”, Contemporary Painting: Elementals and Synthesis by Freya Horsley and David Finnigan, from this weekend in York.

Co-director Greg McGee sees the summer exhibition as an opportunity to reaffirm the Tower Street gallery’s manifesto. “Not so much a duo show, more like two exhibitions in one gallery,” he says. “Freya Horsley and David Finnigan are far removed in terms of subject and mark making, but there’s enough intersection to be able to build an event like this.

“Their common ground is a fearlessness with what contemporary painting can do, and we find that the proximity of both collections in the same gallery not only augments the collections respectively, but also highlights the strengths of each other.

Out Of Darkness, mixed media, by Freya Horsley

“There are flickering moments in all of the paintings here, and a lot of the magic is found in the disparate synergy”.

Elementals and Synthesis is “like nothing According To McGee has exhibited previously in its 17 years”, reckons Greg. “We’re used to dovetailing the collections of painters who share similar visions, whereas this time we have really gone for a discrepancy that cracks open not only the magic of the paintings we have here, but says something about painting in general.”

David Finnigan’s Synthesis is characteristically exact, although he is at pains to highlight how his art has evolved. “These four works represent, for me, a change in the direction of my working practice,” says the Scarborough hyperrealist. 

“While they retain some of the exactitude and realism of my previous work, there’s more of a painterly feel to these new pieces. Also, a new aesthetic, which exhibits an expressive freedom within the confines of realist painting. 

Low Pitch, by David Finnigan, from his Synthesis series

“They embrace some of the techniques I’ve learned and developed in my other non-visual creative outlets, particularly from the world of sound.”

Not only a looser approach to the confines of realist painting is applied, but so are an amalgamation and superimposition of separate geometric compositions over the existing realist composition. 

“These geometric abstractions function aesthetically in their own right, and they have a force and a dynamic that adds energy,” says David. “Visually, in isolation, these geometric compositions echo the work of the constructivists, the suprematists, or even futurism and vorticism from the early 20th century.

“Added together with the realist composition, they ‘modulate’ the existing work, changing the dynamic through the use of the aforementioned energy, but equally importantly through the use of colour, which is a very powerful tool. The now superimposed compositions, ‘modulate’ each other.”

Dolphin Hotel, by David Finnigan

Regarding the concept of “modulation”, David sees a simple parallel in the world of sound with the technique of FM or “Frequency Modulation” synthesis – which, as a side note, powered the soundscape of 1980’s pop and rock music. 

“Simply put, in ‘FM’ synthesis, one waveform modulates the other wave to create something new. This is what I’m attempting visually,” he says.

“Another important parallel is the idea of ‘glitch’, a sub-genre of electronic music that became popular in the 1990s, but actually its origins again can be traced back all the way to futurism, specifically with  Luigi Russolo’s piece The Art Of Noises.

“Here again, I attempt to apply the concept of ‘glitch’ visually to these compositions, in which, as in music – where the beat and order of the music is broken and reprocessed so some feeling of order remains – I would like to break up the surface of the two superimposed compositions to break up the order and reprocess it to create something new that has a different rhythm.”

York artist Freya Horsley with her Elementals works at According To McGee

Freya Horsley’s return to According To McGee comes after a sell-out exhibition of the York artist’s winter collection of elemental seascapes. “They were huge!” says gallery co-director Ails McGee, “They were the biggest paintings we have ever exhibited here, and that’s some claim.

“But they connected well with browsers and clients alike, with one going to a collector’s house in Poppleton and one travelling all the way to Glasgow.”

Freya’s depictions of the sea and land resonate still more in our era of nature’s curtailment. “The sheer scale of some of the paintings has only added to that,” says Ails.

Until We’re Seen, by Freya Horsley

Freya’s new Elementals series builds on her trademark bristling light and spray but Ails point to new developments too. “Freya has always, from time to time, primed her canvasses with neon paint, which helps to endow her otherwise layered sense of peace and serenity with a bounce and inner-lit joy,” she says.

