Kentmere House Gallery to reopen from April 12 with Jack Hellewell’s Travels show

Arab World, Tunis, by Jack Hellewell (1920-2000)

“AT last the gallery is able to re-open,” says a relieved Kentmere House owner and curator Ann Petherick as she marks its 30th year in business by launching Jack’s Travels, her latest Jack Hellewell exhibition in York, on April 12.

“One of the gallery’s best-loved artists, the late Jack also had an anniversary to be celebrated last year: he would have been 100 in 2020,” says Ann, who first exhibited Hellewell’s work at her original gallery in Grape Lane before moving home and gallery to a Victorian former Methodist minister’s house at the bottom of Scarcroft Hill, overlooking Knavesmire, in 1991.

“Jack first showed with the Grape Lane Gallery in the 1980s and we’ve continued to present his artworks ever since. We had planned a series of exhibitions in celebration of his centenary but had hardly started on them when all had to stop because of the pandemic.

“They will now take place this year: the first, Jack’s Travels, will open next Monday and will include many paintings that have never before been shown.”

Arcade, by Jack Hellewell

Yorkshireman Jack Hellewell (1920-20000) not only travelled widely but he also lived in Australia. “All his experiences provided inspiration for his painting,” says Ann.

Born in Bradford, Jack trained as a painter at Bradford College of Art from 1949-1952 and lived in Menston and latterly in Ilkley. He saw war service in Egypt, North Africa and Italy and then worked as a graphic designer 

His travels with his family took him to Australia, New Zealand, the South Seas, Austria and frequently to Scotland. In 1976 he gave up his design work to become a full-time painter and returned to West Yorkshire.

“All his paintings were executed entirely from memory,” says Ann. “He always refused to sketch on site, believing that ‘it ties you down’, and everything was derived from personal experiences.

Socatra, Indian Ocean, by Jack Hellewell

“His travels and encounters had a dramatic impact on his painting and he had the ability to retain the essence of a place, so that years – or even decades later – he could produce a painting from it.

Much of his work used the visual experience of intense light in warmer climates, as compared with the more subtle light to be found in Britain.”

Jack always worked in acrylic, enjoying the contrasts it offered between strong and subtle colours and the feeling of movement that became such a feature in his work.  “He had the ability both to use the medium ‘neat’ on canvas, or to use it diluted on paper to give the effect of the most delicate watercolour,” says Ann.

Jack exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, in London, on several occasions in the 1990s and his work is in the collections of British Rail, the National Power Company, Rochdale Art Gallery, Manchester City Art Gallery and Provident Financial, Bradford, among others.

Sailing Hopefully, by Jack Hellewell

To mark next week’s socially distanced reopening, under Step 2 of the Government’s roadmap to recovery, the Covid-secure Kentmere House Gallery will be open every day for the initial week, Monday to Saturday, April 12 to 17, 11am to 5pm, with extended opening to 9pm on the Thursday.

The gallery then will revert to its usual pattern: opening on the first weekend of the month, from 11am to 5pm each Saturday and Sunday, complemented by late evenings from 6pm to 9pm every Thursday. “As always, visitors are welcome at any other time by ringing ahead or just taking pot luck by ringing the bell,” advises Ann, who can be contacted on 01904 656507 or 07710 810825.

Having founded Grape Lane Gallery in 1984, Ann and David Petherick bought Kentmere House in 1991 to combine a home with an art gallery. “Having seen galleries in homes in London, we could see the benefits for buyers of viewing paintings in a home setting and browsing in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere,” reasons Ann.

“For 30 years, we have searched out talented artists from throughout the UK and have thoroughly enjoyed doing so, meeting artists in their homes and studios, many of whom have become friends.

“For 30 years, we have searched out talented artists from throughout the UK and have thoroughly enjoyed doing so,” says Kentmere House Gallery curator Ann Petherick

“It has, of course, made the lockdown period more than ever frustrating, but we managed to fit in a few days in Edinburgh last September, after a brief trip to the Lake District earlier in 2020, and we’re eagerly planning visits to Oxford, Kent, Suffolk and Scotland in the near future.”

Many of the artists exhibited by Ann are nationally known names and members of national societies, specialising in semi-figurative work, with a gallery policy of combining regular exhibitors, such as Susan Bower, John Brunsden and Michael Ewart, with artists not yet known in the north or newcomers.

