York Art Gallery has recently undergone a major refurbishment and re-opened its doors on 1st August 2015.
Now to be clear I am not a huge fan of many art galleries finding them intimidating and too formal for my relaxed nature and often I find the art is not what I actually want to see.I love a mix of all different lovely things as I lose interest very quickly especially if there is no colourful object d’art present. Many art galleries do not seem to be there for people. They are silent serious places for serious people who appreciate art and admire the technical aspects of the art shown. They often do not encourage people to experience art, feel the art, love art and be emotional about art. Thats what its about for me-emotion and the freedom to enjoy art just for the sake of what it is and how it makes you feel! Its great to see the old stuff but just as great to see the new!
The new gallery therefore was approached with little trepidation-so imagine my delight when we walked into the first gallery and there were ceramics created by an artist in response to the work on the walls-this response had included the artist being inspired by children’s work around the art on the wall and this then being part of the ceramic response. So inspiration from Inspiration….
Another gallery shows 200 years of art but not so much as to overwhelm the mind and a great eclectic mix of subjects and styles. Sofas and chairs and rugs add to the welcoming atmosphere along with sketch books and comment pads so engaging children and adults alike in their response to the art.There is also an interactive piece where you can add your face to some of the paintings from the gallery-mine shown above. As a visitor you feel included and welcome and encouraged to have a go and get involved with the art.
Two of my favourite pieces from a collection shown as if in the collectors home and is complete with all the usual items from a home-the aim being to show how modern art is very relevant to our own lives and how it can look in our home.
‘10,000 HOURS’ by Claire Twomey in response to the ceramic collection and how individuals want more and more-there is a great time lapse of this piece being created going up and down as the artist changed her mind! The staff were also very helpful and knowledgable about the work as well as being very approachable and approaching visitors proactively and engaging them in conversation-not the usual hands off approach most commonly seen.
A fantastically stocked studio that is open all hours but with a full programme of workshops with the influence of Mark Hearld-an artist from York stamped all over it. I absolutely love the way York have included todays artists in what they are doing-this will inspire and encourage other artists and I hope many other galleries will do this is future-Peterborough Gallery take note!
There are several Lowry works as part of a series of York landmarks commissioned from different artists and it was special to see them.
My absolutely favourite gallery though was one designed by Mark Hearld-a mix of his own work which I love alongside a plethora of eclectic and fabulous items from the galleries collection giving a feel of Victoriana delights. I love that he was given free reign to set up this gallery -it is like a look into his heart and soul and fits so incredibly well with his own work!
So a great place to visit at £7:50 for adults and free to under 16s. I will certainly be returning as there was too much to take in on one visit-its worth knowing you can get a one off pass to visit 3 attractions in one in York-Definitely worth it as the others are great too!
I just hope that other galleries go and look and learn from them-the comments I overheard from other visitors were all very complimentary so well done York-a job well done on both the physical structure of the gallery but also engaging people in what you are doing-people enjoy and learn more if they are actively involved and doing something rather then passively looking. There is of course a place for both and you have achieved the ambiance that allows both to co-incide with each other. Loved the gallery and will definitely be back.