“This time, the joy she skewers comes from a wild attack of neon paint on top of the tender and elemental background, rather than beneath it; a technique most obvious in her massive work Out Of Darkness. It’s a radical step for her and really amps up the wide-eyed sense of wonder that Elementals celebrates.”

Asked to predict the next direction of Contemporary Painting’s evolution, Greg points to Finnigan’s paintings. “These are painted in egg tempera. That’s something that goes back thousands of years and was used in ancient times. It fell into disuse with the popularisation of oil painting in Europe in the 15th century,” he says.

“But now David is using it with a showman’s chutzpah. So, is this retro, or is this radical and contemporary? It feels a little like when a rock band performs an ‘MTV Unplugged’ session. There’s nowhere to hide but in the quality of the songs, and in a multimedia age, there’s something radical in that.”

Bee-Bop, by David Finnigan

David agrees: “In my eyes it has the capacity to be beautiful and elegant, in the medium itself,” he says. “It is egg yolk, water and pigment and, if non-toxic pigments are used, completely inert. But it is also beautiful and elegant in the aesthetic effect of the finished work itself. 

 “In our modern day of awareness of sustainability and our ever-increasing eco-friendly approaches to life in general, egg tempera actually fits in well with these philosophies, and maybe it will have its day in the sun again.”

Contemporary Painting: Elementals and Synthesis by Freya Horsley and David Finnigan runs from Saturday, June 18 to Monday, July 11 at According To McGee, Tower Street, York; open Monday to Saturday, 12 noon to 4pm.

For more information on David Finnigan: accordingtomcgee.com/collections/david-finnigan; Freya Horsley, accordingtomcgee.com/collections/freya-horsley

This Day, by Freya Horsley

More Things To Do in and around York as creative night market launched. List No. 49, courtesy of The Press, York

Big news! York artist Freya Horsley, right, and gallery co-director Ails McGee with Freya’s paintings Turning Tide and Liquid Light at According To McGee, York

BIG paintings, a night market, thrillers at the double, cookery chat, an anniversary celebration, a long-awaited Scottish return and a brace of comedians are the diverse focus of Charles Hutchinson’s attention.

Exhibition of the week: Freya Horsley, Contemporary Seascapes, According To McGee, York, running until October 11

ACCORDING To McGee is playing host to the biggest paintings the Tower Street gallery has ever exhibited: Liquid Light and Turning Tide, two mixed-media works on canvas by Freya Horsley.

The York artist is displaying a new series of seascape paintings depicting the Cornish, Scottish and north east coastlines.

“Her art makes you look twice because it has a calming quality and, like a good sunrise, it makes you go ‘wow!’,” says co-director Greg McGee.

York Creatives Night Market: Debut night of arts, crafts, music, food and drink at Shambles Market tomorrow

York Creatives Night Market, Shambles Market, York, tomorrow, 7pm to 10.30pm

POSTPONED at short notice on August 20, the debut York Creatives Night Market goes ahead tomorrow in a chance to browse art and products by independent traders.

Street food, drinks and music all evening are on the menu too for this free event, open to all.

The Rusty Pegs: Tenth anniversary concert at Theatre@41, Monkgate, York

Celebrating ten years on: The Rusty Pegs, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Saturday, 8pm

TEN years ago, York country band The Rusty Pegs formed, drawn from volunteers at the Monkgate theatre, who were asked to perform their debut gig there at a Raising The Roof fundraiser.

To mark a decade of making music together, the Pegs have decided to come full circle by performing an anniversary gig in the same place where it all started, this time launching the autumn season. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

No mistaking Justin Currie: Del Amitri return with Fatal Mistakes album for first York gig since 2002

Long time coming: Del Amitri, York Barbican, Saturday, 7.45pm

DEL Amitri follow up the May 28 release of their seventh studio album, Fatal Mistakes, with a return to York Barbican after a 19-year hiatus.