“All are unique to Kentmere House,” she says, eschewing the term “contemporary” to describe her stable of artistic talent. “The word ‘contemporary’ has been hijacked and is now used almost entirely to refer to abstract and conceptual work, when in fact it simply means being produced at this time.

“The result can be that many potential buyers find the art market confusing and intimidating and don’t know where to start.”

In other words, as the ever-forthright Ann would put it, Kentmere House Gallery would make a good start from April 12.

The entrance to Kentmere House Gallery and that all important bell to ring if making a chance visit

Blue Tree Gallery’s Revive show goes online from today – and fills the window too

Follow Me, acrylic canvas, by Giuliana Lazzerini

BLUE Tree Gallery’s new online exhibition, Revive, opens today, showing original paintings by artist-in-residence Giuliana Lazzerini, Steve Tomlinson, James Wheeler and Giles Ward.

“We’re temporarily closed due to the third lockdown but still operating with online shows and displaying the artworks in the gallery and gallery window for those passing by,” says Gordon Giarchi, co-owner of the gallery in Bootham, York.

Giuliana Lazzerini, born in Seravezza, near Pietrasanta, in Tuscany, moved to Yorkshire in 1987. “My work is varied and often developed from an idea encountered during a journey that takes me in an unknown territory where I grow as an artist,” she says.

“I usually work in a small series of paintings, where memory and imagination come to interplay. Time made me more familiar with the English northern landscape, and it finally has left a mark in some of my work as I become more intrigued by its drama and atmosphere.”

Ambient Tide, acrylic on calico panel, by Steve Tomlinson

Art has always been central to Steve Tomlinson’s life, from passing his art exam and 11-plus in order to go to an art grammar school, Moseley Road School of Art, in Birmingham, to attaining a degree in Fine Art at Canterbury.

After an early career in exhibitions at the British Museum and interpretive projects for the heritage industry, he has worked on public art projects – mainly sculpture – for many years. “I’ve always painted and my work here at the Blue Tree Gallery is a further, somewhat symbolic, development of my interests in the sea and the associated physical and emotional experiences it brings,” says Steve.

“There’s a timeless reflective quality to walking on a beach or staring out to sea: it gives back a version of our own thoughts and feelings. As we occupy this threshold, our minds are filled with a sense of space, of time and our own human fragile place in the world and the paintings attempt to stimulate such a contemplation.

“The textures I create suggest the wind, the sounds of the sea and other coastal features, such as pebbles, rocks and driftwood. I hope that my work may encourage people to look beyond or within themselves and that the beholder will find a meaning that is pertinent, personal and rewarding. To quote E. E. Cummings: ‘It’s always ourselves we find in the sea.’”

Force Of Nature, abstract oil on canvas, by James Wheeler

Glasgow-born James Wheeler studied at the Glasgow School of Art and trained as a carpet designer before moving south to be the design studio manager at a Yorkshire carpet manufacturer, where he has become one of the UK’s leading carpet designers.

The importance of colour and composition in his professional designs has flowed naturally into the subtlety of hue and texture in his landscape paintings, painted primarily in oils on cork.

His work straddles the contemporary and the timeless, inviting viewers to invest in a personal interpretation of each painting.

James seeks to mix memory and desire in the light and atmosphere of his landscapes, drawing inspiration from visits to his homeland, Scotland, and from holidays spent in France, Venice and the Mediterranean islands. Closer to home, his love of the Lake District and Yorkshire scenery stirs him too.

Six Sprats, oil and acrylic board, by Giles Ward

Giles Ward is an artist and writer originally from Yorkshire, where he studied Fine Art in Sheffield before moving to Exeter to study Illustration and Graphic Design, since when he has exhibited both in the UK and overseas.

Experimentation is at the heart of Giles’s painting, pre-dominantly in oils. His canvases take on other-worldly textures with the addition of acrylics, inks, spray paint, varnishes and anything else he can lay his hands on. He is inspired by the natural world and examines the hidden worlds of colour and texture found in nature’s close-up detail.

“We may be closed but we are always ‘open’ for your queries by email and to purchase online at bluetreegallery.co.uk,” says Gordon. “You can now use the Own ArtScheme service in the comfort of your own home, paying for your art in ten interest-free monthly instalments. Just get in touch by email at bluetreegallery@hotmail.co.uk.”

