Sunday, 30 March 2014

Work of Martin Froy set for Leeds exhibition

The work of Martin Froy will be examined at forthcoming exhibition at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery, Leeds, from May 7.

In the 1950s, the University of Leeds introduced its innovative Gregory Fellowships in poetry, fine art and music - the first artist-in-residence programme of its kind at a UK university.

Martin Froy was its first Gregory Fellow in Painting between 1951 and 1954, selected by an advisory committee which included T.S. Eliot, Hebert Read, Henry Moore and Professor Bonamy Dobrée.

Sixty years after Froy completed his Fellowship in Leeds, the University has invited him back to showcase his artwork of the 1950s which so captivated the first Gregory Fellowship Advisory Committee, and also to explore how the Leeds residency affected his later practice.

The exhibition will celebrate the contribution Froy made to British post-war figurative painting, in a tradition led by contemporaries such as Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach and Lucian Freud.

Martin Froy and the Figurative Tradition will be on display from May 7 to August 2.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Yorkshire Festival starts today

The first ever Yorkshire Festival is set to get underway today as the official countdown to the Tour de France begins.

Yorkshire Festival 2014 will be officially launched at Welcome to Yorkshire’s Y14 in Harrogate and at Le Grand Départ 100 Days Dinner at Ripon Cathedral on Thursday March 27.

There, more than 2,000 guests will be given a flavour of the festival which will tap into Yorkshire’s rich cultural talents.

Events in Calderdale will include the first major outdoor commission will be The Grand Departs on April 5, an epic musical and cycling challenge to pull a grand piano by bicycle up Cragg Vale.

Fifteen musicians will play specially composed ‘Piano Cycle’ by Dave Nelson while the piano is pulled by Andy Plant’s new invention The PianoPorté. The event is organised by Hebden Bridge Piano Festival and Imove.

There will also be the Fields of Vision project, showing art visible from the sky to show the world the beauty of the South Pennines.

The Fantastical Cycle Parade will be a glorious ride through the streets of Todmorden on April 26 with bicycles, tricycles, unicycles, scooters, prams and wheelchairs.

Bicycle with Barefoot will feature original Asian dance theatre with live music, drumming, visual arts and storytelling at Eureka on June 28.

Coun Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council, which has co-ordinated local authority support for the festival said: “There is a wonderfully diverse range of events across Yorkshire during the 100 days.

“This is our chance to show the world some examples of the creative spirit of our region – but at the same time, gives us all a chance to enjoy the build of excitement across Yorkshire throughout the 100 days leading up to the Tour de France.

“Our council has been delighted to have the chance to coordinate support for the festival and we know thousands of people are going to enjoy taking part.”

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Controversial First World War memorial to go on display at Hepworth

For the first time in nearly 20 years a First World War memorial frieze No Man’s Land, 1919-20 by Yorkshire artist Charles Sargeant Jagger will be displayed.

The low relief presents a stark vision of trench warfare and will feature in a new exhibition by contemporary artist Toby Ziegler, to open at The Hepworth Wakefield in September, as part of this year’s First World War centenary commemorations.

Since appearing in the large-scale retrospective War and Peace Sculpture in 1985 at the Imperial War Museum in London, this extraordinary work has remained behind closed doors, awaiting conservation.

It will now take centre stage to launch The Hepworth Wakefield’s major new fundraising campaign – I’m Yours.

Simon Wallis, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield said: “The former Wakefield Art Gallery acquired Jagger’s original plaster frieze through publicly raised funds in 1936.

“Nearly 80 years later, as part of memorialising the centenary of World war One, we hope the public will again choose to support this pivotal powerful work and pledge funds towards our vital programme of conservation and digitisation of the collection. Until June 2015,

“The Hepworth Wakefield can double the value of all new donations it receives through the Arts Council England, Catalyst Arts funding programme.

“There has never been a better time to donate and make your valuable support go so much further in helping us protect and grow our inspirational collection for future generations to benefit from.”

Frances Guy, Head of Collections and Exhibitions added: “Charles Sargeant Jagger was one of Britain’s foremost war memorial sculptors and this frieze is indicative of the world-class collection we have here in Wakefield.

“ The former Wakefield Art Gallery adopted an ambitious collecting policy to nurture a wide public understanding of contemporary art. The collection comprises works by the leading artists of the time, who have since become synonymous with shaping Modern British art.

