York based culture collective for all things teen unleash their top scribes Arran Leith and Phoebe Liu to see just what in the name of froth is happening in York. Their first stops are York City Gallery and Starbucks, Coppergate.
The York City Art Gallery
We popped into York City Art Gallery and were immediately reassured by the welcoming vibe. Teenagers, I’m sure you know/remember, are a fickle and hard to please bunch. Walking in to such a big gallery is always going to be a bit of a chore. But the atmosphere and the quality of the work soon put paid to our awkwardness and we even relaxed to the extent where we felt like a pair of culture vultures and not a couple of teenagers fresh from an i-pod. Phoebe’s favourite piece in the gallery was ‘The Return to the Front: Victoria Railway Station’, by Richard Jack.
The Return to the Front: Victoria Railway Station
oil on canvas (1916) – Richard Jack
Says Phoebe, “A scene of soldiers and their family at the railway station is portrayed in this painting. On the surface, this is simply a piece showing families bidding farewells to their loved ones but there are men are looking at this lone soldier in the foreground who sits on his own with his back slumped, his hands tightly grasping the other, his belongings and his gun dumped on the floor. This one soldier shows loneliness and perhaps desperation for consolation before he returns to the front.”
We’d seen Richard Barnes’ work in our favourite gallery, According to McGee. It was a surprise to see such bright, energetic pieces in a café, but when we thought about it we saw just what a great exhibition space the upstairs of Starbucks is. Arran was especially taken by Barnes’ pieces.
Says Arran, “Richard Barnes’ “London and York: Remastered” exhibition was held at Coppergate’s Starbucks. As all Starbucks shops go, it was filled with the familiar aroma of coffee and had a relaxing ambiance. The first piece that caught the eye as you walk up the stairs was “Abstract (ii)”, which was directly to the right. The piece portrays a beach in Barnes’ style of painting; splatters of pastel colours and sand gave the piece its tranquility-suitable for the relaxed coffee shop
The other pieces in the collection, however, showed a much more vibrant and exciting side of York and London. Barnes’ use of bright colours, especially in the pieces of the cities at night, captures the busy atmosphere of the place. “York Minster 1″, for example, has splatters of bright colours to mimic the busy traffic of the city and the exciting life surrounding the Minster.
This picture is very busy. It has lots of colours and it definitely stands out. I can see the key places of york in this picture such as the york minister and the Shambles this is what makes the painting suitable for Starbucks cafe in york. It shows tourists and residents how beautiful
York is. What makes this picture captivating is that the artist has put his or her own twist on the attractions that’s what makes it unique.”
With two blasts of art under our belts we walked the two minutes to contemporary gallery According to McGee to meet with Ails McGee (the better looking one). She made us welcome and talked us through all of the artists on display, and encouraged us to go and visit another coffee spot, this time VJs to have a good look at resident artist Lee Boxall. We did! And we loved it. More of that in our next installment. Till then – the kids are alright!
VJs Art Bar
“VJS Art Bar, with its gentle lighting and decor, sets a great platform for the works of Lee Boxall, an artist who often portrays York in his paintings. I first became aware of lee’s work when I saw it hanging on the wall of Tower Street white cube ‘According to McGee’.