York art diary: What to see this month, September 2014

In her last post before getting married, Jayne Dwyer talks sculpture, royals and a retrospective of a York talent

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Ray Fearn: Self Portrait at According To McGee

August was rather a lazy month, partly because I have spent some of it laid up; my body has been telling me loud and clear: “slow down, you fool”. Finally I had to listen, when my left leg decided one day that it no longer wanted to follow my right.

So, I have missed some of the wonderful invitations to the openings of exhibitions. I have, however, stumbled (quite literally) on some interesting little gems, such as Jo Walton’s Rust exhibition at the Fossgate Social, which is becoming a perfect little venue to see local art and chill over a green tea.

Part of my manic racing around that led to what I will pretend was a sporting injury (it sounds as if I actually exercise) was due to my frantic and stress-inducing efforts to plan for my forthcoming nuptials.

Once I stopped charging around (achieving nothing but a tummy full of Co-codamel and a life-long friendship with an osteopath) I actually began to find the whole process of “getting wed” to be a wholesome and creative activity.

I’ve been painting a sign for the bar, sewing “secret things” and wrestling with tissue paper and garden wire in an attempt to make pom-poms. Kirstie Allsopp, eat your fondant heart out.

Blackened and brilliant

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Ursula von Rydingsvard, Blackened Word, 2008

Unable to make my hen-do, two of my closest friends drove me for a hen afternoon to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield for a much needed cultural fix. Thankfully, Paddy the dog was kept on a close lead and I managed to keep up.

I visit the grounds regularly, but taking the route that Paddy determined meant that I saw a few sculptures I had somehow missed before, such as Julian Opie’s Galloping Horse (mixed reaction from my hens) and Marc Quinn’s exotic and wonderfully erotic Wilder Shores Of Desire.

Thankfully, we made it to the Underground Gallery before it closed and were all blown away by the sheer beauty and brilliance of Ursula von Rydingsvard’s large scale surveys.

Blackened Word, 2008 allows you to imagine you are at a remote and slightly dangerous seaside cove, a place where brave children would choose to play. The cove-like forms, look as ancient as any “real” cove, but are made from crafted and bolted beams of cedar.

I don’t care what camera you have: your pictures won’t do these sculptures justice. Neither my iPhone pics, nor even the ever professional YSP publications, can convey the brilliant scale or the intricacies of these sculptures. They simply have to be seen in situ.

Majestic photos

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Some of Lord Lichfield’s royal portraits in situ at Beningbrough Hall. Photograph: Jo Parker

Talking of photographs, a date I had to cancel due to the above mentioned injury was a trip to Beningbrough to see the Lichfield: A Royal Album exhibition.

Earlier this year, I felt privileged to have had the opportunity to review Royals, Then And Now at Beningbrough.

The Lichfields will accompany, amongst others, Chris Levine’s magnificent, enigmatic portrait of the Queen, until November 2.

I will be married before I get the opportunity to see the exhibition. I am particularly looking forward to seeing pictures from the Kent wedding, 1968: the Queen Mother in conversation with Sir John Betjeman.

Whether you are a royalist or not, this is a must-see exhibition.

Remembering Ray

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The Damned by Ray Fearn

On my wedding weekend, I will be busy again, hobbling down an aisle, of sorts. I will miss another invitation to an exhibition opening – I have sent my apologies and hope that I will be excused.

If I wasn’t otherwise engaged and if it wasn’t such an important diary date, I would be, without a doubt, at the opening of the Ray Fearn exhibition at According To McGee.

Ray passed away in February this year, and the gallery will be celebrating his work, showing Ray’s contemporary landscapes and self-portraits. I only met Ray once, when he opened up his home for York Open Studios last year.

I wrote at the time how oblivious Ray seemed of his own talent. Since meeting him, his name seems to have become synonymous with the word “respect”.

He was obviously highly regarded by his contemporaries in York, and I loved his vibrant landscapes and his brave use of colour.

I will look forward to visiting, and writing my review of Ray Fearn, New Visuality, as the new Mrs Shipley.

This month’s important engagements

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Peter Blake: 75 Years Of The Beano screenprint

Peter Blake exhibition preview. Signed limited edition screen prints by the godfather of pop art. At the Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York, on Friday, September 12, 6pm-8pm. Exhibition continues till October 28

Patrick Smith. The contemporary abstract painter and art tutor will be showing his new paintings and monoprints at The White Room at Priestley’s on Bootham until October 4

Catherine Sutcliffe-Fuller: Land With Opportunity. A series of striking new works that document the changing ‘edgelands’ of York during the construction of John Lewis at Monks Cross. The New School House Gallery, Peasholme Green, York, till October 25

Finding The Value: Contemporary Artists explore aspects of the Madsen Collection, York St Mary’s until November 2

Lichfield: A Royal Album. An opportunity to see photographs of the royal family taken by Lord Lichfield, including formal portraits and some more informal moments. A must see exhibition for those who admire Lord Lichfield’s work. Beningbrough Hall, until November 2 (closed Mondays)

Ethereal Landscapes: Lynne Glazzard, Stef Mitchell and Kimberli Werner. The White Room Gallery, Priestley’s No.36, Bootham, York

Ray Fearn, New Visuality. Celebrating the sense of mischief that underpinned much of Ray’s landscape work. It’s also an opportunity to view some of the artist’s revelatory self portraits. According To McGee until September 29

Gallery Artists Exhibition – with painters, Richard Burel, Jane Fielder, Giuliana Lazzerini, Bruno Lazzerini, Colin Carruthers & Anne Davies. Blue Tree Gallery, until September 26

Life Drawing With Andres. There are two promotional offers: You can come to Heworth on Tuesday and have a free lesson on Wednesday in Fulford or you can come to Heworth bringing a new student/friend for free. Visit Andres’ website for more details

Peter Miller, A Walk Across England: an exhibition of new work. Ken Spelman Bookshop and Gallery (Micklegate), from September 14

  This is Jayne’s last art blog before she gets married: we wish Jayne and Edd every happiness from all at YorkMix

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