Revive can be viewed online at bluetreegallery.co.uk until March 13.

David Finnigan and Peter Davis launch According To McGee’s new year of painting

Artist Peter Davis with According To McGee co-curator Ails McGee, each holding a work from his Zeitgeist series at the gallery in Tower Street, York

DAVID Finnigan and Peter Davis will launch According To McGee’s focus on contemporary artwork in 2021 with a joint show from January 8.

“We see the pending challenges of the new year as an opportunity to refocus our ambition to provide crucial contemporary painting for collectors from all over the UK,” says Greg McGee, co-owner of the Tower Street art-space in York.

“We are a gallery that champions painting and the skill set and specific cultural heft that comes with it.”

Greg and co-owner Ails McGee “never got over our mid-Nineties education as art students”. “We were told by professors that painting as a medium was dead,” he recalls.

“It was ‘bourgeois’, ‘patriarchal’, ‘colonial’ and ‘irrelevant’, when exhibited alongside its shinier competitors: performance art, installation art, light projections and conceptual art.

“Twenty-five years later, and here we are, directing a commercial, independent art gallery. We see everyday close-up just how crucial painting is to culture and the creative industries. It’s painting that people want, and it’s never going to go out of fashion.”

Skater, Old Rowntree’s Factory, by Peter Davis, from his new series for According To McGee, York

Outlining the McGees’ outlook for 2021, Ails says: “We thought if we we’re going to get the foot in the door of 2021, we’d better come accompanied with painters who reflect the confidence of us going forward to thrive as a gallery in the ‘new normal’. So, we’re honoured to bring to York the painters David Finnigan and Peter Davis.”

Greg rejoins: “Both push paint around with the panache of Nureyev. This is ground-breaking work by any standard. What’s interesting is they both prioritise a realistic element. It’s not photorealism, as such, but a vision and a precise draughtsmanship that most artists would kill for.

“Contemporary painting is one of the few genres that have been democratised to the point of silliness. A perfectly executed painting is not a relic of the patriarchy. Spilling half a pint of acrylic from hip height on a canvas is not liberating because it deconstructs Western hegemony.

“At best, it’s creative, but it’s not art. Painting demands a zeal and a focused work ethic just as much as ballet or singing opera does. David and Peter and their respective collections showcase that better than any other painter we know and are perfect for our Contemporary Painting In 2021 series.”

The McGees are intrigued by Finnigan’s work not fitting into any pigeonhole. “It’s not just photorealism, where the paint simply does the job of a camera, but a whole lot slower,” says Ails.

“He observes his subject and then begins a process we as a gallery have seen only David execute. He breaks what he sees down into components, exaggerating certain aspects while retaining the realism of others. It’s a unique, idiosyncratic dedication to harnessing his own vision.”

Evolution, an earlier work by David Finnigan, not on show in his latest exhibition at According To McGee

David explains: “Although, in recent years, my paintings have been rooted in the traditions of photorealism painting, I’m now beginning to subvert the idea of a painted version of a photograph by ‘breaking up’ or modulating the picture plane to add new dimensions via careful and intuitive use of colour and graphical composition.

“I feel my work now has more of an affinity with the ‘Precisionists’ rather than the ‘Photorealists’.”

Finnigan, by the way, is working on a new smaller painting and developing ideas for the next few in his new series. “These will share the same visual concept that the work I’ve brought to According To McGee has,” he says. “Namely, subverting the surface detail of ‘the reality’ and forcing the issue of colour foremost, by adding a new layer of composition.”

Finnigan’s paintings sit well alongside the latest collection from Manchester artist Peter Davis, who is a member of the Contemporary British Portrait Painters and an elected council member of the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts.

“This is truly a solid duo exhibition,” says Greg. “Peter is recognised by the industry and serious collectors as one of the most important social realist painters in the UK.

“Normally, he focuses on figures dimly lit by their own absorption in their personal technology, but this series is different: Peter has produced a collection, Living History and Technology in York, especially for According To McGee.”

Graffiti, Old Rowntree’s Factory, by Peter Davis, from According To McGee’s first Contemporary Painting in 2021 exhibition in the new year

The McGees see Davis’s new work as a natural dovetail with the art of David Finnigan, as well as with their gallery’s mission statement. “We’re a contemporary art gallery in a city known for its history,” says Ails.

