The Young Perspective are a brand new collective of young art critics set up by York teenagers Emily Pinder, Alex Robson and Imogen Brewer.
Their inaugural article is a response to contemporary art gallery According to McGee’s current exhibition, ‘A New Wild Life: A New Visuality’. Says Emily, “It’s a great gallery, and has been supportive of young artists for a long time. We’ve been hearing more and more about New Visuality too, so we’re interested in how the show looks.”
Gallery co-director Greg McGee, interviewed by The Young Perspective, says, “’A New Wild Life’ is a celebration of one of the most traditional subject matters you can think of, rendered and delineated in a contemporary and provocative way by the emerging elite of new collectable artists. It’s proving to be a very successful collaboration with new Visuality, who are more and more in a position to source artists from all over the world. “
Young Perspective member Imogen Brewer, 15, of Easingwold School focuses on work by Scottish artist Olivia Streatfeild-James, “This artwork is powerful because it uses wildlife – a traditional basis for art – and combines it with a modern approach to linocut. This combination is unexpected but it works very well at creating unusual artwork. It gives the nature a very stark effect, which observers may not have considered before.
The designs are bold, and this contrasts to most artwork based on wildlife. The designs are interesting because they are realistic so you can easily tell what they are representing, but on the other hand they are not at all like photos – the black and white bold lines endow them with a new power.
Linocut artwork works very well for pieces based on animals and birds as the small lines work for feathers, fur and spines. The “Red Squirrel” tail shows it off at its best, as it looks spiky and soft at the same time. Linocut brings black and white together, in feathers and fur, and keeps them separate when making eyes as it creates the effect of light reflecting. Small lines can make a surface look very hard, for example with the mountains in “Dorlach”, or very soft, like the feathers in “Fluffy Chaffinch”. It also uses straight and wavy lines for different textures. Because of this, the way Olivia uses linocut has a lot of scope for variety.
These pictures have the advantage of looking impressive both from a distance and close up, where the smaller lines can be seen at their best. This means that they are constantly interesting no matter how you are looking at them. They also suit their black frames very well, as the black of the frame is emphasized by the artwork itself.”
Alex Robson, 15, of Joseph Rowntrees School is impressed with work done by London based artist Rosemary Milner: “Rosemary Milner is a superbly stylish artist who has a good eye for spotting detail in her work as she uses a wide variety of shapes and colours.
She may use perhaps old designs and ideas but she is good at incorporating youthful ideas as well. Rosemary’s pieces are suited to all ages, and posses a certain realism to each individual piece. Rosemary’s work has brought the old pieces of linen and cloth she uses back to life and they are turned from unwanted to desired. Rosemary can achieve more perfect curves with stitching than most people can with pens. The fine detail effectively brings the animal to life, her detailed flower borders around her work creates a habitat for her chosen animal.” Rosemary is delighted to exhibit in what is considered to be one of the most well regarded white cube galleries in the North. She says, “Throughout my practice I focus on British Wildlife, particularly in my native area of Cleveland. I produce works that reflect the colours, textures and characters of the surrounding countryside (and my back garden!).
I have taken inspiration from the beautifully illustrated characters of the Beatrix Potter stories and the embroidery pieces of Tabitha Kyoko Moses. I also love aged book illustrations/ covers and try to recreate my own work with a similar muted aesthetic.
The New Visuality programme at According to McGee is great for my work as it gives it the accessibility to a large audience through the exhibition in York and through the online store, certainly within Britain and hopefully around the world in future months.”
Emily Pinder, 15, of York High School, is especially enamoured with ex-York St John and erstwhile winner of the ‘According to McGee Prize’, Melanie Alexandrou.
“Melanie Alexandrou’s work is classic and clean but creates a welcoming feel with her choice of framing for her collection. The colours and textures of the oak framing are rural and reflect the forest habitats of her chosen wildlife.
Most of the wildlife use is local so everyone can relate to the piece; her technique is somehow sweet, but modern which makes her pictures unique by the attention to detail but soft by the overall finish.
Personally I feel her style of art is classic as it is cheerful and seems recognizable, it reminds people of their childhood which is warm and welcoming but overall unique.”