An airbrushed Athena image of two people snogging – that was Jayne Dwyer’s first. But posters have come a long way since then as a new exhibition proves
I own a collection. At least, I think I do. I expected Dictionary.com to tell me how many items make a collection. It doesn’t. It doesn’t even specify that the items need to be of the same ilk, suggesting instead that a collection is ‘a number of things collected or assembled together’. So, I think I have a collection.
Most of my collection is gathering dust, which is a shame but I’m sure this gives it some authenticity. By now you are imagining Wedgewood or Clarice Cliff. Don’t worry, my collection is a little cooler than that, and is in fact several scrolled up posters, which have seen several house moves and yet have never graced a wall.
They have sat on various bookshelves and the nearest they get to being exhibited is an occasional turning, so that sometimes you can see a strip of the image on each, sometimes the text, depending on what sort of mood I am in and dependent on the rest of the decor in the house.
My first ever poster was from Athena and circa 1985. (This is ignoring Tucker Jenkins and Lamar, whom I tore from Smash Hits, and don’t really count.) My Athena poster caused some distress to my family. I never bought it to be controversial and I never quite understand the ruckus it caused.
My parents had their own poster: Ophelia, semi-clad, her nipples protruding through bull-rushes, but my poster was an air-brushed image of a couple, their gender a little bit ambiguous and they were “snogging” (remember we’re talking ’85) in techni-colour photo-realism. It could have been this that my parents objected to, or they could have just been fretting about what the Blu-Tack would be doing to the magnolia wood-chip.
Unfortunately, at forty-some, it seems a bit ungainly to start Blu-Tacking posters to your bedroom wall. In 2013, posters should be framed, but because framing my posters is on a vast and varied list of things I want to achieve, they remain left on the shelf.
Fortunately, the latest acquisition to my collection is mounted on foam board. I don’t need to do anything. This poster is sitting very proudly on my sideboard and I have spent the last two weeks now drooling. It has made me very happy indeed. My new poster has been born from a bigger collection from According To Mcgee in Castlegate. The poster collection formed an exhibition, as part of the New Visuality Project and is also part of a celebration of the gallery’s ninth anniversary.
The poster exhibition featured posters of past shows, the work of professional artists alongside the work of “amateurs” and people who have faced challenges in their personal lives but have been supported by the project. One of the aims of the exhibition was to highlight the talents of all the artists without discrepancy, and it works. The posters work as a collection, each produced to the same high standard and each with the According To McGee block branding.
I recognised several of the posters, artwork of exhibitions I have been to over the years: Tim Marvel and his sultry sculptures, the monochrome photography of Thomas Rodgers. The poster I have bought, for my own collection, a poster from Jo Brown, Wind And Fire (a beautiful abstract piece in turquoise, inspired by a trip to Iceland) and from an exhibition I missed. The fact that I missed the original exhibition means that the poster fits very well therefore into my private collection: films I have only half-watched (Blow-Up) and other exhibitions I missed but liked the posters of, such as Charlie Parker (Brighton).
Dictionary.com’s definition of a poster does not do justice. The New Visuality Posters are more than “adverts” for exhibitions, more than an invitation to view. They are artworks in their own right.
The posters (for New Visuality, not mine) will be moving to Starbucks in Coppergate in late July, and can also be viewed on the According To McGee Facebook page.
I promised you last month that I would be stalking Jonathan Newdick, and he kindly told me where I would find more examples of his charred wood sculptures: Dutch House, near Crayke. This is a delightful place to spend a couple of hours.
As well as a cafe, selling pancakes and a workshop space, there is a sculpture garden, which is also featuring the work of Gabrielle Naptali until Sunday, June 16. According to Gabrielle, “Love is the healing ointment, apply it to everything.” I couldn’t agree more.
The gardens ooze loveliness and even the nettles have been cultivated. A carving at the entrance tells us ‘the difference between a flower and a weed is a judgement’. In the subjective world of art, this is could also be applied.
Art on the hill
A lady who knows her weeds from her flowers, however, and has to make critical judgements on “what is art” is Ann Petherick from Kentmere House Gallery, on Scarcroft Hill. Kentmere House is also Ann’s home and quite rightly, she needs to really love the art she is exhibiting as she is living with it every day.
She describes her gallery as contemporary but is keen to point out that you won’t find any “pickled sheep” here. Whilst there are some abstract pieces, such as the works of Jack Hellewell (his picture of the Pennines is stunning), many of the works are painterly.
There are some familiar artists: Freya Horsley and Rosie Dean, but Ann collects art from all over the country, to exhibit and sell, and one of the most appealing things about the gallery is that there is an eclectic mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar. Alongside the somewhat melancholy hues of Freya Horsley’s Looking Up Shambles are Susan Bower’s quirky domestic scenes of women and their Dalmatians.
From June, the gallery will be displaying architectural drawings. Ann was asked to put on the exhibition by Love Architecture as part of their 2013 festival and will feature works from Rachael Burnett and Susan Brown, amongst others.
I admit to feeling a little envious of Ann’s home and when I visited, couldn’t help but think how lovely to wake up and eat breakfast in your own gallery, but realising this week that I have my own little collection has been equally satisfying.
To do in June
If you are looking for some beautifully hung pieces (no Blue tack involved), here are my suggestions for June:
Love Architecture, Kentmere House Gallery – June 1 to July 25. Please check website for opening times
Open Exhibition, Mermaid and Miller, Swinegate – from June 7. Local artists have been submitting throughout May and Angie tells me there are some exciting pieces: acrylics and etchings
Andy Fullalove (what a fab name!) Silent Landscapes, According To McGee, Castlegate, from June 7 to July 6