“There are loads of edgy, innovative aspects to York that sometimes don’t get noticed as much as they should. As awesome as heritage is, York is also shot through with what we call ‘Living History’. This is an opportunity for collectors to add art that reflects just that to their collection.”

Peter says of his new York collection: “Living History and Technology in York is part of a new urban realist series capturing contemporary stories of people in everyday life, technology in hand.

“These three paintings feature the old Rowntree’s factory on Haxby Road and are set in different parts of the building. I really liked the idea of capturing this York landmark before it’s redeveloped.”

As the changeover of calendars fast approaches, Greg looks back on a year in the unrelenting grip of the Coronavirus pandemic. “Yet 2020 still turned into the utopia I initially envisaged,” he says.

“In the shadow of the pandemic, I assumed fractures and tribalism would coagulate:  it’s hard to argue about politics in the pub when there’s a plague outside stalking the streets.

Critical Mass, by David Finnigan, on show at According To McGee

“But what happened instead was the noisiest, angriest year I have ever seen, which, conversely led to huge sales of impressionistic seascapes. The bitter beauty of dark seas, offset by just enough light on the horizon, became a refuge of many of our clients.

“So much so that Ails, my wife and business partner, felt encouraged to return to the studio to pick up the paintbrush. Her collection sold out and we look forward to exhibiting the next collection in 2021.”

Ails is confident 2021 will provide a clearer pathway for creative talents on every level. “After a year where the dominant theme has been uncertainty, creative people are rolling up their sleeves and identifying where they want to be at a given point. We are no different,” she says.

“For a while, as a gallery, we spent maybe a little too much time trying to reinvent ourselves with electronic art, video art, sound art and concepts. Believe me, that stuff is as boring to curate as it is to view.

“We’re a gallery that celebrates contemporary painting, and it’s for that reason that we’re preparing for our 17th anniversary as our most successful year yet. That’s a bold claim, but we have the art of David Finnigan and Peter Davis to launch. This is about as good as it gets.”

Contemporary Painting in 2021: David Finnigan and Peter Davis runs at According To McGee, Tower Street, York, from January 8 to February 14 2021. “We’ll be open, Covid-compliant, with no gatherings,” says Greg McGee, in the light of York’s Tier 3 status from December 31.

The Red Door, Old Rowntree’s Factory, the third new Peter Davis work on show at According To McGee from January 8

Now’s the time to add finishing touch to your home revamp with artwork, urges Kentmere House curator Ann Petherick

Strictly, one of Susan Bower’s witty works, on show at Kentmere House Gallery, York

JANUARY is always a time to rethink what you want, in terms of home, job, friends and more besides, says Kentmere House Gallery owner Ann Petherick.

“Many people have spent time this year revamping their homes. Now, it’s time to add the finishing touch that will set your interior apart from the rest: original art,” she suggests. “It costs a lot less than you think and it will last you a lifetime.   

“With an original work from Kentmere House Gallery, you will have something that will complement the style of your home and express your personality in a way that a sofa or a cushion can’t.”

Kentmere House, relaxed home to Ann’s long-running gallery in Scarcroft Hill, York, shows the work of around 70 artists, many of them known nationally and exhibited nowhere else in the north.

Sunrise At Filey, by Kentmere House Gallery regular exhibitor John Thornton,

“Promising newcomers are shown side by side with established artists, so you can back your own judgement and identify the big names of the future,” says Ann. “All are at affordable prices and you can enjoy spending your Christmas gift money to buy that special piece of art you’ve always wanted.”  

Among the gallery’s new arrivals are Susan Bower’s witty family scenes, Keith Roper’s subtle semi-abstract landscapes and John Thornton’s striking seascapes and woodland scenes.

Kentmere House Gallery will be open on the first weekend of 2021, January 2 and 3, with reductions and special offers from 11am to 5pm each day. “All are welcome,” says Ann, whose home gallery also has late opening every Thursday evening, 6pm to 9pm, and welcomes visitors at other times by arrangement on 01904 656507 or 07801 810825.

York stags and hens, racecourse revellers and gargoyles, all through the eye of Dan Cimmermann at Art Of Protest Gallery

Trout, by Dan Cimmermann, from his new Oy! Oy! collection at the Art Of Protest Gallery, York

POCKLINGTON School art master Dan Cimmermann will be painting live from 11am until darkness at tomorrow’s Art Of Protest Gallery launch of his Oy! Oy! solo show in York.

