Ones to watch, According to Ails McGee with One & Other Creative
Proud to feature so prominently in One&Other Creative‘s latest issue, with a guide from Ails McGee on the 4 hottest artists on the block.
“York’s biggest strength is not in its past, but in its continuum. The idea that a city can straddle both the worlds of heritage and the glittering digital age has been an inspiring touchstone pretty much since we set up in 2005. In the early days as a gallerist I perhaps prioritised too much what I thought the next big thing was, and so for a while we tried to second guess the industry. That way, we quickly found, lies trouble. Our first few exhibitions dabbled in Conceptualism, in that we found the idea so much exciting than the way it was realised. It was around about the time I found myself scratching my head in front of a blank A4 piece of paper that we’d lovingly curated as a work of art that I thought we’d better revisit our manifesto. In the context of creativity, inception is great – execution and exhibition is even better.
Generally, we’ve found that working within the confines of a ‘style’ is not restricting. It’s liberating, in that the artist is able to connect his or her initial concept to a wider audience, and perhaps even help to reinvent the style. ‘Design Francais’ is a typical platform for artists in that it comes accompanied with all the killer style of late 50s, early 60s, French and British New Wave, but it also leaves a lot of wriggle room for the artist to remix a few ideas, take existing snippets of visual and culture and resample them in a way that not only pertains to the initial vision of the first practitioners but can make the style seem competitive and relevant in today’s visual climate.
I’ve compiled a quick list of artists who I think are ones to watch. Using the blocks found in Design Francais as springboards, they’re well into their own respective ways of doing things. All share a professional focus and a collectible, visual theme: stylish, controlled, and mildly unsettling. As a litmus test into the current state of the contemporary art scene in the North, it’s not a bad start.
Though not currently producing the paintings and prints which brought him recognition and sales in our ‘Goldsmiths in the North’ exhibition, Jack has skewered the same effortlessly stylish vibe and is bringing it to some game changing video art.
“The medium in which I work is generally irrelevant to me, whether it be painting, print or film. The important thing for me is to use my materials in unusual and playful ways. My work is almost entirely about process and that allows me to be fluid in any medium, digital video or oil paints; I don’t see much difference.” See The Eye image below.
Milward’s literature is a constant feature on BBC’s ‘Culture Show’ (he is a favourite of Lauren Laverne), and his work has been translated into 9 languages. He has recently slipped into painting and we love it. He has had recent success all over UK, particularly in London, and we were stoked to exhibit his ‘Luddites’ Nightmares’ here in York earlier this summer. We love what he does with paint – wild, fearless, and a unique style throughout. Says Milward,” According to McGee is a particularly special setting given it’s in the shadow of Clifford’s Tower, where the original Luddites were imprisoned 200 years ago, my paintings being a modern surrealistic take on their plight.” See the Crazy Image below.
After completing his studies at Leeds College of Art, Eddie has exhibited all over the North and beyond – his work went down a treat in a New York group show, and the ‘Ones to Watch’ show at Farsley harnessed his intent: here is a young artist with a unique vision, and the focused ambition to get his work out there.
“I am inspired by colour and shape and form, and am particularly interested in Henry Moore and African art. Venetian vases and feminine curves seem to a recurring motif. The graphic aesthetic of New wave is fascinating in that it things are so clear and controlled, and that’s hopefully something I can bring to my own work.” See The Banana Image below.
With an eye on graphic visuals, Amelia has been working on a new series, ‘Missing the Point’. Says Amelia, “Sometimes the point in what we are doing is hidden beneath more surface intentions, our true purpose lurking behind us but never revealing itself. ‘Missing the Point’ is a multimedia series expressing our never ending search for purpose, and the difficulties that this can sometimes bring.” The ‘poster aesthetic’ in the series gives each image a unified, collectible quality. See The Native American image below.
This article appears in the current issue of One & Other Creative www.oneandother.com/
Ails McGee, October 2016
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