New Light Prize Exhibition - Brian Shields

There are few sculptures in the New Light Prize Exhibition. Easily the most interesting and eccentric, is The Patronage of Icarion John (John Clare poet) by Brian Shields. The diminutive figure of a man in Nineteenth Century clothing sits on a swing in a parrot’s cage. There are miniature books on the floor of the cage and the figure has wings attached to his back and a long pointed nose. This is Shields’ vision of John Clare, the so-called…

London Mural Festival Is Now Open To The Public

The eagerly awaited London Mural Festival (LMF) is now open to the public. Over 200 artists painted murals from Walthamstow to Wembley Park throughout September and October, with 75 plus large-scale murals and activations, most of which will last for years to come. The public are encouraged to download the latest map – https://www.londonmuralfestival.com/map and go and explore murals by well-known artists such as Camille Walala, Conor Harrington, D*Face, Marija Tiurina and Seb Lester. You can expect…

Pete Lapish Galleries Go On Line

I defy anybody to look at one of Pete Lapish’s paintings and not experience a warm glow and an urge to possess it. Anybody that is except, perhaps, an art critic, an academician, a modernist. You’ll no doubt have admired his paintings of local scenes, hills, dales and coast, on covers of Yorkshire magazines, biscuit tins, postcards, and even on jigsaws, without knowing who did them. His lovingly nostalgic recreations of the age of steam engines, trams and canals are particularly…

Artistic Mind: Abigail McGourlay

Abigail McGourlay was in the middle of finishing her 2nd year of studying Fine Art at The University of Leeds and was working as a swimming instructor when lockdown hit. She has been furloughed from her job and has been continuing her studies from home. Inspired she created some new artwork, and has now found herself shortlisted for The Arts Society’s prestigious Isolation Artwork Competition with two pieces. We caught up with her to find out a little more. Can

Directors And Composers – Sergio Leone And Ennio Morricone

Few, if any, film directors have integrated music so closely with narrative as Sergio Leone. Leone was so dedicated to music as an integral part of his films that he often had his old school mate, Ennio Morricone, compose the score at the same time as the script writing and often had it played on set in the course of the action. The effect on the actors is clearly visible, especially with Leone’s characteristic close-ups and extreme close-ups. Ennio Morricone has, reputedly,…

The Artistry Of Lancashire: Bonkers Clutterbucks

Lockdown has, for some, provided the perfect opportunity to indulge in creative projects often left aside until there is more time to spare. Indeed, it is outstanding how much resource has been available online to those knowing where to look. From virtual gallery tours to Zoom master classes in arts and crafts, creativity has become a new pastime for many. I've taken time to discover more about the art world in Lancashire, as part of my own exploration of the county…

Artistic Mind: Emma Money

18-year-old Harrogate artist Emma Money has been shortlisted for The Arts Society’s prestigious Isolation Artwork Competition in support of young artists and students across the UK during lockdown. The 8 shortlisted artists were asked to respond to the theme of isolation and have produced new works that reflect their lockdown experience. With a striking piece based on the Zoom connection we have all come to rely on, her piece resonates with the new normal. We caught up with her to…

'I Thought I Was Going To Die From All The Art': Judith Levin And The Art Of The Moors

‘I want to feel lost in it,’ says Judith Levin as we look at the moor scene propped up on the easel. Levin works on landscapes from the Yorkshire Moors in her studio and apartment, located on the outskirts of Leeds; or should that be apartment and studio? Paintings, draped in dust sheets, line the halls and, in the kitchen, a skylight glows blue above her easel as the living and artistic space blur. I’m not lost, but I am…

Pre-Raphaelite Knights: Reinventing The Medieval World At The Bowes Museum

This exhibition is all about colour, beauty achieved through attention to detail, and above all it asks the viewer to imagine what life was like if you had lived in a mythical world full of legends. It features some of the masters of the Pre-Raphaelite art movement: John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Sir Edward Burne-Jones and William Holman Hunt. These artists and their colleagues were controversial. They prompted a huge debate because they believed art should, first and foremost,…

Review: Birds Of Prey And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn

Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn is a project that has been a long time coming for Margot Robbie. After excelling in Suicide Squad as fan favourite DC comics villain/antihero Harley Quinn, Robbie was very much at the forefront of the development of this new adult-aimed all-female ensemble project inspired in part by Jordan B. Garfinkel and Chuck Dixon’s “Birds of Prey” comic books, even pitching it to Warner Brothers. And boy has the effort…

