The Mind’s Eye is a wonderful exhibition offering young illustrators from across York (and further afield) the opportunity to come together to show off and sell their work. The event opens on Bonfire Night and there’ll be viewings for two weeks, and it’s all being held in Janette Ray Rare Books on Bootham.
We caught up with curator Lotte Inch.
Hey Lotte, can you tell us a bit about your background?
Hi! I am currently working as a freelance art curator and artist’s agent in York but have worked previously for the National Trust’s contemporary art programme as well as a number of other art galleries, stately homes and antiquarian bookshops specialising in the arts. I have been surrounded by art, architecture and books since a child and this has definitely influenced the direction in which my career and personal interests have taken. I studied History of Art and Museum Studies at University and then did a Masters at Leicester in Art Museum and Gallery Studies. I have also done an art foundation at York.
I love all things to do with art and design and I get very excited when I discover someone new and only just emerging into the world of art – which is by no means always a friendly one! It is this obsession with art and a wish to help promote young artist’s that has led to my career in curating art. That and the fact that I can’t afford to keep buying art at the pace that I want to, exhibiting work is a great substitute!
I am from York and know that as a city it is a place full of young talent. So what better thing to do than try and capture some of that in one place whilst doing something that I love.
What exactly is the Mind’s Eye?
To paraphrase a dictionary definition, The Mind’s Eye can be described as visual memory and imagination. More specifically, ‘The Mind’s Eye’ is an exhibition of illustration and artist’s books which considers the familiar process of recalling and re-imagining past events and experiences through something in the present – a single innate object or a sound, a song, phrase or word even. The work on show and the additional items which accompany the art work in the gallery all make reference to this idea. Expressed from a variety of individual perspectives, it is hoped that each artist’s response will evoke a series of subsequent, personal responses amongst the viewers.
What drove you to make it happen?
Since moving back to York I have found it hard to find work in the arts world and have simultaneously noticed a lack of places within the city for people to converge in a creative and inspiring environment. These two factors combined with a deep seated personal wish to one day open my own art gallery. Backed by a very supportive mother who is lending me the space in which to create this gallery the result is this Temporary Art Gallery Project – The Mind’s Eye. I hope that the people that visit will see that such a space is something that could have a longer lifespan within York.
What can people expect over the course of the exhibition?
Art from both York and London based emerging artists, at affordable prices; beautiful gifts and hand designed items – stationary, books, greetings cards and more – Including jewellery from Tatty Devine London. Licensed late night opening from Thursday to Sunday. A play-your-own-record music system! Planned events and workshops as well as impromptu art activities and of course, always a friendly welcome!
Why is York a good place to put this on?
York has a surprisingly huge and active art scene; whether it is people who are interested in music, graphics, writing, making their own art or are professional practising artists. I was always aware that York had an interesting and fairly busy art and creative scene but this is one thing that I have really had my eyes opened to whilst preparing for the exhibition. There are creative and interesting people everywhere you go in this town. It is not always easy to find out about them or to become involved in their associated groups though. Over the last year, maybe more, this has certainly been challenged by various organisations and individuals. I wanted to contribute to and to continue this ambition to promote the arts in York whilst also providing a vital physical and centrally located place for like minded, inspired people to get together, share ideas and glean inspiration.
Do you see it being an annual thing?
In many ways this two week project is a pilot for a longer term and larger scale Temporary Art Gallery event in the future. Whether it will be an annual thing, who knows? It is a good idea though!
Is the art affordable?
Yes! There is something here for everyone. Prices range from £2 – £300. The event’s that correspond with the exhibition are also either free or only £3 with the exception of just one.
How do you see this event benefitting the Artistic Community of York?
Not only will The Mind’s Eye offer both a space for a number of York artist’s to exhibit their work but also I hope, this project will provide a place to come to for people of various creative backgrounds where like minded people can converge, make new connections and share ideas. I really want this to be a welcoming, and comfortable place and one in which people really feel they can draw inspiration and inspire others alike.
How did you select who to get involved?
The artists involved in this show are a combination of people I know from York and London, and people that I have been introduced to by other artists and non-artists from York. A few, particularly the book artist’s, I have been lucky enough to stumble upon, either in past jobs or more recently at art fairs. One or two have also heard about the project and approached me just very recently. It’s a good combination, I think. And hopefully one that will offer an interesting range of artwork for various tastes and budgets.