According To Mcgee


York art gallery ‘According to McGee’ is set to celebrate 9 years of business this summer, and garrulous co-director Greg McGee is in reflective mood.
“It’s not the easiest time to open a gallery, never mind maintain a gallery,” says Greg, “We were lucky in a sense to open before things got tough. We had time to gather momentum and collect a list of loyal clients and collectors from online through and whatever mistakes we made were balanced out the following week with the sale of 3 or more paintings. Times may be more turbulent and so we’ve distilled our mission into selling contemporary art in a very specific, recognizable way. We’ve championed painting for the last 3 years, and have harnessed collectors of contemporary painting all over the UK. At the same time, our online shop selling jewellery and ceramics has grown and made inroads to customers all over the world. For a long time we thought both sides of the business were two very separate arms. After all, it’s costly and time consuming to export, buy, pack, post, insure a heavy framed painting. It wasn’t until we sat down and looked at the 20 or so promo posters we use to publicise our shows that we looked at each other and thought: these aren’t just fliers or invites – these are collectable, desirable items in their own right. Let’s run a show where the posters are the artwork, let’s invite our contacts from Dubai, Russia, China and let’s get the works online as limited edition signed copies. Our 10th anniversary is set to export the Poster Exhibition to quality art spaces all over the world. It’s an exciting time.”

The exhibition is a slick collection of wildly disparate styles all pleasingly unified by the ‘According to McGee’ double block motif. The artists, some of them internationally established, some of them emerging nationally and some on the cusp of local recognition, have their work filtered through the collectable format of posters. One delightful surprise is Teesside hero and internationally lauded author Richard Milward, he of ‘Apples’, ‘Ten Storey Love Song’ and more recently ‘Kimberley’s Capital Punishment’ fame. ‘A major talent’ says Irvine Welsh, ‘One of the country’s most important and celebrated young authors’ (Dazed & Confused), ‘Astonishing’, (Lauren Laverne). It must make for a change from writing epoch defining novels, I asked him. “It’s a treat to be featured alongside the other quality, varied artists in the McGee show. The poster format works great in a city centre gallery – the pieces are like perfect, eyeball-sized blasts showcasing the heart of each artist.

While I’m mainly focused on writing novels (my latest, Kimberly’s Capital Punishment comes out in paperback in August), the last few months I’ve resuscitated my interest in painting. In May I’m exhibiting ten hypnotic, Day Glo, mandala-inspired paintings at the newly-founded Tunnel Gallery in the underpass at Middlesbrough railway station. And I’m currently working on my fourth novel.”
Milward’s irreverent edginess fits easily in with his co-exhibitees. One of the most interesting images, oddly, comes from a photographer, in that According to McGee has nailed its colours very much to the ‘painting mast’. York based Thomas Rodgers is happy to exhibit in the show, “According to McGee’s idea to incorporate a wide variety of individual artists in one poster show is inspired. The ease of dissemination and publicity that it will afford for both gallery and artists alike will prove to be of benefit for a long while to come. It also feels like a formula that could have numerous permutations across a wide range of different media and gallery contexts.
I am particularly pleased to be involved in the process as Greg and the wider According to McGee family have supported me in my artistic career for many years now. His appreciation of my photographic work has been a major boost and I hope we can make more art together as new developments like this poster show continue to emerge.” Thomas is representative of a new wave of artist, with a professional and attentive charm, quite different from the instantly tedious bad boy shenanigans of the ‘90s crop. His future appears bright,
“My artwork has been developing in a number of ways, primarily taking in elemental explorations of photographic practice, through collage, experimental arrangements and fundamental studies of light, alongside more conceptually driven investigations into the emotional archaeology of space. In the very near future I will begin an MA in Contemporary Art Photography at Edinburgh College of Art and also hope to develop my role as a tutor of Art & Design across various institutions in York.”
So far, so arty. ‘According to McGee’ has always adapted to the times, and for a self styled contemporary gallery it has by definition been able to move with the times. A self-referential poster exhibition, therefore, makes perfect sense as a 9th year anniversary celebration. It’s collaboration with York creative charity New Visuality, however, throws a curveball that endows the exhibition with wings previously unimagined. “It happened when New Visuality’s PR Svengali Amy Harris and I went for lunch”, says co-director Ails McGee, “Amy had been impressed with how well one of the participants from an outreach project had sold in a separate exhibition. She went on to tell us how she’d been to ‘Create’ restaurant in Leeds and been bowled over by how seamlessly the work of the members of staff who’d experienced homelessness fitted with that of professional caterers. On her insistence I went myself and, yes, you really couldn’t see the join and the quality was absolute top notch. After talking with New Visuality, we decided to integrate posters featuring work from marginalized groups. In that sense, the show carries out what art does best: it inspires, it redeem, it comforts and it thrills.”
David Kenward, a young photographer with Downs Syndrome, has his work featured on one of the posters. “I went out with him with a camera and his sensitivity and confidence blew me away,” says Greg, “He has just entererd the Downs Association ‘My Perspective’ Competition for the fourth year having had 2 photos selected in the top 10 for the last 3 years. His poster is one of my favourites.” Says David, “I want people to enjoy looking at my pictures and want my pictures to make people feel happy.
When I takes a picture I want it to be sharp and interesting and expressive with lots of detail and colour. I like to see unusual shapes in things and likes dramatic light effects like sunbursts or moving water.”

The exhibition starts next Friday the 10th of May until the 14th of May (Tuesday).

All exhibited posters will be available for purchase on the New Visuality online store.




By peter on May 4, 2013

Check out all the pics

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