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According To McGee: ‘Trailblazers Of Contemporary Art’

York white cube gallery According to McGee celebrates its 10th anniversary with a series of exhibitions celebrating the 'trailblazers of contemporary art.' Says co-director Greg McGee, "We kick off 2014 with a group show from Goldsmiths and Glasgow graduates. The group, 'Garage Projects', are set for exciting things in that they're at the cutting edge of forward thinking, innovative UK exhibitions.

Their shows at Nottingham's Bohunk Institute and London's Cafe OTO are reminders that the UK contemporary art scene is in very rude health, and we're looking forward to bringing them to the centre of York". The Garage Project sets the scene for a riff of three shows for established and internationally well regarded artists Dave Pearson, Elaine Thomas and Horace Panter. "It's a perfect opener," says co-director Ails McGee, "The trailblazers of the future introduce the trailblazers of the past and present. The three exhibitions all complement each other in that each eponymous artist has a distinct place in the UK art scene."

March 2014 sees 'Dave Pearson: Colourist'. Pearson, who died in 2008, was eulogised in The Guardian as "a great example of an artist whose life was completely dedicated to serving the imagination". Art critic Edward Lucie-Smith says of Pearson's recent show at London's Bermondsey's ArtSpace, "It’s not often nowadays that a really major artist slips through the net. The show is an autobiography – one of the greatest composed by any 20th century British artist." Says Greg McGee, "What Pearson did with paint is extraordinary. In his hands it flickers and bristles, and helps painting stamp its authority on the contemporary scene. Installations and videos are fine, but this is the stuff to quicken your blood. His estate are doing a great job in celebrating Pearson's work, and were quick to suggest we bring attention to Pearson as a colourist. It's a good move, and we looking forward to exhibiting this side of his milieu."

Following 'Dave Pearson: Colourist' is 'Divine Antics' in May 2014 from nationally celebrated artist Elaine Thomas. Says Greg, "'Divine Antics' is a witty title from a witty, spiky artist. Her work is inspired by the Romanesque and the Mediaeval, wherever they are found, as well as Greek, Roman and Indian Art. Her figures take on these postures, cavorting, posing and intermingling. They're like something from an ancient story, and bring to mind both the biblical and the pagan. Perfect really for the fecund time-slot of May." Ails continues, "Elaine Thomas is a fascinating artist. From a business woman's point of view, she's a real star. Her work is evocative, funny, feminine, she's a great character, and of course she was awarded a CBE in 2011 for doing such great work as Vice Chancellor of the University of Creative Arts. From time to time, we take on a female only team to curate, chronicle and launch a show. 'Divine Antics' is going to be one of those shows, I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to it."

The final exhibition of the 'trailblazer' series is 'Icons and Iconoclasm', from Horace Panter, widely known as the bassist and co-founder of ska legends, 'The Specials.' "If you're going to run with a series of shows called 'trailblazers', you need at least one rock star in there!" laughs Greg, "Horace Panter is a provocative artist. There's a swagger and sense of mischief in a lot of his work, which no doubt comes in part from his experiences performing. There's also a socially aware vibe that we like very much. Political Propaganda is built on iconography, and it’s thrilling to witness Panter take that, remix it, resample it, even dismantle it. And he does it all with such a lightness of touch. The showman becomes the shaman, and Pop Art becomes a protest song. In that sense, 'Icons and Iconoclasm' will prove to be an important and exciting project. Social and political apathy are rife nowadays. Panter's paintings and prints will provide a welcome kick in the backside." Ails concurs, "And it will be delivered with such style, charm and swagger, you may even want to make a purchase."

'Garage Projects' 17th January - 25th January 2014

'Dave Pearson: Colourist' runs 15th March - 26th April

'Elaine Thomas: Divine Antics' runs 3rd May - 2nd June

'Horace Panter: Icons & Iconoclasm' runs 7th June - 28th June.

All exhibitions are curated in partnership with York based charity New Visuality