Bill Brandt And Henry Moore: At The Hepworth, Wakefield

This exhibition explores the fascinating parallels of the works of photographer Bill Brandt (1904-1983) and sculptor Henry Moore (1898-1986). Brandt and Moore crossed paths during the Second World War, when they were both creating images of civilians in the London Underground during the Blitz The exhibition opens with the occasion they both met in 1942, when Brandt photographed Moore in his studio for an article in Lilliput magazine. That article put side by side the two artists' shelter pictures, and explored their…

Review: Life In Our Hands at Settle Stories

This living hand, now warm and capable Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold And in the icy silence of the tomb, So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood So in my veins red life might stream again, And thou be conscience-calm’d – see here it is – I hold it towards you. John Keats The inherent expressiveness of hands, the power to describe, to dexterously fabricate, to gesticulate wildly, to…

Turner: Northern Exposure At The Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate

If you have never been to The Mercer Art Gallery, then now is the time to break your duck. For those more familiar with Harrogate's jewel, The Mercer, then you need to schedule another visit to see this outstanding exhibition. The exhibition retraces JMW Turner's northern tour of 1797, and includes rarely seen paintings. We could wax lyrical about Turner's visit being a formative part of Turner's development, but we won't because judging from his output he was already truly accomplished, and…

Zombie Attack In Leeds (Playhouse!)

Nowadays it may seem like a movie that is best left in 1968, but dismiss George Romero’s iconic horror flick – Night of the Living Dead - too quickly, and you ignore a ground-breaking film that was key to shifting the public psyche away from Hammer horror, where something terrifying had to have two bolts through its neck or a pair of blood-sucking fangs! So, I was intrigued, and a little excited, at the prospect of seeing Imitating the Dog’s ‘Remix’…

Review: 1917

Sam Mendes’ strange, magnificent re-imagining of a Great War odyssey holds several moments of real beauty in sharp relief. And counter-intuitive though they may appear in the context of the Flanders charnel house, such moments enhance the viewer impression as magically as birdsong in darkness. Emerging from a broken copse of shattered stumps and silence, the film’s two main protagonists chance upon an enclosed cherry orchard, whose trees are cut down but continue to flower. ‘Will they die?’, asks one…

Review: Cats

Some months back, something rather remarkable happened, for one night, the internet united. This unheard of moment, thought impossible, occurred on the 18th July with the reveal for the first full trailer for Tom Hooper’s Cats. Adapted from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s unusual but successful stage musical of the same name (which first played in 1981), itself based on the poetry collections of T.S. Eliot “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”, Hooper’s film really looked like something. Unified in their shock,…

Review: The Irishman

If ever there was a Mount Rushmore assembled for film directing, Martin Scorsese would have to be at the forefront of that conversation. The oscar winning filmmaker, responsible for landmark movies like Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, under appreciated master works like The King of Comedy and modern classics like The Departed and The Wolf of Wall Street, has proved time and time again that the passing years have - like a fine wine - only ripened his directorial talents…

Review: Knives Out

After the controversial (but brilliant) Star Wars instalment Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, writer/director Rian Johnson has certainly faced his fair share of online rage but it has thankfully done little to dampen his creative fires. And after giving Star Wars formulas a shake up, the Looper and Brick director continues his winning ways with Knives Out, a whodunnit bobby-dazzler reliant on confident audiences thinking they're one step ahead of the game, before revealing they're playing a different…

Dora Maar: Tate Modern

"Dora for me, was always a weeping woman..." Pablo Picasso. Dora Maar; muse, catalyst, or genius? She was arguably all of these. Remembered as the lover of Picasso, Tate Modern presents the first UK retrospective of the work of Dora Maar, who was both a photographer, and painter. Her ideology was aligned with the left wing politics of France in 1930's, she was an agitator, and an avowed anti-fascist. She most certainly had a strong social conscience. Born 1907 in Paris,…

Norman Cornish: The Definitive Collection At The Bowes Museum, Co Durham

"He stands as a magnificent Chronicler of one of the most important passages in English history." Melvyn Bragg - Broadcaster and Author. Norman was born 100 years ago on the 18th November 1919, in the small County Durham town of Spennymoor, which was built on mining. In 1933, despite having passed his 11 plus Norman aged 14, commenced work at the Dean and Chapter Colliery, known locally as "The Butchers Shop" due its high accident rate. From childhood, drawing for Norman…

