Andy Goldsorthy takes part in Ryedale Folk Museum project on pandemic’s art impact

Artists Andy Goldsworthy (left) and Kane Cunningham at Southfield House for their collaboration with Ryedale Folk Museum. All pictures: Tony Bartholomew

SCULPTOR Andy Goldsworthy will be among six artists collaborating with Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton-le-Hole, to explore the impact of the pandemic on artists and their creative practice.

Goldsworthy will feature in a series of videos, created by Scarborough landscape painter Kane Cunningham for sharing in May and June, that will include photographer Joe Cornish, landscape painter Peter Hicks, photographer Tessa Bunney, sculptor Peter Coates and painter Francesca Simon too.

The collaboration will culminate in an open exhibition in September, bringing together professionals, amateurs and hobby artists in response to the northern landscape.

Cheshire-born sculptor and land artist Goldsworthy specialises in site-specific installations involving nature and the passage of time.

His latest work, Southfield House, has been developed on the North York Moors from conditions created by the pandemic and forms part of Goldsworthy’s quest to explore the environment through natural materials.

“It was conceived during lockdown and made between lockdowns,” says Goldsworthy, 64. “I wanted to make something during that period that has that sense of being uplifting,” he says. “The work is now connected to that moment in time.”

Kane Cunningham, left, and Andy Goldsworthy on the North York Moors

Funded by Arts Council England, the Ryedale Folk Museum project “grew out of a strong awareness of the lack of access to the natural environment in adherence to the Government’s Stay Home message at the height of the pandemic”.

Like everyone else, artists have found their travel restricted during the series of three lockdowns, hence museum director Jennifer Smith says: “At its heart, the project is an opportunity for artists to share their experiences and to encourage others who may have seen significant changes to their output because of Covid-19.

“Through Kane Cunningham’s films, we are seeing honest and open discussions about the challenges – and, sometimes, the opportunities – faced by the artistic community.

“Situated within the North York Moors National Park, we needed only to look outside the museum window to realise that there was nobody here during lockdown. One question that interested us was what impact that was having on artists who respond directly to the landscape and who make their living from that inspiration.”

The partnership between the museum and Cunningham, founder and co-director of Scarborough’s Festival of Big Ideas By The Sea, was a natural one.

“For 20 years, I’ve travelled from Scarborough to St Bees, coast to coast,” says Cunningham, whose studio is in the Old Parcels Office at Scarborough railway station. “In a normal year, my art takes me over hill and dale and across mountain pathways to find the perfect view.”

Andy Goldsworthy at Southfield House for the Ryedale Folk Museum project exploring the impact of the pandemic on artists and their creative practice

The sense of loss during lockdown led to Cunningham’s desire to reach out to others on this theme: “I felt the need to discover more about the landscape and what it means to me and other artists in these challenging times,” he says. “Has it changed the way they think about their work? Has it changed the way they think about the landscape?”

Ryedale Folk Museum hopes that sharing the contemplations of assorted artists will inspire people to create new work or to reflect on a piece created since the start of the pandemic, to feature in the open exhibition of 2D and 3D work from September.

The submissions window will be open from this week to June 30, whereupon works for the exhibition will be selected by a panel that will include Cunningham, Joe Cornish and ceramic artist Layla Khoo.

In addition, artists and other creative practitioners, of any art form, are invited to send their own brief film clips – less than a minute long – to be shared on social media, responding to the question: “How has your creative practice changed in the past 12 months?”.

Full details can be found on the museum’s website: ryedalefolkmuseum.co.uk/art-gallery/

Masham artist Ian Scott Massie captures truthful north’s incomparable beauty in Ryedale Folk Museum show from May 17

Masham artist Ian Scott Massie: Capturing “the character of the north” in his Northern Soul show at Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton-le-Hole, from May 17. Picture: Steve Christian

IAN Scott Massie revels in the “incomparable beauty” of the north in his uplifting exhibition of watercolours and screenprints at Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton-le-Hole, an apt location at the heart of the North York Moors National Park.

