State of the Arts – sunny times in Yorkshire

Victoria Ward
Victoria Ward

Yorkshire can be a busy place for a visiting artist

We opened our art exhibition on a Saturday and I have to say it was as well attended as any we have in Canada. The patrons however are far more outgoing with their feedback. There were some feisty moments. I am not usually challenged outright about my politics at an art exhibition but if you are going to make work about coal mining and put it up during the 30th anniversary of the most violent strike in modern British history then you should expect a few sticky moments. The staff were aghast but I secretly loved it. If reaction is one aspect of how an artist measures impact then I would say we have done our job!

Gary's work is not text based or even representational - a good thing if you don't want a dust up
Gary speaking at the opening. His work is not text based or even representational – a good thing if you don’t want a dust up.

With the first bit of our exhibiting work over with we then embarked on a series of visiting places, peoples and things with some meetings in between.

Harry Malkin photographs his work, a dedication to coal miners situated on a former colliery
Harry Malkin photographs his work, a dedication to coal miners situated on a former colliery

It has been crazy sunny all the time here – everyone is remarking on it. Wish I could say we brought it with us but checking our weather at home makes that a moot point.

A Henry Moore at the Hepworth, I wasn't kidding about the sun. Nicely placed though eh?
A Henry Moore at the Hepworth, I wasn’t kidding about the sun. Nicely placed though eh?
Moore also did some pottery which I didn't know. The west Yorkshire area has not only great sculpture but an amazing tradition of pottery & glass making.
Moore also did some pottery which I didn’t know. The west Yorkshire area has not only great sculpture but an amazing tradition of pottery & glass making.

So far we have had an exhausting but very productive trip, readying things for June when we move our work to other venues and start this all over again. Tomorrow we do a workshop about Canadian landscape painting and Gary will be interviewed by the BBC. You could call this a whirlwind but when you are an artist so much planning goes into this kind of thing, doing it at home is stressful enough, add to it how things are done in Yorkshire, miles away from home and it becomes less whirlwind more slog with moments of ecstasy. Speaking of which, my favourite discovery so far:

Albert Wainright, a contemporary of Henry Moore. Theatre designer, writer & visual artist - a soul mate!! His work is as sunny as the weather here & wonderful in every way.
Albert Wainright, a contemporary of Henry Moore. Theatre designer, writer & visual artist – a soul mate!! His work is as sunny as the weather here & wonderful in every way.

Photo of Albert Wainright’s painting, Wakefield Museums & Libraries. His work continues in a lovely exhibition at the Hepworth Gallery until May 18th.

Bituminous Illuminations continues at the Cooper Gallery, Barnsley Museums until the end of May

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