Fig­ures fea­ture in ex­hi­bi­tion

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - ART -

The artist’s mas­tery of her tools and tech­nique make these paint­ings emo­tion­ally and aes­thet­i­cally deeply sat­is­fy­ing. The lay­er­ing of paint on webs of enamel atop the slight lu­mi­nos­ity lent by alu­minium is strangely both ethe­real and solid. The work is also won­der­fully sculp­tural.

“I took hundreds of pho­tographs dur­ing my re­search,” says Woods, who is 39. “I wanted some of the pieces to have a col­laged feel and cre­ate a world within the land­scape. I also wanted the pieces to work with the land­scape of the gallery, and I have just for the first time seen the largest one, Tragic Head, in its en­tirety. I work on the pieces flat on the floor, and it wasn’t pos­si­ble to see how this one had re­ally turned out un­til it was in situ. I’m pleas­antly sur­prised.

“I’ve been work­ing on land­scapes for years, I’m in­ter­ested par­tic­u­larly in the psy­cho­log­i­cal as­pect – what feel­ings you ex­pe­ri­ence as you travel through cer­tain places. I knew some­thing of the York­shire land­scape through the works of Hock­ney, Moore and Hep­worth and stud­ied the his­tory of these amaz­ing places that in­spired me. I found that in Ge­or­gian times some of the rocks at Brimham had been carved to make them more ap­peal­ing, and felt very aware of how many cen­turies of vis­i­tors had, like me, seen faces in the for­ma­tions. The rich lay­er­ing of the rock and veg­e­ta­tion very strongly con­vey moods that change with vari­a­tions of light, af­fect­ing the sense of place.” The process of cre­at­ing these works in­volved se­lect­ing and trans­lat­ing shapes from pho­tographs onto ac­etates then pro­ject­ing these onto alu­minium sheet­ing be­fore cut­ting the out­lines into the metal through mask­ing tape and even­tu­ally ap­ply­ing enamel and paint, wet on wet.

Woods has a strong sense of both work­ing within a pas­toral tra­di­tion in Bri­tish art, but of also try­ing to ex­tend bound­aries in how re­sponses to land­scape are ex­pressed.

“Be­ing able to work at this sort of scale, be­cause of the gallery space avail­able has meant I’ve re­ally pushed these pieces to a place I could not other­wise have done.”

The Un­quiet Head is at The Hep­worth Wake­field from to­mor­row un­til Jan 29, 2012. www.hep­worth­wake­field.org THE an­cient build­ings of York will once again be cast in a new light as the Il­lu­mi­nat­ing fes­ti­val re­turns to the city.

The now an­nual event, which has pre­vi­ously seen York Min­ster and St Mary’s Abbey turned into blank can­vases for light artists, has man­aged to some­how outdo it­self ev­ery year and it sounds like the 2011 fes­ti­val may well con­tinue that tra­di­tion.

A group of artists, cur­rently work­ing around the world, are com­ing to­gether to ex­e­cute plans to blow up the Cas­tle Mu­seum.

No, of course not re­ally – but wit­nesses to the ex­tra­or­di­nary light show planned for the city, might be fooled into think­ing other­wise.

Ben Stern, of Ga­iaNova, an arts and events pro­duc­tion com­pany, is one of the artists be­hind the work which takes its in­spi­ra­tion from the build­ing’s 18th-cen­tury in­car­na­tion as a prison and York’s most fa­mous res­i­dent Guy Fawkes.

“The amaz­ing thing that is hap­pen­ing in the world of dig­i­tal event pro­duc­tion is that the bound­aries be­tween the artists and the pro­gram­mers who write the tech­nol­ogy are be­ing blurred and bro­ken down,” he says.

“The pro­gram­mers are the artists. It means we can come up with an idea and write the pro­gramme to fit it. We don’t have to go through the process of try­ing to ex­plain it to some­one who might not re­ally get the vi­sion of what we’re cre­at­ing.”

For this year’s event Stern’s Ga­iaNova has teamed up with United VJ’s, an in­ter­na­tional group of artists, to come up with a con­cept for a new com­mis­sion.

En­vi­sions in­volves map­ping the ar­chi­tec­ture of the Cas­tle Mu­seum with faces from the past and the pro­jec­tion also comes with a spe­cially de­vel­oped sound­track which will al­low the four walls to talk to vis­i­tors.

“A few years ago the tech­nol­ogy wasn’t avail­able and the pro­jec­tors were not big enough for what we are plan­ning,” says Stern. “But we are go­ing to cre­ate a light in­stal­la­tion that, yes, will make it look as though the build­ing is be­ing blown up and com­ing back to­gether again.”

The fes­ti­val grew out of an event in 2003 when the Mil­len­nium Com­mis­sion awarded fund­ing to those cities that bid to be cap­i­tal of cul­ture but failed. Brad­ford was one such city and used the fund­ing to cre­ate Il­lu­mi­nat­ing York­shire, a York­shire-wide event in­volv­ing five key cities, York, Hull, Sh­effield, Leeds and Brad­ford. This saw a va­ri­ety of events based around light­ing up the cities.

Since 2005 York has been invit­ing artists to come to the city and use light and sound to change the way peo­ple see the city. The first event was such a suc­cess that a num­ber of or­gan­i­sa­tions came to­gether to make sure that it wasn’t a one-off – and it has quickly be­come one of the city’s four ma­jor fes­ti­vals.

Stern says: “What I have re­ally en­joyed about Il­lu­mi­nat­ing York is that it is a way to make this re­ally his­toric city, with these in­cred­i­ble build­ings, re­ally come alive with in­cred­i­bly con­tem­po­rary tech­nol­ogy.

“In a way this is some­thing the Vic­to­ri­ans did, with magic lanterns. What we will cre­ate in York is the same idea, just with tech­nol­ogy that is so in­cred­i­bly ad­vanced.

“I think it will look spec­tac­u­lar.”

Il­lu­mi­nat­ing York runs in the city from Oc­to­ber 26 to 29. For a full pro­gramme of events visit www. il­lu­mi­nat­ingy­ork.org.uk NAOMI CAMP­BELL, Frank Bruno and Lewis Hamil­ton are amongst 50 prom­i­nent fig­ures fea­tured in a new pho­to­graphic ex­hi­bi­tion in Sh­effield. The Black Bri­tan­nia ex­hi­bi­tion, which runs un­til Novem­ber 14, is cur­rently on dis­play at the city’s Show­room Work­sta­tion . Part of Sh­effield’s Black His­tory Month cel­e­bra­tions, the im­ages were all taken by renowned pho­tog­ra­pher John Ferguson and sit along­side two other re­lated exhibitions. For more de­tails call 0114 279 6511 or visit www.show­room­work­sta­tion. org.uk

LET THERE BE LIGHT: The cen­tre of his­toric York will once again be spec­tac­u­larly lit up in the an­nual Il­lu­mi­nat­ing York fes­ti­val next week.

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