Altered, Accordingly, McGees return with re-brand

June 10, 2017

Tower Street According to McGee is relaunching with a new collection and collaboration with Littlestonegate’s Art of Protest Gallery. “It’s the most rejuvenated we’ve felt for years,” says gallery director Ails McGee, “We’ve worked with great outfits in the past. The Beautiful Meme, Lazenby Brown, Goldsmiths College, but never with another gallery. It’s the right time.”

According to McGee has for 13 years primarily celebrated Contemporary Painting, but with their next exhibition, ‘We Made Something Of This’, the gallery is taking steps into exhibiting framed limited editions with a more urban outlook. The edgier style is set to continue for the foreseeable future, with outsider artists booked in until 2018.
Says Ails, “Artists are obliged to develop and diversify. It’s part of their job description. Evolve or fossilise, and that’s the way it should be. Galleries don’t share that freedom. It’s like a gallery secures its brand, and then, like Bettys, it sticks with it. I think it’s supposed to reassure clients and collectors, but we’ve taken a decent amount of gratification from being progressive and adaptable. Some of our biggest risks have been our most rewarding, professionally and commercially.”
“The Northern art scene is in a very different state as to when we launched 13 years ago,” says co-director Greg McGee, “And York has benefitted massively from that, and the knock on effect in culture has been phenomenal. The city Art Gallery, the festivals, the wine bars, the coffee. Only a misanthrope would say it was better without these things. What we’ve noticed however is that bounty can bring apathy. There’s not too much to get angry about if you’re sipping your second latte of the day.”

Greg is especially grateful for the emergence of Littlestonegate’s Art of Protest, “The number of galleries in York is a reflection of just how fine a fettle is the city’s cultural scene. What’s really great about ‘Art of Protest’ is that they’re carving a name for themselves quickly and with the kind of brand confidence that ordinarily comes from a decade in the saddle. Ails and I knew for some time it was time to revamp According to McGee but we were struggling with the details. Jeff Clarke and Craig Humble of Art of Protest have a very clear mission statement, and the quality of their artists mean they’ve international reach. A collaboration with them is a business opportunity, and an exciting one.” McGees retain staple favourites such as ex-miner Harry Malkin and Specials rock star Horace Panter, with selected Art of Protest artists to be confirmed. Says Horace Panter, “I’m delighted to be included in the re-launch exhibition. We Made Something Of This includes my Clash and Ramones limited-edition prints, where both pieces seek to encapsulate the essence of two iconic musical forces while leaning on the references of Sir Peter Blake and Robert Rauschenburg. My Walkman pieces, meanwhile, celebrate a moribund piece of music technology; groundbreaking in its day, it now exists only as a repository of memory for all those who owned one in the 1980s.”Work by Karl Sandor and Chris Rivers from The Killing Tree is prominent. “Our mission from the outset has been to offer something different in terms of design concept and collaborations. The last couple of years have seen the brand go from strength to strength in terms of both the products we now offer and the customer base we engage with. For this reason we are extraordinarily excited to be working with the McGees in the centre of York.” Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller, Dave Pearson, Mat Lazenby, John Creighton and Brian Lewis will be exhibiting too, alongside pieces by York College, York St John University, Goldsmiths and Glasgow School of Art students. Greg is excited about a new relationship with York College, “York College is a great college for young artists, we’ve worked very successfully with them in the past. Layla Khoo has organised for 3 artists to exhibit with us, and it’s heavy duty stuff. Rudo Bolcar, Kate Buckley, and Layla herself, it’s cracking art, witty and provocative, and it’s just as collectible as anything we’ve ever shown. These guys are our tips for the collectibles of the North. Come see it while the ink is wet!” Layla Khoo of York College says, “The works were chosen from the viewpoint of looking for something fresh and innovative in what can be seen as the fairly traditional arena of craft. In order for the 3D work to resonate with the viewer in a 2D format, it needed to have a quality beyond that of the surface and the form. The three artists are excited to be considered as part of the dynamic new turn the gallery is taking and we’re delighted to have our work shown amid such high-quality pieces in the heart of our home city. The importance of the support of local galleries to students on arts degrees cannot be overstated.”

By Charles Hutchinson. This article originally appeared in York Press, May 2017

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