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York: ReMastered 2013

Richard Barnes, Kate Young and Tim Morrison deliver “very different responses to the previously presumed monolithic beauty of York” at According To McGee from 20th July 2013..

“York: ReMastered 2013 promises an exciting balance between York’s baroque bombast and its more fluid energy, the very competitive 2013 quality it has at the moment,” effuses the Tower Street gallery co-owner, Greg McGee. “Heritage is great, but in order not to become a museum, it’s crucial that York stays sharp. This exhibition reflects that edginess.”

Richard Barnes considers the show to be interesting because it brings together three artists with different approaches to recording reality. “Painting is all about decision-making and these three varied styles really illuminate this,” he says. “One thing that underlies York: ReMastered is how we abstract reality through the process of drawing.”

Barnes exhibits his well regarded depictions at According to McGee every year. “Summer wouldn’t be summer without his instantly thrilling paintings in our window,” says Greg. “As ever, York’s icons are his muse and, as ever, he endows the city with his unique vision, his oil paintings reflecting the magic of the Minster and its surrounding streets He has hit a real rich seam this time, and as gallery curators, we’re grateful to see his groove deepen.”

Kate Young made her McGee debut in 2008 when she was given the chance to show new work after a 20-year hiatus. “Five years, seven exhibitions and 10 commissions later, I’m able to exhibit alongside two artists of great note,” she says. “My work has developed with my confidence and I’m looking forward to pushing my style. There are still many Yorkshire views I’m yet to discover.”
Kate has “always been a favourite” among Greg’s roster of artists. “Her depictions of Yorkshire remind me of a good Tintin book. What’s not to love?” says Greg. “What she has in common with Richard Barnes is that they both stick to their visions without diffusing the painting.

“You see one of their pieces in a window or someone’s living room and you think, even if you don’t know their names, ‘that’s that artist who shows at According To McGee’. There’s an iconic quality about their work that complements each other.”

Kate’s boldness in her painting style continues to impress Greg. “She takes York and other locations and endows them with a Julian Opie crispness,” he says.

“York, with its ornate buildings, generates a lot of traditional art, sometimes fine art, sometimes art that is a little sweet, and often not very well painted. York’s traditional artists are at times guilty of over-reverence for the city’s charisma and are squeamish about meddling with its modern potential, but too much respect can boil the fun out of art.”

Greg describes Tim Morrison as a charming, graceful artist and a searcher, whose experimental work deconstructs a street scene and harnesses a new beauty it otherwise would not have.

Black ink and thick acrylic are trademarks, although Tim is moving towards collage and assemblage, using fragments of maps, lettering and drawing in works of disorientating energy that reveal his fascination with surrealist Kurt Schwitters’ Hanover abode.

“It doesn’t exist anymore – it was bombed in the war and the sculptures were obliterated – but in my drawings I inserts depictions of the Hanover house inside the drawings of houses in York,” says Tim.

As Greg puts it: “Tim does things his own way, and in that way we thought we should get him on board for this show. What we’ve found is that artists who try to second guess what art lovers and collectors appreciate usually end up with moribund work.

“Tim’s work is slippery, spiky, unforgettable stuff. It’s perhaps darker than Barnes and Young’s, perhaps a little more urban, but the tug and pull of these three artists, the synergy, the sweet-and-sour aspect of it, ensures the painterly future of York’s portraits is in good hands.”

Greg sees 2013’s exhibition as a statement of intent by his gallery. “The worst thing to do at this stage of our career, in this summer of financial uncertainty, is to lose our nerve and go for diluted, neutered watercolours,” he says. “We want well painted, well-crafted vividness, paintings that celebrate painting.”

York: ReMastered 2013 runs from 20th July to 30th September 2013.