Jo Walton curates Wildish exhibition of paintings, pots and poems at Pyramid Gallery with emphasis on mystic femininity

Wildish curator Jo Walton with a pot by Julie O’Sullivan and one of her own rusted works at Pyramid Gallery

GUEST curator Jo Walton and her invited exhibitors will launch their Wildish exhibition of paintings, pots, jewellery, poetry, artist-designed wallpaper and ceramic sculpture over drinks and nibbles at Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York, tomorrow, from 11am to 3pm. Everyone is welcome.

When Rogues Atelier Studios artist and interior designer Jo approached gallery owner Terry Brett, offering to curate an exhibition in the two first-floor galleries, he had no hesitation in saying yes.

She has exhibited her “rust prints” and rusted or treated steel paintings at Pyramid Gallery on several occasions already.

Now she has selected five artists and a poet to contribute to a joint show based loosely on the theme of deep and sensual mystic femininity.

Taking part will be Jo, Julie O’Sullivan, Christine Pike, Izzy Williamson, Zoe Catherine Kendal and York poet Nicky Kippax.

A close-up of Christine Pike’s Precious

Terry has been assisting with setting up the show. “It’s very refreshing for me to return from a short holiday and be able to watch Jo and the Pyramid team of Fiona, Sarah, Ali and Angela, set up a complete show,” he says.

“And the show looks good, based on wild country scenes and imaginary creatures in materials that have a big impact through texture or colour.”

Jo’s work is primarily abstract, often combining rusted metal with oil painting, and using wax, gold, silver and copper leaf to create imaginary, colour-scapes, seascapes and earth-scapes. Her art on wooden panels, metal and textured surfaces ranges in size from 20cm to 1m square.

From her studio in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, Julie O’Sullivan presents a body of work shaped by living alongside the transient beauty of the Thames Estuary. This leads to her incorporating found sea-glass, seaweed, shells and pebbles taken from the shoreline.

Julie uses a coarse-textured stoneware clay, yet there remains a sensuous delicacy or fragility to her work.

The poster for the Wildish exhibition at Pyramid Gallery

Izzy Williamson specialises in making original, limited-edition relief prints rooted in nature and stories from her childhood in Whitby, where the narratives within her work express feelings of playfulness and wonder. She also produces designs for interiors, packaging and branding.

Zoe Catherine Kendal makes jewellery and sculptural objects from mixed precious and non-precious materials such as ancient and antique beads, ceramics, and metals. Her one-off creations reflect a playful exploration of form and aesthetics, while revealing craftsmanship and a passion for ancient and contemporary adornment.

Christine Pike, who holds an MA from Norwich University of the Arts, makes works that tell stories. They vary in subject and scale, but with one central theme: a joyful appreciation of nature and our relationship with it, viewed through the lens of folk tales and myth. She works in paperclay, ceramic and mixed media.

York poet Nicky Kippax’s work can be found in anthologies and magazines, such as Poetry News, The Rialto and The Alchemy Spoon, and has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. Her first collection will be published soon. For Wildish, she will weave her wordy magic among the artworks.

The gallery opening times until September 1 are 10am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday.

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

Emma, photographic portrait, by Claire Cooper

YORK Open Studios 2020, the chance to meet 144 artists at 100 locations over two April weekends, has been 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 their ceramics, collage, digital, illustration, jewellery, mixed media, painting, print, photography, sculpture and textiles skills.

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.

Analogue photographer Claire Cooper

Claire Cooper, photography

CLAIRE’S work explores women represented through the medium of analogue photography, screen print and intaglio printmaking techniques.

“Portraits are special because, by definition, there are at least two people involved in their making: the artist and the sitter,” says Claire.

“Neither has complete control over the other; portraiture becomes a negotiation between parties, a dance of wills that results in a collaboration of sorts.”

