York Art Gallery is right in the heart of York, its so easy to find and well worth a visit. The gallery had a long renovation last year to radically change the space inside, it really has benefited from the changes. When I first visited there was a variety of small dimly lit narrow spaces which felt more like a house. Many of these small rooms have gone and it now has a more open feeling inside. The exhibition space seems to have increased too with more on show which is good because entry is now paid.
The most impressive part of the space is the mezzanine level with its arched ceiling to allow light in. Even on the typical rainy British day it feels light and airy inside! This main area also now houses the impressive ceramics collection. You’ll find other types of both contemporary and traditional art inside though, including a section specifically on art of York. There are also rotating exhibitions so be sure to check what’s on before you plan your visit.
The ceramics gallery has impressive sculptural pieces on the central floor and display cabinets around the outside. The cabinets are curated exhibits of specific collections by certain makers. Each one has a distinctive theme depending on the artist they focus upon; Lucie Rie, Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada being just a few of them.
My favourite display was the cabinet of rainbow pots which had an interactive display. The pots weren’t displayed by the date they were created but by colour. You could use the touch screen to find out more about each one if something in particular caught your eye. It creates an interesting display putting pieces together that you’d never usually see beside each other.
I always think its interesting to see what pieces people collect for galleries. Here it really ranges from the everday cup and saucer to the unusual and sculptural. If your a ceramic artist who lives outside of London this is probably the best collection your likely to see because of the sheer range on offer. I’d say it does rival the V&A’s collection with more of a focus on craft pottery which is more to my taste!
It’s been such a long time since I last posted here! I just wanted to give a quick thanks if you dropped by to see me at the Homegrown Food Festival. It was a great weekend! I’m currently planning more events for the winter season, I’ll let you know as soon as I do about these.