Justin Currie’s Glaswegian band last played there in May 2002, the year they released their last album, Can You Do Me Good?.

“It’s been nearly 20 years since we toured with a new album, lord knows what took us so long,” says Currie. “The prospect of sprinkling our set with a few choices from Fatal Mistakes fills us with the sort of excitement that, for some men of our age, might call for light medication. We think the adrenaline will see us through.” Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

No smoke without ire: Scottish comedian Daniel Sloss blows his top at York Barbican

Comedy gig of the week: Daniel Sloss: Hubris, York Barbican, Sunday, 7.30pm

SUNDAY’S gig is third time lucky for Scotsman Daniel Sloss, whose October 3 2020 and May 8 2021 visits were ruled out by the accursed Covid.

Sloss, 30, has sold out six New York solo off-Broadway seasons, appeared on American television’s Conan show ten times and toured to more than 50 countries. Now, at last, comes his new show, with special guest Kai Humphries.

Look out for Sloss’s book, Everyone You Hate Is Going To Die (And Other Comforting Thoughts On Family, Friends, Sex, Love, And More Things That Ruin Your Life), from October 12. For tickets for Sunday, go to: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

What’s cooking? Cookbook writer Yotam Ottolenghi finds flavour at York Theatre Royal on Tuesday

Flavour of the month: Yotam Ottolenghi, A Life In Flavour, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday, 7.30pm

CHEF, restaurateur and food writer Yotam Ottolenghi reflects on A Life In Flavour, provides cooking inspiration and signs copies of his “flavour-forward, vegetable-based” cookbook, Ottolenghi Flavour, after the show on Tuesday.

West Jerusalem-born Ottolenghi will be discussing the tastes, ingredients and flavours that excite him and how he has created a career from cooking.

Expect “unique insights into how flavour is dialled up and why it works, from basic pairings fundamental to taste, to cooking methods that elevate ingredients to great heights”. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Dane Baptiste: Comedian with a chip on his shoulder at Burning Duck Comedy Club

The other comedy gig of the week: Burning Duck Comedy Club presents Dane Baptiste: The Chocolate Chip, The Crescent, York, September 23, 7.30pm

IN his own words, Dane Baptiste is now a “grown ass black man, too old to be concerned with chicken or trainers, too young to be considered a peer of Trevor McDonald”.

Has he got a chip on his shoulder? “Yes. A chocolate one,” says Baptiste, a south east London stand-up who once worked in media sales.

Noted for his boldly provocative material, he hosts the podcasts Dane Baptiste Questions Everything and Quotas Full. Box office: thecrescentyork.com/events.

The Rowntree Players’ poster for next week’s production of Agatha Christie’s Spider’s Web

Web of the week: Rowntree Players in Agatha Christie’s Spider’s Web, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, September 23 to 25, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

DIPLOMAT’S wife Clarissa is adept at spinning tales of adventure, but when a murder takes place in her drawing room, she finds live drama much harder to cope with in Rowntree Players’ autumn return, directed by Howard Ella.

Desperate to dispose of the body before her husband arrives with an important politician, she enlists the help of her guests. 

In a conscious parody of the detective thriller, Christie’s Spider’s Web delivers suspense and humour in equal measure in an intricate plot of murder, police detection, hidden doorways and secret drawers. Box office: 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

In the chair: Just Some Theatre in rehearsal for The Killer Question, heading to Theatre@41, Monkgate, York

Mystery of the week ahead: Just Some Theatre in The Killer Question, Theatre@41 Monkgate, York, September 25, 7.30pm

THE Silence Of The Lambs meets Last Of The Summer Wine in Dave Payne’s dark comedy thriller The Killer Question, marking the York debut of Manchester company Just Some Theatre.

Did The Chair game show champion Walter Crump’s obsession with death ultimately lead to his own? Inspector Black believes so, and now Crump’s dopey widow, Margaret, finds herself accused of her husband’s murder. 

