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

Earthbound, by Sally Clarke

YORK Open Studios 2020, the chance to meet 144 artists at 100 locations over two April weekends, has had to be cancelled in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, with doors sadly shut for the April 17 to 19 and April 25 to 26 event, CharlesHutchPress wants to champion the creativity of York’s artists and makers, who would have been showcasing ceramics, collage, digital, illustration, jewellery, mixed media, painting, print, photography, sculpture and textiles.

Each day, in brochure order, five artists who now miss out on the exposure of Open Studios will be given a pen portrait on these pages, because so much art and craft will have been created for the event and still needs a new home. Addresses will not be included at this time.

Helen Whitehead at work in her studio

Helen Whitehead, glass

HELEN’S glass jewellery and sculpture is inspired by her deep connection with wild plants, herbs, the moon and the planets. In her intuitive work, glass is layered with precious metals, paint and images, then fired to produce colourful abstract compositions.

Helen loves experimenting with alchemic reactions in her glass kiln and layering different mediums within small pieces. “My pieces are little worlds, reflecting the inner and outer world,” she says.

As well as working in her York studio, Helen provides fun and friendly fused-glass workshops in the community. Follow her at facebook.com/HelenWhiteheadGlassArtist.

Printmaker Sally Clarke

Sally Clarke, printmaking

SALLY specialises in collagraph printmaking, using the human figure and composition to express atmospheric imagery.

Sally studied for a Fine Arts degree at Gloucestershire College of Arts as a mature student. She worked in various media before discovering printmaking more than 20 years ago, finding herself attracted particularly to its limitless opportunities for experimentation.

Sally is a founder member of York Printmakers, has exhibited in many Yorkshire venues and is a regular exhibitor in York Open Studios. Contact her via sallyclarkeprintmaker@yahoo.co.uk.

Adrienne French: interpreting colour and texture in her landscape paintings

Adrienne French, painting

IN her evocative paintings, collographs and monoprints, Adrienne interprets colour and texture of both local and foreign landscapes.

She pursued her love of art by completing an art and design degree at Leeds University in 2000 while continuing her work as a nurse. Until 2015, she was artist in residence at a hospice, alongside continuing to develop her own artwork, a process that is ongoing.

She has shown her work in northern galleries and takes part regularly in many annual arts events in Yorkshire. All roads lead to Adrienne at adifrench@gmail.com.

Caroline Lord: recycling pottery, wood and metal in mosaics and sculptures

Caroline Lord, mixed media

CAROLINE combines found items of pottery, wood and metal, recycling them into mosaics and quirky ceramic sculptures. 

She studied stained glass and tapestry weaving in the 1960s at Edinburgh College of Art, where she was awarded a scholarship for a further year’s study, specialising in tapestry weaving.

One of Caroline Lord’s quirky sculptures

Ten years ago, after completing a mosaics workshop led by Emma Biggs, Caroline changed artistic direction, starting to work with re-cycled ceramics. 

She has exhibited in York Open Studios, at the Zillah Bell Gallery, Thirsk, with the York Art Workers Association and in the Great North Art Show. Contact her at carolinelord42@hotmail.com. 

Peter Park: textile designer turned painter

Peter Park, painting

PETER would have been making his York Open Studios debut with his expressive and gestural abstract paintings of the Yorkshire landscape and coast in acrylic paint on canvas.

After a foundation course at York School of Art, he studied printed textile design in Manchester (BA) and Birmingham (MA), then worked as a textile designer and lecturer in design in Manchester.

One of Peter Park’s abstract paintings of a Yorkshire landscape

Returning to York in 2013, he began painting, predominantly landscapes that he has exhibited at fellow York Open Studios exhibitor Kay Dower’s Corner Gallery and with Little Van Gogh in London. Seek him out via peter.park500@virginmedia.com.

Tomorrow: Dee Thwaite; Anna Vialle; Rosie Bramley; Tabitha Grove and Peter Heaton.

WHAT’S STILL ON: Pyramid Gallery launches online exhibition for these Strange Days after York Open Studios cancelled

Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett, on Stonegate, York, holding a work by Askrigg artist Piers Browne from the Full Sunlight exhibition

THE Coronavirus pandemic may have shut doors on next month’s York Open Studios, but Pyramid Gallery is stepping in to offer an online exhibition to York artists.

What’s more, gallery owner Terry Brett is calling this new service Strange Days, after the song of that title by The Doors. As rather more than one door closes, The Doors open new possibilities for a different form of Pyramid selling.

“This applies to artists who have sold through the gallery either recently or in the past, and we’re extending this invitation to any of 2020’s 144 York Open Studio artists,” says Terry.

“The artists will keep the work that they’re showing at their studio, and between them and the gallery, delivery will be arranged to the purchaser’s address if it is within a YO postcode.”

Terry has run Pyramid Gallery, in Stonegate, since 1994, says: “We need to survive in these Strange Days, and so do our artists. We noticed many posts on social media this week by worried artists who had heard that York Open Studios was cancelled.  We wanted to do something positive for them. It has given us an aim and lots of work to do, which is very useful for morale.”

Morale that he believes is under immediate threat from this week’s urgently announced Government financial policies in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. “I am disappointed by the ineffectiveness of government to make sensible and working decisions,” says Terry.

The brochure for the 2020 York Open Studios, adapted post-cancellation by participating York jewellery maker Jo Bagshaw

“While other European nations are protecting citizens and employees from economic crisis and worry, our Government seems unable to make the decision to support individuals and freelance workers or self-employed artists.

“These matters are being passed down to the community to resolve. It’s not a good approach. The Government should offer quickly to make payments to everyone, so that we know we can pay rents, employ people and buy essentials.”

Pyramid Gallery is reducing its normal commission to the artist for this event to 20 per cent plus VAT on each sale and is arranging the delivery free of charge to the customer.

“Some artists have already submitted work for the online show, and images are being placed on the website all the time,” says Terry. “The show will continue as long as there is a Coronavirus crisis.”

More details, and the Strange Days lyrics, can be found at https://www.pyramidgallery.com/strange-days-art-behind-the-doors-york-artists-online/.

Pyramid Gallery continues to open its doors, Monday to Saturday, between 10am and 5pm, but will be closed on Sundays. On show until April 26 is Full Sunlight, an exhibition of etchings and paintings by Piers Browne, studio ceramics by Hannah Arnup, figurative sculptures by Helen Martino and glass by Fiaz Elson.

The artwork for The Doors’ Strange Days

Oh, spoiler alert, here are Jim Morrison’s 1967 lyrics to The Doors’ Strange Days:

Strange days have found us

Strange days have tracked us down

They’re going to destroy

Our casual joys

We shall go on playing

Or find a new town

Yeah!

Strange eyes fill strange rooms

Voices will signal their tired end

The hostess is grinning

Her guests sleep from sinning

Hear me talk of sin

And you know this is it

Yeah!

Strange days have found us

And through their strange hours

We linger alone

Bodies confused

Memories misused

As we run from the day

To a strange night of stone

Let’s look forward to the day when Pyramid Gallery can host an exhibition with another of The Doors’ titles, The End, but in a good way, not an Apocalypse Now way.