Review: Le Mans ‘66

One of the best things about films is how they can bring to life a story for you, even if you have next to no knowledge about that particular area of expertise. Take films like The Damned United, Straight Outta Compton or Eddie the Eagle for instance. A good story is not bound by your knowledge of the sport or the star or figure that inspired it, but by your feeling, and cinema allows for you to be invested in…

Barbara Hepworth: Musée Rodin, Paris

"I, the sculptor, am the landscape". Barbara Hepworth What do Barbara Hepworth, and Paris have in common? They have both deservedly earned the epithets 'pioneering' and 'revolutionary'. The Musée Rodin is therefore a worthy stage, on which, to celebrate these shared traits with their new exhibition 'Barbara Hepworth'. The Musée Rodin is one of the few museums in France to have previously exhibited Hepworth's work in her own lifetime, but that was over 60 years ago. Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975), born in Wakefield, Yorkshire…

Review: Doctor Sleep

Since “Dies Irae” first rattled over cinematorium speakers in 1980, the sinister shadow of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining has lingered across horror and cinema in general. Whether it is Jack Nicholson terrorising Shelly Duvall with an axe through the door or an icy maze of doom, this movie has imprinted on audiences since first being unleashed upon them. Likewise it has somewhat stuck with author Stephen King who wrote the novel the film was - loosely - based on and…

Making A Masterpiece: Bouts And Beyond (1450-2020)

The Making a Masterpiece Exhibition is all about artistic creation. The centrepiece, and inspiration for the exhibition, is the wonderful 15th century painting St Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child (c. 1440-1475), by the workshop of Dieric Bouts. The Bowes Museum, at Barnard Castle acquired this painting for £2.3M, thanks to funding from the Art Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), and a number of private donors, after a temporary export ban was placed on the painting. The exhibition has brought together…

Christina Quarles At The Hepworth Wakefield

The Christina Quarles Exhibition runs alongside the companion Alan Davie and David Hockney Exhibition, which explores the convergences of the creative driving forces, which underlie the work of Davie and Hockney. That is a superb exhibition in its own right, and well worth seeing. The theme of convergence, unwittingly, or perhaps deliberately, continues through from that exhibition into the separate, but accompanying exhibition of Christina Quarles. In 1958, when the Wakefield Gallery showcased Davie's work, it was his first retrospective exhibition, and…

Alan Davie And David Hockney: Early Works At The Hepworth, Wakefield

The Early Works At The Hepworth exhibition is all about creative convergences in more ways than one. It explores the early works of Alan Davie (1920 – 2014) and David Hockney (b. 1937) and in particular the years from 1948 to 1965. Endless curatorial energy, and dedication has brought together around 45 paintings, collages, supporting publications and exhibits, which provide a superb showcase for the work of these foremost artists in the world of post-war British painting. This exhibition is comprehensive,…

The Launderette That Will Put You In A Spin

The title of Hanif Kureishi’s screenplay, My Beautiful Launderette, conjures up images of a bygone era when people who couldn’t afford a washing machine – like my mum – trundled off to ‘Bubbles’ to dry off what the old twin tub couldn’t possible make ‘snuff dry’! However, it is also a title that belies the true reality of the original Oscar-nominated film, now adapted for the stage, and, for all its wonderful humour, it is a play that gets to grips…

Review: Abominable

At this time of year, it is quite common to find a bunch of films making their way to cinemas that you were unaware of, outside of the big, hyped or acclaimed releases. Sometimes they are fillers attempting to grab a slice of box office pie not currently being devoured by the likes of Joker, others are big studio backed movies that somewhere along the line have been a victim of lost executive faith or they are sometimes films that…

Review: Ad Astra

As we edge closer to the year’s end, the early frontrunners for early 2020 awards season are making themselves noticed and, hot off an enthusiastic performance at the Venice Film Festival among others, director James Gray’s (The Lost City of Z) space odyssey Ad Astra has floated to cinemas. Starring Brad Pitt as Major Roy McBride, son of famed astronaut H. Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones), Ad Astra tells the story of a man following in his father’s footsteps. One day…

Abstract & Figurative Paintings At Settle

David Thomas, Maureen Grealy and Katharine Holmes are just some of the Yorkshire and Lancastrian artists at a newly opened Autumn exhibition at Gavagan Art in Settle. A special feature of this exhibition is a spotlight display in the larger gallery room of works by the Malham painter Katharine Holmes. Katharine a well respected landscape painter has been invited to exhibit a selection of her paintings alongside the work of the British artist J. M W. Turner at the Mercer Art…