Recently I was invited to send work from my theatre residency up to York as part of a two person show looking at artists in residence.
The Whitestone Gallery is part of St.Peter’s School, York run by Head of Art, John Darmody and his wife, Louise, who had cleverly arranged the space to include a small cinema area where black and white images played, and cabinets displayed cinema and theatre ephemera.
Even the private view was themed, with a red carpet greeting visitors and the refreshments including popcorn!
I was excited to be showing the work with Ann Kilvington, a close family friend whose painting and drawing has inspired me since childhood.
Usually a landscape painter, Ann was asked to spend some time at The Ritz Cinema in Thirsk, where the work was originally shown at Zillah Bell Gallery.
The Ritz, now a volunteer run cinema, has been familiar to Ann since her since childhood. She spent a year recording various aspects of the cinema, from a rainy exterior to the warmth of the kiosk and the projection room, and brilliantly tackling the auditorium and screen.
The Ritz Cinema has very recently gone digital, making the paintings an historical record of a bygone age. The work evokes the atmosphere wonderfully.
Ann had also made very appetizing looking ‘ice creams’ from found objects.
My work was the culmination of three years as artist in residence at the Merlin Theatre in Frome, originally shown at Black Swan Arts.
It was interesting to see the paintings in a new space, and to meet some of the students at St. Peter’s.
The facilities in the art department are fantastic. We were shown round by an enthusiastic young art teacher and I was amazed at the scale of the department, on a par with art school. There are even weekly life classes, and it was great to see the an emphasis being placed on drawing.
My own school’s ‘art department’ was a small pre-fab room with powder paint if you wanted to use colour, so seeing several St.Peter’s students working late into the evening on impressive pieces, it was impossible for us not to wish ourselves in their shoes.
This unexpected tour gave the private view an added dimension, and talking to the staff and students was uplifting and inspiring.
The student shows will be coming up in a couple of months time and will be well worth a visit.