Trudy, Hove, 2012, photographed by Claire Cooper

Claire, who completed an BA in Photography in 2000 and an MA in 2013, uses sitters both known and unknown in her experiments with different formats of photographic portraiture.

She has shown work in group shows across the country, and away from photography, she has a background in the community arts sector, predominantly with  DARTS in Doncaster. Find out more via

Portrait Of A Friend, by Zoe Catherine Kendal

Zoe Catherine Kendal, painting

ZOE is a multi-disciplinary artist and jewellery maker from a family steeped in artistic pursuits.

Great-granddaughter of Bernard Leach, “the father of British studio pottery”, she  attained a BA in jewellery design from Central Saint Martins, in London, the city where she was raised before moving to York.

Her York Open Studios show would have focused on her paintings: works that combine experimental, abstract approaches with colourful, contemporary representations of portraiture, seascapes and cultural heritage, capturing feeling, narrative and identity across varied material and media. 

Zoe Catherine Kendal: Capturing feeling, narrative and identity

Overall, her experimental practice is material-led, combining pastel and paint on canvas, paper and wood; precious and non-precious metals, ceramics and beads with leather and yarns.

Zoe’s paintings have been exhibited at According To McGee, York, and Bils & Rye, Kirkbymoorside; her jewellery at CoCA at York Art Gallery, Lottie Inch Gallery, York, and Kabiri, Marylebone, London. Cast an eye over her work at

Flying Low, by Cathy Denford

Cathy Denford, painting

BROUGHT up with wild nature in New Zealand, Cathy trained and worked as a director in theatre and television in England.

Since settling in York in 1998, fine art has been her strong focus, shaped by initial study in printmaking with Peter Wray and painting with Jane Charlton at York St John University and later at Chelsea College of Arts and the Slade.

First exhibiting at York Open Studios in 2006, she creates oil and mixed-media paintings suggestive of movement, set against stillness, often of birds in landscape.

Cathy Denford: “Movement, set against stillness”

Combining figurative and abstract styles, with elements of Cubism, her work explores space and time passing.

Cathy’s paintings have been shown at galleries in Leeds, Scarborough and Leeds, Zillah Bell in Thirsk and the Norman Rea Gallery and music department at the University of York. More info at

Milet plate, by Hacer Ozturk

Hacer Ozturk, ceramics

HACER is a Turkish ceramics and iznik tiles artist from Istanbul, now settled in York, where 2020 would have marked her York Open Studios debut.

Her work combines traditional and contemporary free-style Turkish ceramics, both formed with the same techniques that were first applied thousands of years ago.

Hacer Ozturk: artist and researcher

Latterly, she has started painting, drawing on traditional iznik tile motifs. Aside from her ceramic creativity, she works as a researcher in Istanbul. Seek out

Yorkshire, by Chrissie Dell

Chrissie Dell, printmaking

CHRISSIE is a printmaker inspired by the environment, making multi-layered monoprints, monotypes, collagraphs and Moku-Hanga (Japanese woodcuts).

She uses such techniques as collage, chine collé, viscosity, stencils, natural pigments and materials to create textural prints that interpret the forms, colours and textures of the natural world.  

Chrissie Dell at work in her studio

Growing up in Edinburgh and on the west coast of Scotland, Chrissie first studied printmaking in the early 1970s at the Froebel Institute, London, but only set up her studio in 2013 after further study at Leith School of Art and Edinburgh Printmakers, her studies taking in painting, drawing, artists’ books, printmaking and creative textiles.

Chrissie has exhibited in Edinburgh, as well as at Blossom Street Gallery and Pyramid Gallery in York, and she is a member of York Printmakers and York Art Workers’ Association.

2020 would have been her third participation in York Open Studios. Still in the diary, however, is the York Printmakers Autumn Print Fair at York Cemetery Chapel on September 26 and 27.

TOMORROW: Zosia Olenska; Anna Cook; Leesa Rayton Design; Karen J Ward and Mark Azopardi