Running from Monday, May 17 to Sunday, July 11, the Masham artist’s Northern Soul show represents his personal journey of living in the north for the past 45 years since the call to leave the south.

Depicting “the character of the north”, the 50 paintings and prints portray northern views as diverse as Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland and Barnsley in South Yorkshire, and landmarks ranging from the monastic ruin of Fountains Abbey, near Ripon, to the Tees Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough, the longest-working bridge of this ilk in the world. The images reach right across the country from Liverpool to Newcastle.

Born in London in 1952 and raised in Langley, near Slough, from the age of six, Massie first headed north, to Durham University in 1973, to study to be a music teacher. Although he returned to Berkshire in 1982, five years later this folk musician and artist settled in Masham, Lower Wensleydale, with his artist wife, Josie Beszant.

Another Place, by Ian Scott Massie, from Northern Soul

He began working in watercolours “to paint quickly” when his children were small, citing JMW Turner as an influence.

“The depth of colour, the freedom of the expression and the speed at which a picture could come together captivated me,” he says.

The north, he posits, is “the truth of England, where all things are seen clearly”. “Both the pictures for Northern Souland the accompanying book of the same title take a very long view of the north, reaching back into my personal history and the history of the region,” he says.

“The exhibition also refers to my time working as a music researcher for Beamish Museum (which I loved), from which experience grew an interest in the industrial, social and folk culture of the north, which Ryedale Folk Museum reflects so beautifully.”

White Horse, Kilburn, by Ian Scott Massie

Jennifer Smith, director of Ryedale Folk Museum, says: “I’m delighted that we will open Ian’s exhibition on the same day as Ryedale Folk Museum will reopen, following a six-month period of closure. 

“Northern Soul is a stunning and atmospheric journey across northern England. Ian captures the beauty, wildness and culture of The North, transporting the viewer to the places featured in his magical paintings and prints.

“The fact that we can share these works online, as well as in the art gallery, means that even if people can’t or don’t want to travel, they can feel nostalgic about their favourite northern places and maybe discover some new ones too.”

Massie’s Northern Soul project has undergone a long journey to this point, he says in his latest blog. “In 2016, I had the idea of creating an exhibition about my life in the North of England. The idea grew into a series of paintings and prints and then into a book. I found that delving into my past, trying to see how I first saw the places I discovered in the north, was an amazing source of inspiration.”

Moonlight, Whitby, by Ian Scott Massie


The exhibition’s grand tour of the north began in 2019 at Cannon Hall near Barnsley, followed by Masham Gallery, and should have come to Ryedale Folk Museum in 2020 until the pandemic put paid to that plan…until now.

Massie’s first northern encounter had left him “deeply unhappy” in Durham, and yet: “Little did I know that the north would make me. I would grow up there, discover talents for teaching and making art that I never suspected, discover places and music and stories that I would love for the rest of my life, and find happiness,” his blog recalls.

“Along the way, one question would occasionally surface: What makes the north the north? It isn’t simply that old cliche: a hard-working alternative to a soft and lazy south, and yet it’s a hard question to answer.

“It is an alternative of sorts – an alternative to the dreamy chocolate-box portrayal of England that exists only in the imagination. Perhaps, if we’re honest, its the truth of England, where all things are seen clearly: the incomparable beauty of the landscape; the harsh ugliness left by industry; the great wealth of the aristocracy; the miserable housing of the poor; the civic pride of the mill towns and a people as likely to be mobilised by political oratory as by a comedian with a ukulele.”

The Three Peaks, by Ian Scott Massie

Massie continues: “The north is a place made up of a multitude of races, each with their own deep pool of stories which combine to make a shared way of life. Mining, the Potato Famine, the textile industry, persecution, war and politics all brought different people to the north. The list goes on.

“So I’ve approached the Northern Soul as though it were a jigsaw puzzle: examining the pieces I’ve come across over the years for what they can tell me. I’ve got some bits of the edge and some promising parts of the middle, but I’d be lying if I said I was close to completing it.

“There are parts of the north I know only slightly and others I know like the back of my hand, and I’ll plead guilty now to favouring some places over others because that’s just the way it is.”

