Let’s all hope for a good and constructive New Year in the middle of all the political chaos and natural disaster.
Since the clocks went back in October I have seen suffering from (at times) crippling insomnia so a lot is on hold for now. Exploring, visiting new galleries, getting the feel of the area, all these things will have to wait for longer days (and in my case, nights). Hibernation….
Who’s a Bronte fan? I discovered the Brontes as a rather solitary child in Africa, and read everything on my parents’ bookshelves. The textile artist Lindsey Tyson has organised a superb exhibition to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Anne, the lesser-known sister. Today is Anne’s 200th!
Anne Bronte p.200. 200 Artists, 200 pages: each artist was allocated a random page from The Tenant of Wildfell Hall to use/embellish/adapt /illustrate – in whatever way we chose. Above is mine. My page involved an implied discussion of two relationships, and bristled with harsh, hostile and brutal words about the state of marriage. I imagined these swept up into a sort of murmuration which swirled over the cliffs of Scarborough where poor Anne, already author of two powerful novels, died aged only 29.
The resultant pages, each totally different from the others, have also been made into a striking book. The show runs from 11 January-7 February 2020, Scarborough, and there are numerous brilliant events associated with it.
The first private view I went to in York last year was at the lovely Pyramid Gallery, on Stonegate, right in the heart of the old town right near the Minster. As a member of the York Art Workers Association I’m showing work there from 17 January-23 February 2020. Begins tomorrow!
And the following month, my friend and neighbour Julia and I are opening our adjacent gardens on this secret little lane (snickleway), Mount Parade, and displaying a range of sculpture, ceramics and art from some terrific artists. Do put it in your diary: two weekends, 13-14, 20-21 June, Art in the Garden. An attempt to brighten our lives…more details soon.
A propos of beautifully-produced books such as Bronte and Flux Review, let’s not forget the wonderful Book of All Good Things recently published by the fabulous Stephen Ellcock. It’s sold out and re-printing – Stephen would like you to order from your local independent bookshop. Full of striking, beautiful and often mysterious images from many times and places. It’s receiving extraordinary praise and attention.
I nearly cancelled my Open Studio weekend in December, but compromised and opened for a single day. I was joined by Robin Grover-Jacques with his beautiful metalwork. A huge pleasure – and thank you, Julia and Annis, for all your help. Though we didn’t have April-style crowds there was a steady stream of visitors. Neighbours, friends from a distance, passers-by, other artists and people who had seen our publicity. Thank you so much for coming!
The people (and animals) of York are so friendly and constructive and have made our move here easy. Our house and its situation are delightful, but there’s a lot that doesn’t work properly and we need building works on the house soon, In the meantime, there are a surprising number of art events on my horizon.
From 14 January to 24 February I’m taking part in a joint exhibition with Lesley Peatfield (photographer) at the Angel on the Green. It’s on the famous Bishy Rd in York (our local shopping street). Every show I have seen there has been excellent so I’m very pleased to have been asked. Here are the details. Thank you Jo and Charlotte.
It’s also an honour to have had a piece (above) accepted for the annual Open Exhibition at the Ferens Gallery, Hull. This painting on handmade paper returned from the much-missed Nigel Rose Gallery, Brighton, via a circuitous route – thank you so much, Judith and Helen! 15 February – 26 April. In April I’m again going to be part of York Open Studios 2020 here at the Wolf at the Door, York: 18-19, 25-26 April 2020. Last year was smashing – I loved it.
Other excitements: the very first edition of the exquisitely produced Flux Review is out, and being distributed widely throughout the art and design world by its extraordinary creator, Lisa Gray. I’m honoured to be in there. The exhibition Positive Emotions also continues at the Kunsthuis Gallery, Crayke, N Yorkshire. And tomorrow a new exhibition opens at the Blossom St Gallery, York. The theme is ‘Urban Decay’; I’m one of five artists.
One sad piece of news. Citrus, aged 19 ½, quietly gave up the ghost before Christmas. My paintings are now safe from her extravagant and often damaging attentions. Famous at Open House events – she always featured in the Visitors’ Book – she began to flag in Hove and didn’t really adjust to life oop north. Raise a glass to her.
Furthermore, we can’t locate Penguin – his second disappearance this year. He was at the Wedding last June and holidayed in Antibes in September. But where is he now? Please keep an eye out for him. And raise another glass: happy New Year to all. We can only hope for Good Things….