York art blog: Moved by the artworks, not by the estate agent…

Foxes are so urbanised these days… Revolution Kid by Yinka Shonibare
5 Sep 2013 @ 9.10 am
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Foxes are so urbanised these days…  Revolution Kid by Yinka Shonibare
Foxes are so urbanised these days… Revolution Kid by Yinka Shonibare

jayne-headshot Jayne Dwyer seeks out open air art which will take her mind of a stalled house move

August was the month of Art Everywhere but sitting in the compact-and-bijou, which is quickly losing its sense of home, it took a while for art-blogging to take place this month.

Boxes everywhere, bin bags everywhere and all sorts of paraphernalia that don’t quite belong in a box or a bag, are everywhere.

We had ambitions of completing the house sale on the last 19th and as I am writing this am slowly losing faith that it will ever happen. I have to keep thumbing through the Rightmove gallery pics to remind myself it will happen.

I have even invented a new word for my state mind: possimistic. I am still working on a definition and I am sure someone will be able to explain why it doesn’t  fit the rules of etymology, but it works for me.

Art Everywhere. Even Sainsbury’s

The luxury of looking at art has had to take a backseat this month (though at the moment, I can’t find the backseat or any seat). During the weeks before the 19th, I shuffled in and out of the dwellings only to get provisions, and by complete fluke came across part of the Art Everywhere project in a Sainsbury’s car park.

If you want to try and find them, they are on the slope at Foss Islands and will probably miss them if you are in a car.

If you don’t yet know about the project, its intention was to get the nation’s favourite artworks into public spaces all over Britain. There was the opportunity to vote and though I never got around to voting, I was genuinely thrilled to come across these two pieces: Edward Burra’s The Snack Bar and Winfred Margaret Knight’s Portrait Of A Young Woman.

Edward Burra's The Snack Bar
Edward Burra’s The Snack Bar

A friend of mine tried to emulate Burra’s picture for his A Level, back in the day, when the rest of us were busy sketching boxed eggs.

So a bit of nostalgia and five minutes away from it all was just the tonic for my “possimism” and was enough to inspire Ed and I to venture out further and maybe even be brave enough to go to places where the phone signal might be a bit iffy and even risk missing an all important call from the solicitor.

Neil McBride

An extract from Great North Run by Neil McBride
Great North Run by Neil McBride

Baby steps though. We started in the pub, and with a bottle of pear cider started to unwind a little. Another accidental art encounter occurred, as on the walls of the Three Legged Mare were some fantastic prints by Neil McBride.

I particularly like Great North Run, an uplifting crowd scene. You really do get a sense of the euphoria of the end of the race. I am reminded of those earth from the air type photographs that leave you wanting to delve in and physically be there.

Neil told me that he often paints crowd scenes and has been doing so since the 1980s when he used them in the context of an advertising campaign for the Halifax (who coincidentally are arranging our mortgage – there really is no getting away from this house business). He was the art director of Brunning’s ad agency at the time.

Neil is currently showing at a the Showcase Gallery in Richmond, and  putting together work for several other exhibitions for October at Masham Arts Festival, the Leeds art exhibition in aid of St Gemma’s Hospice, and for a solo show at the Spa in Bridlington.

If anybody fancies a day trip with me, perhaps we could gather another crowd to inspire Neil. I would even venture out of signal to Masham to see more of his work.

Roger and Yinka in the park

On our second venture away from the chaos, we made a conscious decision to look for art. We headed for our old faithful, Yorkshire Sculpture Park on a mission to see Yinka Shonibare’s Fabric-ation. Each piece in Shonibare’s exhibition is political and historical but executed with humour (see Alien Woman on Flying Machine).

His sculptures are quirky and vibrant. You can’t help but be drawn in and mesmerised by the African, batik-inspired patterns, which are mostly juxtaposed with European costume. His pieces are said to “explore the ambiguity of heritage and identity” addressing issues such as dislocation, multiculturalism and revolution.

Almost as beautiful but on the verge of depressing, is Roger Hiorn’s Seizure. A former Southwark council flat was pumped full of 75,000 litres of liquid copper sulphite.

It was originally sited on a derelict housing estate but was saved and now sited in a new building at YSP. The work was nominated for a Turner Prize in 2009.

There is something surreal and ironic about going away to get out of the crowded house to find yourself queuing in funny slippers to see the insides of this old property and its dado rail and old bath. You can’t call this place “almost empty” as it is now occupied by something else: the copper sulphate has beautified the innards of this flat with blue crystals that have formed out of the copper sulphite.

The colour is truly spectacular but it is claustrophobic. It makes me feel sad. This was somebody’s home.

New art to see


Jake Attree 2013, School House Gallery September 13 to October 24

Layers of History, Painting by Rachael Burnett, Kentmere House Gallery September 7 and 8, October 5 and 6, November 2 and 3, 11-5pm

Life Drawing, Corner Gallery Wednesdays from 7pm to 9pm, Low Moor Centre, Bray Road, Fulford, York YO10 4JG
Relaxed and fun, the classes cost £10 and are suitable for all abilities, including beginners. All the materials are included and teas and coffees are free too.

Celebratory Exhibition and Sale of Work at York Cemetery September 14 to 22 in the chapel. Weekends 10am-6pm, weekdays 10am-4pm. Admission free (donations gratefully accepted).
Thirty five of York’s leading artists will be exhibiting works inspired by the beauty of the cemetery in the newly restored chapel within the grounds.
The works of art in the exhibition include paintings, prints, sculpture and photography, which will be for sale, raising funds towards the upkeep of the cemetery and chapel. Also on display, historic photos over the last 175 years.


Masham Arts Festival, October 25 to November 2
the Leeds art exhibition in aid of St Gemma’s Hospice October 24 to 27
Neil McBride solo show at the Spa in Bridlington October 28 to November 9