Faced by more than one deadly twist in the tale, can Inspector Black solve the mystery? Will Margaret be home in time for Countryfile? Just as important, which actor – Peter Stone, Jake Urry or Jordan Moore – will play which character? The audience decides. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Freya Horsley goes very BIG for seascapes exhibition at According To McGee gallery

Big news! York artist Freya Horsley, right, and According To McGee co-director Ails McGee stand by Freya’s largest-ever paintings, Turning Tide, left, and Liquid Light, ahead of her Contemporary Seascapes exhibition opening tomorrow

ACCORDING To McGee reopens its York doors this weekend to the biggest paintings that the Tower Street gallery has ever exhibited.

York painter Freya Horsley’s solo show, Contemporary Seascapes, launches on Saturday morning in a bold statement of her artistic practice.

“These aren’t only the biggest paintings we’ve exhibited, they’re the biggest commercial paintings in the UK”, says a laughing gallery co-director Ails McGee.

Message, by Freya Horsley, at According To McGee

“Freya has created a stunning collection. The size is not a gimmick. Combined with her evolving compositions and palette on both her large-scale pieces and her smaller works, it’s a confident demonstration of where she is as a painter, at the top of her game, and selling to collectors from all over the world.”

According To McGee’s front room will be displaying the new series, a mixture of seascape paintings depicting the Cornish, Scottish and North East coastlines, including the two large mixed-media works on canvas, Liquid Light and Turning Tide, each priced at £4,500.

Co-director Greg McGee points to the “integral optimism” of these new works. “It’s been a rough time for everybody. Loss and loneliness have been a steady drizzle on life for over a year, but things are slowly clicking back into gear, and I can’t think of a better way to reflect that than through beautiful paintings of the sea,” he says.

Freya Horsley on a sketching trip to the coast

“There’s restlessness, depths, and enough luminosity to help hammer home our message as gallery curators at this time: nature can heal. Because of that, Freya’s art connects with collectors internationally.”

Greg delights in pointing out that Freya is the only artist with whom he has appeared on the Beeb. When BBC One’s Best House In Town featured York in its inaugural series in February 2019, Greg was among the five judges, and Freya’s art was instantly recognisable in one of the houses.

“Her art makes you look twice because it has a calming quality and, like a good sunrise, it makes you go ‘wow!’,” he says. “That came across very powerfully on TV. We have clients who watched the show in Dubai who got in touch, saying ‘I’m watching in Burj Khalifa the guy who sells me paintings and the art I like to collect most’.

Open Eyes, by Freya Horsley, on show at According To McGee from this weekend

“It was a very good showboat for York. We’re glad that we’re still here to celebrate the increasingly powerful art of one of Yorkshire’s most collectable painters.”

Freya Horsley’s Contemporary Seascapes exhibition runs at According To McGee, Tower Street, York, from September 11 to October 11. Gallery opening hours are: Monday to Friday, 11am to 3pm; Saturdays, 11am to 4pm, or by appointment on 07973 653702.

For more of Freya’s art, check out: accordingtomcgee.com/collections/freya-horsley

Lockdown stirs Ails McGee to go down to the sea again…for her return to painting UPDATED 26/07/2020

Artist Ails McGee: Picking up her brushes anew in lockdown

RETURN of the Mc could not have gone better for Ails McGee, whose “comeback” exhibition at According To McGee sold out at yesterday’s launch in York.

Gallery co-director Ails unveiled Return Of The Painter: The Sea, The Sky, The City from midday to 4pm as the ebullient Tower Street art space welcomed browsers for the first time since the Covid-enforced shutdown on March 23.

“Thanks to everyone who came today,” Ails and fellow director Greg McGee tweeted afterwards. “The paintings of @AilsMcGee connected with collectors and are now sold out. She is taking commissions and is preparing for the next group exhibition. We open next Saturday. Come see us!”