“They featured in an ambitious exhibitions programme and I’m Yours will help The Hepworth Wakefield to continue this vision to provide our visitors with the experience of an outstanding art collection that is central to what we display here and to all our learning programmes.”

During his short lifetime, Yorkshire-born Charles Sargeant Jagger (b.1885 Kilnhurst, near Rotherham) was celebrated for the war memorial commissions he produced following his active service in the First World War.

Many of his most famous works are in London, including the recently restored Royal Artillery Memorial, 1921-5 at Hyde Park Corner and the Great Western Railway War Memorial, 1922 in Paddington Railway Station. Charles Sargeant Jagger referred to this frieze as the best example of his wartime work.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Halifax pupils' work on display at London gallery

Two Halifax photography students have had their work displayed at a central London art gallery.

North Halifax Grammar School sixth formers Anna Taylor and Jack Chamberlain have photographs in the Strand Gallery having been highly commended in a national competition.

Both students entered photos of Halifax people in response to the theme ‘Where do I Belong?’ in a contest run by the Economic and Social Research Council.

There were over 2000 entrants from 332 schools across the UK.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Film made in West Yorkshire to be shown at Bradford film festival

by Jon Cronshaw

After 20 years working as an actor, Francis Lee stepped to the other side of the camera to become a director.

He grew up on his family’s farm in Soyland near Halifax and it is the people and places around West Yorkshire that have become the inspiration for his films.

“All the stories I’m interested in telling are all within the Halifax area,” says Francis

“It’s the landscape and the people that inspire me - I love that you get the really harsh moorland on the tops and in the valley there’s this post-industrial town - that makes it very cinematic and provides a great backdrop to the people who live there.

“I guess I’m always reminded of the people I knew and met growing up, and I just want to write about them really.”

His latest short film Bradford Halifax London will be screened at Bradford International Film Festival later this month.

“I’m incredibly thrilled that the film was selected for Bradford International Film Festival,” he says.

“I’m really looking forward to watching the film alongside an audience who will recognise the strong Yorkshire characters and places.”

The film tells the story of a Halifax family travelling on the Grand Central train to London.

Shot in one take, Francis hopes that the film offers a tiny glimpse into real family life.

“I was interested in looking at what it means to be a part of a family,” says Francis.

“I travel on that Grand Central train between London and Yorkshire all the time, and I’ve been really fascinated just watching the dynamics of families - how they get on, how they interact with each other, the conversations they have - it’s quite voyeuristic in a way.”

Halifax Bradford London has been screened at film festivals across the world, and has received critical acclaim and awards.

“It’s quite unusual for someone to progress so swiftly and have so much recognition as I have - it’s not something I take for granted,” says Francis.

“It’s wonderful to go to places like Palm Springs or Park City in Utah and see a whole load of Americans watch a film shot in Yorkshire - it’s brilliant, it’s really exciting.

“The Americans have responded really well to it - they really love the humour, the tone and they really love the way it looks.

“It’s very satisfying, if not a little bit surreal,” he says.

His first film, The Farmer’s Wife, tells the story of a widowed farmer’s wife who is forced to leave the land where she spent her adult life.

For Francis, his own experience of leaving his family farm to attend drama school fed into the telling of the story.

“I thought a lot about the landscape of my youth and what it felt like to leave that when I moved to London and the pull that land has always had for me.”

Indeed, his forthcoming feature film In God’s Country draws from the same well.

The film tells the story of a 22-year-old lad called Johnny who takes up the running of his family farm while his friends move away for jobs and university.

“With God’s Own Country, I suppose I’m asking what it would have been like if I’d have stayed and worked on the land - what my life would have been like.

“What does it feel like to be so geographically and socially isolated?

“It’s about his duty to the land and duty to his family.

“When it comes to all work, the starting point is always to do with me - something I’m thinking about, something I’m trying to investigate.”

The transition from acting to film-making was not a simple one, through all the acclaim and awards, it’s a career that is very difficult to get off the ground.

“The biggest challenge has been the practical difficulties,” says Francis.

“As an actor I worked pretty regularly and earned regular money, but when decided to start making films, I stopped earning money - so that’s been quite difficult.”

Francis says much of his success as a director comes from knowing what it’s like to be an actor.

“It’s important for me that I work really closely with the actors to develop three-dimensional, authentic characters.”