The accompanying Northern Soul book is available both from the publishers, Masham Gallery, at mashamgallery.co.uk/store/p379/Northern_Soul.html, and from the Ryedale Folk Museum shop and online at ryedalefolkmuseum.co.uk (for £26 plus postage and packaging if bought from the museum website).

Brimham Rocks, watercolour, by Ian Scott Massie

“This book is at once the log of a long, as yet unfinished, journey and a love letter to the North of England. It’s about the places I’ve known and painted, and what part they play in this complex, careworn, mountainous, multi-faceted, wave-tossed, warm-welcoming, wind-blown, freezing, friendly, tough-spirited, tender-hearted, rusty, rebellious, ruinous, green, golden, chilled-out, challenging, deep-rooted, dale-scattered, subtle, smoky, special land,” concludes Massie.

Ian Scott Massie: Northern Soul, Ryedale Folk Museum art gallery, May 17 to July 11 2021; open daily from 10am to 5pm. Entry to the gallery is free.

The exhibition also can be viewed on the Ryedale Folk Museum website during the same period at: ryedalefolkmuseum.co.uk/art-gallery/ 

Roseberry Topping, by Ian Scott Massie


Did you know?

IAN Scott Massie continues a parallel career as a musician, teaching guitar and coaching rock bands at Queen Mary’s School, Baldersby Park, near Thirsk, and performing on stage occasionally. He has been a member of several bands over the years.

He collects and plays unusual musical instruments from around the world and is a founder and events coordinator of the Masham Arts Festival and a founder of the ArtisOn arts and crafts teaching studios at High Burton House, Masham.

 In 2010, he was a semi-finalist on BBC1’s Mastermind, answering questions on artist Paul Nash, one of his greatest influences.

Ian Scott Massie at work in his Masham studio. Picture: Steve Christian

More Things To Do in York and beyond, and not still bedded down in the home bunker. List No. 31, courtesy of The Press, York

Let Ian Massie take you to Another Place in his Northern Soul show at Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton-le-Hole from May 17

NO mention of home entertainment here, as Charles Hutchinson decides to cast fears aside – albeit while acting responsibly – as he looks forward to theatres, bars, galleries, museums and music venues opening their doors once more.

Cupid, draw back your bow and let the beer flow, straight to the York Theatre Royal patio

LOVE is in the Step 2 air, and soon on the York Theatre Royal stage too for The Love Season from May 17.

Cupid’s Bar: Follow the arrow to the York Theatre Royal patio. Picture: Livy Potter

Perfect timing to launch Cupid’s Bar for five weeks on the Theatre Royal patio, where the bar will run from midday to 9.30pm every Thursday to Sunday, providing an outdoor space in the heart of the city for residents and visitors to socialise safely.

Working with regional suppliers, Cupid’s Bar will offer a range of drink options, such as draught beer from Black Sheep Brewery, Masham, and York Gin from, er, York.

Ian Scott Massie: Finding Northern Soul in his landscape watercolours and screenprints. Picture: Steve Christian

Exhibition of the month ahead outside York: Ian Scott Massie, Northern Soul, Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton-le-Hole, North York Moors National Park, May 17 to July 11

MASHAM artist Ian Scott Massie’s Northern Soul show of 50 watercolours and screenprints represents his personal journey of living in the north for 45 years.

“The north is the truth of England, where all things are seen clearly,” he says. “The incomparable beauty of the landscape; the harsh ugliness left by industry; the great wealth of the aristocracy; the miserable housing of the poor; the civic pride of the mill towns and a people as likely to be mobilised by political oratory as by a comedian with a ukulele.”

The Waterfall Of Nikko-Zan In Shimotsuke Province, by Utagawa Hiroshige, 1853, from York Art Gallery’s show of rarely seen Japanese prints, Pictures Of The Floating World. Image courtesy of York Museums Trust

Reopening exhibition of the month ahead in York: Pictures Of The Floating World: Japanese Ukiyo-e Prints, York Art Gallery, from May 28

YORK Art Gallery’s display of rarely seen Japanese Ukiyo-e prints, complemented by much-loved paintings from the gallery collection, will go on show in a new Spotlight Series.