“Join us for a glass of festive fizz and check out this collection of originals based on the streets of York,” says gallery founder and owner Craig Humble, extending an invitation to a timely exhibition that merges York’s past and present.

Put bluntly, “St William’s Window versus Stags, Hens and Racecourse Revellers”. “This exhibition uses art’s first role – to make us look – as a means to encourage our thoughts about what’s important for the living vibrant reality of York today,” he contends.

“We can respect the layers of history that make our city so attractive, while embracing those who use our city for celebrating birthdays, hen dos and globally important sporting events.” 

Woo! Woo!, by Dan Cimmermann, newly on show at the Art Of Protest Gallery

Craig, who has re-located his ever-provocative gallery to No. 11, Walmgate, this autumn, continues: “Dan’s show is another example of the Art Of Protest showing the contemporary side of this ancient city. Dan is a Yorkshire artist whose work is predominantly shown in London and Tokyo, so, as an art master at the 16th century Pocklington School, it’s nice to be able to show his work a little nearer home.”

Dan’s Oy! Oy! collection has emerged from his countless visits to York. Living nearby, he enjoys the city’s shops and restaurants, making cultural visits and a day at the races. As a keen photographer as well as a painter, he often takes snaps of scenes and events that catch his eye.

Over the years, he has come to ask himself, “What is it about a city with such a heritage that attracts such gatherings of hedonism and partying?”.

“When I was looking through my photos and sketches, I was struck with the contrast between the stoic architecture, layers of history and the revellers that drive the city’s economy today,” Dan says. 

Dan Cimmermann’s studio with his works Woo! Woo! and Museum Gardens

“Whether they be the stags and hens meeting centrally from across the country, or the landed gentry celebrating a coup at the races, York is filled every weekend with drunken forms and faces finding their way around the streets and alleys.

“I kept imagining the Minster’s gargoyles looking down and wondering about how their world view had changed over the millennia”.

Reflecting on the exhibition’s timing in the shadow of the pestilent pandemic, Craig says: “To put on this show after York has seen the quietest year in its history, regarding visitor numbers at least, is the sort of juxtaposition that tweaks the interest of an artist and a gallery, now in a new location. 

“Many a local has lamented the city being overrun every weekend, but this staccato year has reminded us all that the city has the restaurants, museums, pubs and cultural investment because of the people attracted to come for whatever reason.”

To mark tomorrow’s exhibition launch, Dan will paint a mural in the backyard of Art Of Protest’s new Walmgate home. Oy! Oy! will then run until January 16 2021.

Dan Cimmermann, pictured when exhibiting at The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle

Winter arrives at According To McGee as David Baumforth opens seascape show

According To McGee co-director Ails McGee and York-born artist David Baumforth assemble his Winter collection in readiness for Saturday’s opening

ACCORDING To McGee, in York, reopens on Saturday with the salty rush of David Baumforth’s new Winter seascapes.

A regular breath of seaside air at the Tower Street gallery, Baumforth’s work depicts the places he loves: the North, its coastline and hinterland.

After handing over the front gallery to York cityscape artist Richard Barnes for Lockdown: The Sequel’s innovative Window Shopping Exhibition, this forthcoming weekend is a tribute to fellow gallery favourite Baumforth, the York-born son of a turner and fitter at British Rail and a packer at Terry’s chocolate factory.

In a long career where he has won the Not The Turner Art Prize, exhibited at London’s Royal Watercolour Society Opens and Royal Academy Summer Shows and received the acclaim of TV art critic Sister Wendy, Baumforth once more embraces his Yorkshire coast and moorland muse for Winter in the latest burst of creativity from his Snainton studio near Scarborough.

“This collection is indicative of a painter who, far from resting on his laurels, continues to blossom,” says Ails McGee of David Baumforth’s new Winter works

Gallery co-director Ails McGee is delighted to see Baumforth retain his title as the “Turner of the North”. “This collection is indicative of a painter who, far from resting on his laurels, continues to blossom. The marks are fierce, even as he captures the last rays of light on winter trees,” she says.