Halifax Bradford London will be screened at Bradford International Film Festival before The Madness of King George on March 30.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Illustrator Frost to be shown at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Yorkshire Sculpture Park will be displaying a solo exhibition of work by British illustrator Tom Frost from June 21 to September 7.

The Wild Collection reflects the young artist’s passionate interest in vintage art and memorabilia – including old matchboxes, tin toys, folk art and children’s books.

For The Wild Collection, Frost has taken inspiration from Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s varied wildlife and historic landscape to create charming new works.

The Garden Gallery exhibition highlights the joy of getting out into nature, studying it, and collecting specimens to keep, enjoy and preserve.

Frost, originally from Bristol, studied Illustration at Falmouth College of Art and graduated in 2001. He lives and works in Llanboidy, South Wales.

Image courtesy of YSP.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Something different at Temple Newsam

Artist David Lyon will be exhibing new paintings, drawings and prints at The Same But Different Art Fair within the walled gardens of Temple Newsam House, Leeds, from April 12 to 13.

David's work is inspired by the shapes, symbols and ideas that surround him, and the effect that these have on his imagination.

He said: “I find that there is a different way of working for a different idea.

"I like the freedom to respond to ideas in whatever medium I think appropriate.

"I cannot work thinking I am a prisoner of style - there is too much to explore."

He draws and paints from his studio in Dock Street, Leeds centre and further work can be seen on his website

Friday, 14 March 2014

Read pays tribute to Stass Paraskos

Renowned Cypriot artist Stass Paraskos has died aged 81.

Born in Anafotia Village, Larnaca, Cyprus, in 1933, he moved to England in 1953 to study fine art.

Between 1956 and 1958 he studied at Leeds College of Art and then worked as a lecturer in the department of undergraduate studies at Leicester College of Art and at the painting department at Leeds Polytechnic.

The artist’s work forms part of several collections in Britain, including at the Tate Gallery, London, Leeds City Art Gallery, the Arts Council Collection and University of Leeds.

He founded the first contemporary art school in Cyprus in 1969 and has received international acclaim for his work.

“He was the artistic cause celebre of Leeds in the mid 1960s when he was put on trial for exhibiting 'obscene' art,” said Benedict Read, senior fellow in fine art at the University of Leeds.

“ My father [art historian Herbert Read] was his chief defence witness but they lost the case.

“He was a good friend to many in Leeds.”

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Play that explores the first months of the First World War

by Jon Cronshaw

Northern Broadsides are set to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War with Deborah McAndrew’s moving new play An August Bank Holiday Lark.

Directed by Barrie Rutter, the new production will be staged at Viaduct Theatre, Halifax, from March 11 to 15 as part of national tour.

Taking its inspiration from a line in Philip Larkin’s poem MCMXIV, An August Bank Holiday Lark explores the impact of the First World War on a rural community in East Lancashire.

Set in the idyllic summer of 1914, everyone in the community is excited about Wakes week - a rest for field and mill workers, and a celebration of the Rushbearing Festival with singing, courting, drinking and dancing.

“It’s set in a place that has one foot in industry and the other in the hills above the mills - it’s a little bit more remote, a little bit more rural,” says Deborah.

“It’s not a place where people are hardened and urban in that way - they’re a little more innocent and rooted in a deeper past. It’s at the point in history where the First World War has just started, the recruiting vans are out and the first wave of people are signing up to fight.

“It never goes to the front-line - that’s been done so well so many times, why would you do it again?

“We wanted to find stories that haven’t been told before.

“It might seem odd, but the community is sort of indifferent to the war in the first instance - in the beginning a lot them don’t see what it has to do with them,” she says.

So far, the play has been well-received by audiences and critics alike, with one Sunday newspaper awarding the production five stars.

“The audience response has been overwhelming - it’s been very positive,” says Deborah.

“There’s a lot humour and a lot of humanity in the story, but ultimately it’s about the First World War, so there are moments of sadness and poignancy - you wouldn’t be honouring that experience of those people if you made it all a big joke.”

The issue of how to represent the First World War has become a contentious issue over the past month after Education Secretary Michael Gove lambasted writers who were critical of the war.

He especially criticised the acclaimed comedy Blackadder Goes Forth for its apparent ‘leftist agenda’, claiming that the comedy spread ‘myths’ about the First World War and should not be shown in schools.

“When I heard those comments, like everyone else I just thought ‘shut up Michael’,” says Deborah.

