The art to see in York this month, May 2014

An extract from Figure Shapes by Lesley Birch, part of the Donderdag – Expressing the Human Form exhibition
2 May 2014 @ 8.05 am
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An extract from Figure Shapes by Lesley Birch, part of the Donderdag – Expressing the Human Form exhibition
An extract from Figure Shapes by Lesley Birch, part of the Donderdag – Expressing the Human Form exhibition

It’s May. Wahey! We have a month interrupted by Bank Holidays. For those of you that don’t work Mondays anyway, embrace the fact that we can soak up the good vibes that this English phenomena evokes.

If you have to work despite it being a BH, then apologies for my irritating sunny disposition.

Traditionally, Mondays have been a day of rest for art galleries, not just in York but across England. In fact, a couple of years ago, I climbed a mountain… OK, a very big hill, in Barcelona, on a ridiculously hot day, all in the name of art.

I had dragged a small boy up there, who would rather have been kicking sand on the beach at Sitges or spotting his ancestors in the local zoo, only to find that the Miro Gallery at the summit was closed on Mondays. It was still one of the best days of my life.

Anyway, my advice to you this month is to check your opening times. The very good news is that there is a plethora of wonderful things to see and do this month. I would highly recommend the following…

Things to see

The Aesthetica Arts Award show at York St Mary's. Photograph: Jim Poyner
The Aesthetica Arts Award show at York St Mary’s. Photograph: Jim Poyner

Donderdag – Expressing the Human Form Mermaid and Miller, Swinegate. From May 3, gallery and shop open from 10-4pm. The exhibition features paintings and drawings by the wonderful Ray Fearn, alongside fellow artists from the collective. This is the first formal exhibition from Donderdag.

Elaine Thomas: Divine Antics According to McGee, Tower Street, from May 3. Paintings inspired by the Romanesque and the Mediaeval. Cavorting figures, evoking the biblical and the pagan.

An exhibition by Michael Hobbis, Attic Gallery Coffee Bar, King’s Square, from May 5 for a month. A mixture of paintings with acrylic and collages.

Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition York St Mary’s, Castlegate. Shortlisted works from eight contemporary artists. Outstanding and innovative works. I, personally, will be forever haunted by the digital photographs of Inés Molina Navea. This is a must see exhibition. Until June 22.

Things to do

Life drawing classes at York Manor Academy – give them a try this month. Photograph: Andres Jaroslavsky
Life drawing classes at York Manor Academy – give them a try this month. Photograph: Andres Jaroslavsky

Lunchtime Talks York St Mary’s, Castlegate. Wednesdays – May 7, 21 and 28, 12.30-1pm. A series of free talks to “enhance the experience” of the Aesthetica Art Prize.

Life Drawing, Manor Academy Millfield Lane, Nether Poppleton. Every Tuesday from May 13, 7-9pm. Relaxed and fun, for all abilities. Sessions cost £10 and include all materials and refreshments. No need to book. For more info, ring Andres on 07913 920118, or email [email protected]

Painting lessons at Corner Gallery Scarcroft Road. For more info, contact Andres as above

Lino Printing Fun York Castle Museum, Saturday May 17, 10-3pm. Family activity, £10 a child. To book a place, ring 01904 687633.

A York Sketchbook with Jake Attree, Wednesday, May 28, 1-3pm. Meet in York Museum Gardens near St Mary’s Abbey (or in the museum if raining). This is a free event. No need to book. Materials provided.