Ahead of the launch, Ails said: “This is our 16th year anniversary, and we had innovative plans with big innovative events to celebrate. Performances, installations, digitally illuminated projections: it was an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach, but all of that was kicked into the long grass in March. Since then, I’ve gone back to the drawing board, so to speak.”

So much so, Ails has picked up her paint brushes again, in part inspired to do so by “parsimonious proposals from politicians on essential exercise”.  

“I remember thinking while I was alone in the middle of Rowntree Park at midday, there were certain people who would have reported me to the police,” she says. “It was a hard time to go outside and watch the season change. I don’t have much memory of seeing the cherry blossom this year as it was a complicated thing just to go outside and enjoy nature. So, I thought to myself, if I can’t experience the real thing, why not paint it?”

Before establishing the According To McGee gallery with her husband and business partner Greg McGee in 2004, Ails was a successful painter, exhibiting in her native Kelso in the Scottish Borders and around Yorkshire.

Ails and Greg McGee after the successful launch of Ails’s Return Of The Painter show as According To McGee re-opened.yesterday afternoon

Her painterly arc flattened with the arrival of children – “three under three years old at one point,” she says – and her forays into charity work and The Artillery art enterprise. Now, however, the arid aspects of Covid have helped Ails focus on how important painting is to her.

“It’s everything. It forces you to see more clearly and, though it can be frustrating trying to harness what you see – all those shades, curves and colours – it’s the mixture of poetry, prophecy and religion that is so empowering and addictive,” she says.

Painting in lockdown has been “very liberating” as Ails built on her experiences of nature in the Borders, this time basing her compositions on the visual power and bitter beauty of the North East coast.

“It’s funny, seascapes come with the unfair caveat that they’re twee and calming, but it’s the opposite of that which intoxicates me and which I hope I am beginning to harness in my paintings,” she says. “The sea can be savage and changeful, on the point of bursting into full bloom, but in a painting it’s rarely twee.”

Bringing her new seascape collection to the commercial market after her hiatus does not unnerve Ails, “It’s the perfect time,” she argues. “I’m in good company: Freya Horsely and David Baumforth are internationally well-regarded masters of their craft in this field and, to be honest, I’ve already made some pre-exhibition sales.

“So, I’m in a very fortunate position. I’m producing paintings, I get to hang them in my gallery, and I’m selling them to collectors who enjoy the visuals of a sea in constant change.”

The difficulties of running a gallery under the shadow of Covid are surmountable, reckons Ails. “We’re launching with a day-long happening,” she said before yesterday’s event. “The gallery won’t be too busy at any given point, we have the attendant sanitisers, and we’re happy to welcome anyone who wants to come: old friends, artists, clients, collectors, new collectors,” she says. “Quarantine has cut culture short for too long. We can’t wait to get back in the groove.”

No York Open Studios this weekend, but all that art still needs a new home, so look here…DAY 25

Land, sea and Freya Horsley

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…

Student artist Monica Marshall

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.”

“The results communicate a powerful message while retaining elements of humour,” says Monica Marshall of her art practice

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.

Past And Present, by Richard Barnes

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.”

“I am looking to highlight the sensations of life and light,” says Richard Barnes

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.

Overlapping, by Emily Harper-Gustafsson

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.

Emily Harper-Gustafsson: “Subtle subversions of traditional perspective”

“My paintings attempt to render the apparently everyday and mundane a matter for epiphany, contemplation and reflection.”

Emily can be contacted via e.a.harper@hotmail.com.

Glancing Light, mixed media on canvas, by Freya Horsley

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.

Freya Horsley: Focusing on transient effects of light and weather

“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.

“I aim to push ideas through a range of unorthodox methods to create a new body of work,” says Benn Jackson

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.

Benn Jackson at work on his process

“’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 inspiration from people, emotion and nature

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.

Jelena Lunge at one of her many York exhibitions in 2019

“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.