“Most graduates we work with have admitted that they would give their left arm to paint like David Baumforth, which is vindication enough. The pre-exhibition sales that are coming in are also a welcome seal of approval.”

David, now 78, says: “It feels right to be exhibiting in a solo show in York at this stage of my career. My style may have slightly changed, but I’m not interested in gimmicks. The Yorkshire moors and its coastline are a constant source of inspiration for me. I’m happy with my work, so I feel no need for change.

Wintry blast: One of David Baumforth’s new works, capturing the season’s fade to grey

“I’d rather exhibit them in According To McGee than anywhere else as they have a good feeling for good paintings and have done so for some time.”

Ails points to the modern energy of Baumforth’s Winter depictions. “There’s something crucial, like he has something to prove,” she says. “He has always had a reputation of being irascible, but all that has mellowed out now, and whatever bristling, visionary impatience he had is now manifest in his paintings. It is painting that has brought him this far and we are at a fascinating juncture in his career.”

Ails is alluding to 2021’s landmark summer event: David Baumforth: The Final Exhibition. “David is working towards a collection that is in essence a victory lap for a painter who has redefined what it is to depict York and Yorkshire,” she reveals.

“The marks are fierce, even as Baumforth captures the last rays of light on winter trees,” says Ails McGee

“This Winter collection is a forerunner of that, and what we have here available for purchase reveals some very interesting directions David is going in. He has complete control over his vision and style and his work is simply becoming more desirable because of that.”

Co-director Greg McGee is fully recharged for Saturday’s bracing reopening. “2020 has been a turbulent year. Though we have been forced to close our doors in the two lockdowns, our clients have remained loyal and have either contacted us after peeking through our front window or have made purchases through our site.

“That aspect has been fine but, ultimately, we are a contemporary gallery and you can’t beat the energy of opening the door and allowing browsers to enjoy the new collections from excellent artists. That’s why Saturday is so important to us.”

David Baumforth: Winter runs at According To McGee, Tower Street, York, from Saturday, 12 noon to 5pm, daily until Christmas. The gallery also is open by appointment on 01904 671709.

“I’d rather exhibit them in According To McGee than anywhere else as they have a good feeling for good paintings,” says David Baumforth as he delivers the chill of Winter to the York gallery

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

Mask up for the new Susan Bower works going on show at Kentmere House Gallery UPDATED

Christmas Party 2020, by Susan Bower, in the year of the mask

NEW work by Susan Bower, John Thornton and Rosie Dean has arrived at Kentmere House Gallery, Scarcroft Hill, York, in good time for Christmas.

After the Government’s update on York’s Tier 2 status once Lockdown 2.0 ends, Ann Petherick will re-open her gallery on Thursday evening from 6pm to 9pm, followed by the usual first-weekend-of-the-month opening on December 5 and 6 from 11am to 5pm.

Oils, watercolours, pastels and original prints by 70 British artists, ranging in price from £50 to £2,000, are on display and for sale, along with books, greetings cards and Christmas cards exclusive to the gallery.

Ann has decided to open the gallery every weekend in the lead-up to Christmas until December 20, 11am to 5pm. Visits arranged by appointment will be resuming too, either by phone on 01904 656507 or 07801 810825 or by emailing ann@kentmerehouse.co.uk.

Best Friends Forever, by Susan Bower, newly installed at Kentmere House Gallery

Blue Tree Gallery launches The Christmas Show online for now but hopefully….

Snowfall In The Woods, mixed media on board, by Sharon Winter

ORIGINAL paintings by Colin Cook, Giuliana Lazzerini, Nikki Monaghan and Sharon Winter feature in The Christmas Show, the latest Blue Tree Gallery exhibition in York until January 16 2021.

“Another lockdown as we open our new show means the gallery is closed, but we are now online till re-opening again in December, we hope,” says Gordon Giarchi, owner of the gallery in Bootham.

“As well as some stunning new paintings from Colin, Giuliana, Nikki and Sharon, we also have some lovely new ceramics, glass, sculpture and jewellery, which would make the perfect gifts and stocking fillers this Christmas.

”Look out for driftwood sculptures by Natalie Parr, Christmas-themed ceramics by Kath Cooper, oxidised steel hanging decorations by David Mayne and linocuts and handmade Christmas cards by Giuliana Lazzerini.”

