BLOSSOM Street Gallery, in York, is playing host to an autumn triple bill of exhibitions until November 30.
Taking part are York furniture designer and cabinet maker Richard Frost, celebrating the centenary of Tutankhamun’s discovery; ceramic sculptor Jenny Chan, showcasing her Wise Woman, and painter Jane Burgess, presenting her In Southern Climes watercolours and oils.
Richard’s exhibition comprises pieces of fine furniture inspired by his fascination with ancient Egypt, alongside a number of smaller items, in the culmination to 18 months’ work, including the study of ancient Egyptian artefacts and architecture.
“On November 4 1922, excavators led by Egyptologist Howard Carter uncovered
the tomb of Tutankhamun,” says Richard. “When asked what he saw, he replied, ‘wonderful things’. This exhibition is my tribute to the beauty and elegance of ancient Egypt that he revealed.”
Items exhibited by Richard Frost Design include drinks cabinet inspired by
hieroglyphics, a hat stand and wall cabinets prompted by a study of the lotus
Richard says: “Working from my workshop in York, I produce bespoke and limited-edition handcrafted furniture, household goods and gifts. With no single definitive style, I take my inspiration from both the natural world and our industrial heritage. My portfolio includes pieces with a traditional feel and those with more of a contemporary look. At all times, my objective is to produce an exquisite piece of furniture.”
Born in Hong Kong, Jenny Chan spent much of her childhood on the small island of Nauru without the distractions of a television set and not even a radio. Instead, she explored her environment and loved to tinker from an early age.
She started sculpting in 2017, completely unsure of her capabilities after being a housewife for 16 years. “Despite being ‘confidence zero’, I started to create ceramics sculptures, which I found peaceful and fulfilling, the ideal distraction for relieving anxiety and isolation as a new immigrant in the UK,” she says.
Applying meticulous and reflective craftsmanship, she makes expressive figurative sculptures, each one with its own story. “I find inspiration from the integrity and honesty within people, the vitality, healing and peace,” says Jenny, whose work is intriguingly detailed and touched by her Chinese origins. Her exhibition may continue after November 30, with no closing date set.
Jane Burgess was born in 1948 in Cheshire, where she developed a love of landscape and an interest in drawing and painting from an early age.
“I was influenced greatly by my father, Morgan Hewinson, who was an artist and lecturer at Manchester College of Art,” she says. “He encouraged my enthusiasm for visual art.
“One time, when I wanted to do silk-screen printing, he converted my mum’s tea trolley into a press! Sometimes we went out sketching in the countryside or at slum-clearance and bomb sites in Stockport and Manchester.”
Jane is still fascinated by tangled vegetation, broken fences and dilapidated buildings. “My work sometimes invites the viewer to see beauty in unexpected subjects,” she says.
While at school, she attended Saturday morning classes for sixth-form students at Manchester College of Art, going on to study on a foundation course in Leicester and to gain a BA Hons in art and design at Maidstone College of Art.
After two years of working and travelling in North Africa, the Middle East and India, Jane moved to Huddersfield in 1974 and raised a family. “I started painting in earnest again in the Eighties,” she says. “I work in a variety of media – mostly watercolours and oils – and would describe myself as a tonal and figurative painter.
“Watercolour appeals to me because of its immediacy of use and the luminosity of its colours. With oils, I often paint en plein air, completing a work in one session or creating a piece that I then finish in the studio.”
Jane paints subjects in West Yorkshire, other parts of the UK and abroad. “I’m particularly interested in the effects of light in the landscape and carry a camera everywhere, using photography both as a means of recording and to experiment with composition,” she says.
“Having been an adult education teacher of drawing and painting, I now go out to paint regularly with a group made up largely of my ex-students.”
Jane is an elected member of two professional bodies: Manchester Academy of Fine Arts (MAFA) and Leeds Fine Artists (LFA). “My work has been exhibited widely in solo and joint shows, and many of my pieces are held in public and private collections in the UK, France, Sweden and Spain,” she says.
Blossom Street Gallery opening hours are 12 noon to 4pm, Thursdays (but closed this Thursday); 10am to 4pm, Fridays and Saturdays; 10am to 3pm, Sundays; closed, Monday to Wednesday.