Marking next month’s gallery reopening with Covid-secure measures, Pictures Of The Floating World will feature prints by prominent Ukiyo-e artists such as Utagawa Hiroshige, along with works by those influenced by Japanese art, York artist Albert Moore and Walter Greaves among them.

This free-to-visit exhibition will highlight the significant impact of Japanese art on the western world and the consequential rise of the artistic movements of Aestheticism and Art Nouveau.”

Van the manoeuvre: Morrison’s York Barbican gigs put back to July

On the move: Van Morrison’s York Barbican shows

NO reopening date has yet been announced for York Barbican, but Irish veteran Van Morrison’s shows are being moved from May 25 and 26 to July 20 and 21.

“Please keep hold of your tickets as they will be valid for the new date,” says the Barbican website, where seats for Van The Man are on sale without social distancing, in line with Step 4 of the Government’s pandemic Roadmap to Recovery, whereby all legal limits on social contact are potentially to be removed from June 21.

Morrison, 75, will release his 42nd album, Latest Record Project: Volume 1, a 28-track delve into his ongoing love of blues, R&B, jazz and soul, on May 7 on Exile/BMG.

Lockdown love story: The taster poster for Alan Ayckbourn’s new play at the Stephen Joseph Theatre

New play of the summer: Alan Ayckbourn’s The Girl Next Door, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, June 4 to July 3

AFTER the 2020 world premiere of his virus play Truth Will Out lost out to the Covid pandemic restrictions, director emeritus Alan Ayckbourn returns to the Stephen Joseph Theatre to direct his 85th play, The Girl Next Door, in the summer season.

“I wrote it back in Spring 2020. I like to think of it as a lockdown love story,” says Ayckbourn, introducing his touching, tender and funny reflection on the ability of love to rise above adversity and reach across the years.

Influenced by his own experiences in two “lockdowns”, one in wartime London in childhood, the other in the on-going pandemic in Scarborough, Ayckbourn will play with time in a plot moving back and forth between 2021 and 1941. Box office: sjt.uk.com.

May and April in tandem: York Barbican date for Imelda next spring on her first tour in five years

Gig announcement of the week in York: Imelda May, York Barbican, April 6 2022

IRISH singer-songwriter Imelda May will play York Barbican next April in the only Yorkshire show of her Made To Love tour, her first in more than five years.

“I cannot wait to see you all again, to dance and sing together, to connect and feel the sparkle in a room where music makes us feel alive and elevated for a while,” says May. “Let’s go!”

Last Friday, the 46-year-old Dubliner released her sixth studio album, 11 Past The Hour. The box office opens tomorrow at 10am at yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Dance like Fred Astaire…or more likely like Tim Booth as James end the summer at Scarborough Open Air Theatre

Gig announcement of the week outside York: James, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, September 9

WHERE better for James to announce a summer show in the week they release new single Beautiful Beaches than at Scarborough Open Air Theatre?

The Manchester legends will play on the East Coast in the wake of launching their new album, All The Colours Of You, on June 4. Tickets go on sale tomorrow (23/4/2021) at 9am at scarboroughopenairtheatre.com.

This will be the third that James, led by Clifford-born Tim Booth, have played Scarborough OAT after shows in 2015 and 2018.

The writers, actors, directors and organisers in a Zoom gathering for Next Door But One’s Yorkshire Trios at The Gillygate pub, York

And what about?

GOOD news: Live theatre bursts into life in York for the first time since December 30 when York community arts collective Next Door But One presents Yorkshire Trios in The Gillygate pub’s new outdoor seating area tomorrow and on Saturday.

Themed around Moments Yet To Happen, trios of actors, directors and writers will bring to theatre-starved York a quintet of short stories of laughter, strength, dreams and everything in between: a neighbour with a secret; a delivery driver full of wanderlust; an optimistic carousel operator; a poet inviting us into her world and a Jane McDonald fan on a soapbox.

Bad news for tardy readers? The 7.30pm shows have sold out.