Christmas cards, handmade by Giuliana Lazzerini

The Christmas Show has gone live on the gallery website at bluetreegallery.co.uk/christmas-show-2020 for views and sales.

Colin Cook, based near Whitby, is a West Londoner who moved north in 1989 to teach at a further education college, specialising in drawing, painting, photography and digital imaging.

“After many years of teaching, I began exhibiting again about five years ago,” he says. “The subject matter and inspiration for my paintings is taken from the north eastern coast and moors and the Lake District. The paintings are representational, based on observation of the constantly changing and intriguing light.

“Most of my paintings are about creating an atmosphere through the use of dramatic light and bold mark making. Compositional tension is important and hopefully created by the careful arrangement of the different pictorial elements: colour, texture, light, etc.”

A Sunny Evening At Saltwick Bay, North Yorkshire, acrylic on canvas, by Colin Cook

Colin’s paintings are reliant on careful “under-drawing” to create the structure for the looser brush marks to sit on. “The strongest shapes are worked in with large brushes and the smaller areas of specific focus are developed later,” he says.

“I prefer to work with acrylic paints and enjoy the flexibility that working with a water- based medium gives. Sometimes, the paint is heavily ‘impastoed’; on other occasions, it is built up in layers or glazes. Acrylic allows for a certain immediacy as it dries fairly quickly.”

Blue Tree Gallery artist-in-residence Giuliana Lazzerini was born in Seravezza, near Pietrasanta in Tuscany, moving to Yorkshire in 1987. “My work is varied and often developed from an idea encountered during a journey that takes me in an unknown territory, where I grow as an artist,” she says.

“I usually work in small series of paintings, where memory and imagination come to interplay. Time made me more familiar with the English northern landscape and it finally has left a mark in some of my work, as I become more intrigued by its drama and atmosphere.”

Dales Glow, acrylic on canvas, by Giuliana Lazzerini

Nikki Monaghan, who has a studio at Falkirk, Scotland, studied at the Scottish College of Textiles, subsequently working over the years as an interior stylist, designer and artist, while contributing to community arts too.

“My subject matter ranges from narrative landscapes and seascapes to quirky birds and figures,” she says. “I love colour and my paintings evolve by layering up acrylics and oil pastels, creating textures within them.”

Nikki’s work varies in size, ranging from small paintings that concentrate on a particular subject, to larger canvases where scenes evolve.

“Working from memory allows my work to take on a stylised abstract feel,” she says. “I’m influenced by many things: the weather, the Scottish landscape, how I feel when I wake up in the morning, anything that sticks in my head! There are no set rules.”

Gypsophilia And Carnations, mixed media on wood panel, by Nikki Monaghan

Sharon Winter graduated from University College, Scarborough, with a first-class degree in Fine Art in 2001, staying on for another year to do a post-graduate certificate in painting, specialising in tempera painting techniques.

Since then, she has exhibited in Yorkshire galleries and undertaken several artist residencies and her work has been commissioned by Scarborough and Bridlington Hospital.

She has designed and painted theatre “flats” for the Spotlight Theatre in Bridlington and the Bridlington Old Town Association and completed a book illustration project in collaboration with poet John Fewings.

“I work with oils, acrylics, and mixed media,” says Sharon. “I love Pre-Renaissance art, especially the gold-embellished icons and medieval illustrations, and the work of artists such as Marc Chagall, Stanley Spencer and Gustav Klimt.

Christmas-themed ceramic, by Kath Cooper

“I’m interested in combining abstract, sometimes decorative, pattern with figurative subjects inspired by myths, memories and dreams.”

For as long as she can remember, Sharon has loved painting and drawing. “I paint from my imagination, inspired by folk tales, poetry, and dreams,” she says. “I build up layers of paint, collage, gold leaf and text until the images, landscapes, characters and narratives have emerged.”

Whatever happens following the Lockdown 2 update after December 2, The Christmas Show will continue online until the January 16 closing date.

“We are wishing you lots of goodwill, health and happiness this Christmas and hope you enjoy the exhibition, whether online or, hopefully, from December 3 in the brick and mortar gallery, depending on the new Government guidelines,” says Gordon. “We will keep you posted.”

McGee responds to Lockdown 2 with Richard Barnes window shopping launch

York artist Richard Barnes making his socially distanced delivery of his new York and North York Moors works to According To McGee. Standing in the doorway is gallery co-director Ails McGee

ACCORDING To McGee is still putting art in the shop window despite the here-we-go-again impact of Lockdown 2.