“It’s not a simple thing - what Michael Gove cannot deny is how shocking and tragic the war was for ordinary people.

“Men of all classes, ages and backgrounds lost their lives - it’s such a huge thing and to make such simplistic statements that we should all be celebrating their bravery and nothing more is just wrong.”

Northern Broadsides’ artistic director Barrie Rutter says that the tragedy of the First World War is not something that should be ignored or glossed over in the arts.

“Michael Gove really is a book burner - he’s just crass,” says Barrie.

“The First World War was absolutely gut-wrenching. There was so much hope and jollity going into it, but of course we know better now - it’s absolutely devastating.

“August 1914 was a hopeful time. People were looking to see the world and had their sights set on far horizons - they thought they’d be home by Christmas.”

Barrie says that Michael Gove’s comments are an example among many of the coalition government’s contempt for the arts.

“The current government are book burners par excellence,” says Barrie.

“For every pound the government spend on the arts, three or four pounds is returned to the treasury - so financially, there’s no argument to make all the cuts they have been.

“What they’re doing is attacking the imagination of the country.

“They’re washing their hands of the arts. They’re making a very slow Pontius Pilate attempt to rid itself of such a drop in the ocean, but one which creates such an imaginative leap in the nation.”

An August Bank Holiday Lark will be performed at The Viaduct Theatre, Halifax, from March 11 to 15.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Exhibition inspired by Marie Antoinette

An exhibition of work by contemporary artists Dan Scott and Michelle Taylor will be on display at Harewood House, Leeds, from April 18.

Incorporating ceramics, music and sound, Yesterday will explore how objects powerfully connect us to the past.

The iconic and notorious figure of Marie Antoinette acts as a catalyst to explore this relationship.

Yesterday will be exhibited in the Terrace Gallery, Harewood House, Leeds, from April 18 to June 8.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Art and craft exhibition set for Unity Hall

An art and craft event will be taking place at Unity Hall, Wakefield, from March 7 to 9.

Artists and makers from the Wakefield area will be displaying contemporary artwork including digital, landscape, fantasy, mixed media and Jewellery on all three days with the addition of ceramics, biro illustrations and felt work on the Friday.

This event is hosted by the Gallery Arts Exhibition Group with the space provided by the Friends of Unity Hall.

Craft inspired by nature

An exhibition showcasing a variety of work inspired by the Earth will be on display at the Craft Centre, Leeds, from March 22.

Down to Earth features objects inspired by the natural world through the use of texture, colour and materials used in the creation of the collections.

A variety of environments have inspired the participating makers including coastlines, woodland, moorland and mountain ranges.

The exhibition features work by Mandy Parslow, Ben Davies, David Wright, Valerie Wartelle, Catherine Woodall and Elizabeth Terzza.

Down to Earth will be on display at the Craft Centre, Leeds, from March 22 to June 26.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Work inspired by medieval tales on show at church

Paintings by artist Lilliane Gosling will be on display at Holy Trinity Church, Leeds, from March 10.

Ancient Ritual, Ancient Tales brings together images based on ancient Indian ritual and on medieval tales of the Seven Seas and are accompanied by specially commissioned poems by Linda Marshall.

Lilliane Gosling has painted and travelled since early childhood, and has always been fascinated by world cultures and beliefs.

Since visiting the Malabar coast of India, and discovering medieval Christian and Islamic writings about long voyages, she started producing paintings on these themes.

“Each painting can take months from conception to completion,” she said.

On March 20 there will be an evening viewing from 6pm to 8pm, when artist and poet will be present.

Ancient Ritual, Ancient Tales will be on display at Holy Trinity Church, Leeds, from March 10 to March 31.


Saturday, 1 March 2014

Peter Suchin set for solo exhibition

Artist Peter Suchin will be exhibiting paintings, collages and documents at & Model gallery, Leeds, from March 6.

A Critical Contagion in the Quiet of the Night highlights a variety of Suchin’s paintings alongside other published and exhibited pieces, together with a range of notes, manuscripts, drawings and Pocket Paintings not previously shown to the public.

A further mosaic of papers, photographs and recordings document Suchin’s collaborations with other artists, critics and curators, and a number of books from his personal library of some 6,000 volumes will also be on display.

A Critical Contagion in the Quiet of the Night: Paintings, Collages, Writings, Projects, Notes will on display at & Model gallery from March 6 to April 30.