“Culture is in quarantine, but collecting great art continues,” says Greg McGee, co-director of the distinctive yellow-fronted gallery in Tower Street, York.

”And if the doors have to close then we’ll use our window to sell our paintings. It’s opposite Clifford’s Tower – we get a lot of footfall – and it’s huge.”

Lockdown: The Sequel has prompted Greg and co-director Ails McGee to launch the Window Shopping series of exhibitions, kicking off with According To McGee’s biggest-selling artist, Richard Barnes, former head of art at Bootham School.

York Minster: A perennial subject matter for York artist Richard Barnes, featuring once more in his Window Shopping exhibition

“Famed for his man-sized portraits of York, Richard’s latest collection, York And God’s Own County, has some of the largest cityscapes and landmarks he has ever produced,” says a delighted Greg.

Window Shopping’s modus operandi addresses the necessity of locked-down galleries displaying their wares explicitly in the window space and making as much use of the wall space viewable from that vantage point as possible.

“I don’t think it’s a skill taught in curatorial lessons at art college, but these are strange times. ” says co-director Ails. “I organised with Richard a socially distanced drop-off of 15 new paintings, created at his garden studio.

“I was blown away by the quality of the new collection. He has always had a muscular, mischievous approach to composition and colour schemes, but these are stand-out works that show him at the top of his game.

According To McGee co-director Ails McGee with a panoply of new Richard Barnes paintings on display in the Tower Street gallery window opposite the reflected Clifford’s Tower, York

“I have filled the front gallery with his work, from floor to ceiling, and we have already made pre-exhibition sales. Not very minimal or a traditional art gallery approach, but the energy is unmistakable. Window shopping works.”

Richard, who lives in Huntington Road, had done some “window showmanship” of his own in the lead-up to this show. “The paintings I love most hit me in the gut and hit me in my soul,” he says.

“During [the first] lockdown, I exhibited the paintings I was making on the back of my studio, so people using the river path opposite could see them. Somehow the job of making paintings that might hit someone somewhere, or even just give them a bit of pleasure, seemed very worthwhile.

“The new set of paintings at According To McGee are those that people commented on most during those tense lockdown months.”

York artist Richard Barnes, caught up in a riot of colour in his paintings for an earlier show at According To McGee

Richard also became involved in a project to create a huge painting for the new mental health hospital for York being built a little further along the Foss river path [the now opened Foss Bank Hospital in Haxby Road].

“The smaller landscapes in the new exhibition are experiments with light and space that I used to inspire the largest landscape I have ever painted and am still working on,” he says.

Barnes’s work has been a building block of According To McGee ever since the gallery launched 16 years ago. “It is especially pertinent this winter,” says Greg. “I’m  honoured to act as the art advisor for the internationally well-regarded poetry zine,  Dream Catcher, whose December issue features the art of Richard Barnes exclusively, so this show chimes with that nicely.”

Casting an eye over the new works, Ails says: “Richard has always painted with the risk-taking energy of an excellent painter in his 20s, but there’s a stronger, fiercer element to this collection.

North Yorks Moors, as portrayed by Richard Barnes in his new God’s Own County series

“Maybe he has rediscovered a latent aggression, or mischief, or maybe it’s Lockdown. Either way, these paintings depict York as a modern city and the North York Moors as a location for contemporary landscapes better than any collection on the market. Come look through our gallery window and see for yourself.”

It is no secret that Richard, who has painted ceaselessly since the 1980s, will be bidding farewell York in the months ahead, selling both his studio and house. “Although I am leaving York and Yorkshire, I really hope I will continue my relationship with painting York and According To McGee,” he says.

“I want to thank Greg and Ails for supporting me and many other northern artists. What I have loved most about working with them is their attitude of ‘Why not?’.”

Watch out for news of his York Farewell Show at According To McGee in 2021. In the meantime, whether out exercising or shopping, take a breather in Tower Street to peruse Window Shopping: Richard Barnes, York and God’s Own County; expansive, bold and inviting eye contact behind glass until December 1.

More, more Moor: How do you like it? Another of Richard Barnes’s moorland Yorkshire paintings on sale in According To McGee’s debut Window Shopping show