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York College

Exhibitions at the Gallery

'The Voice Imitator'

(11th February 2017 - 16th March 2017)

'The Voice Imitator', a series of large-scale monotypes, is the next exhibition to grace the York College Gallery this month. The works are a collaboration by Kate McLeod and James Fisher and are in response to a short story by Thomas Bernhard.


“We were allowed to express our own wishes, which the voice imitator fulfilled most readily. When, however at the very end, we suggested that he imitate his own voice, he said he could not do that” Thomas Bernhard, The Voice Imitator, 1978.

'The Voice Imitator' is a suite of new large-scale monotypes made in collaboration by Kate McLeod and James Fisher. The works are a response to a short story by Thomas Bernhard, in which a voice imitator is invited to demonstrate his skills of impersonating well-known voices. At the culmination of the story, the voice imitator admits is unable to impersonate himself. To McLeod and Fisher this is a useful idea when considering the collaborative process. When artists are making something together, where does one voice end and the other begin? Do artists imitate their own visual voice as they enter into this kind of working relationship?

James Fisher WEB

'The Voice Imitator' monotypes were made in a single weekend using a bespoke woodcut press. McLeod and Fisher rapidly drew on materials and visual language from their individual practices to bring to the collaboration. McLeod, for example, found ways of compelling the clay, familiar in her sculptural work, to operate within a printmaking process. The suite is organised into a series of diptychs, with conversations between silhouetted profiles emerging in these groups of prints. The head is a visual device common to both McLeod and Fisher’s work, but in 'The Voice Imitator' it is adapted, open-mouthed, to foster a new pictorial dialogue.

Kate McLeod WEB

Kate McLeod trained at Goldsmiths College (2001-2004) and the Slade School of Fine Art (2007-2009). In between studying, McLeod spent three years working for Sir Anthony Caro at his studio in London. McLeod’s figurative clay sculptures are improvised and precariously braced; the materials are fragile and perishable meaning the works are ephemeral, the structures temporary. She has exhibited these works around the UK and Europe including: Royal British Society of Sculptors, Postbox Gallery, Andipa Gallery and NGCA. In 2012 she was awarded the Brian Mercer Bronze Residency, Pietrasanta, Italy. 

James Fisher trained at the Royal College of Art (1995–1997) and was a recipient of an Abbey Scholarship in Painting at the British School at Rome in 2001. He was awarded a PhD in Fine Art at the University of Gloucestershire in 2009 following a series of exhibitions that explored relationships between painting, music and text. Fisher’s paintings have been described as ghost machines, assemblages of materials producing spectral and inhuman encounters. His recent exhibitions include Doppelgänger at the Eagle Gallery, London, and Towards Night at the Towner Gallery, Eastbourne. Fisher’s work is held in many private collections in the UK and Europe and public collections include FIL Plc, London; the Jerwood Foundation, Hastings and the Hive, Worcester.

'The Voice Imitator' exhibition will run between 11th February 2017 and 16th March 2017 in the York College Gallery.

'In The Making'

(3rd February 2017- 9th February 2017)

‘In The Making’, a group show by BA (Hons) Contemporary Craft students, is due to open in the York College Gallery on 3rd February 2017.

In The Making WEB1

The exhibition will showcase the talents of third year students as they undertake their final year of study. The eight artists: Lydia Munro, Jake Augur, Layla Khoo, Daniel Nyman, Olivia Lawrenson, Dawn Ridsdel, Alex Palmer and Sharon Wilkinson address contemporary relationships with craft and how craft is perceived today. The decorative, the functional and the thought-provoking will be on show; from beautiful handmade silver jewellery, ceramic jars and contemporary 3D printed works, through to sculptural works addressing themes of loss and environmental damage.

In The Making WEB2

Art & Design Technician Dawn Ridsdel says: “In a world which is becoming increasingly homogenised and automated, the simple act of making becomes both a refuge and a necessary means of expression of the original and the unique. The title of the exhibition, ‘In The Making’ reflects how we, as learners, are being formed into the artists of tomorrow, and how the things we make shape us and the world around us as much as we shape them.”

‘In The Making’ is due to run until 9th February 2017 in the York College Gallery and is sponsored by Stage One Creative Services Ltd.

'Down in the Echo Chamber'

(6th January 2017 - 31st January 2017)

Two former students, Alex Haywood and Matthew Fletcher, who studied the Art Foundation course at York College have returned to their old stomping ground with a collection of new works entitled Down In the Echo Chamber.  While different in methods of execution, both artists employ forms influenced by cartoons and consumerist graphics, humour, and the increasing middle-classness of the art world.


Two peacocks walk into a bar. The first peacock turns to the second and says “what did you think of that exhibition?” And the second peacock replies “well I thought it was interesting, both artists appeared to have used familiar narrative elements, symbols and motifs whilst presenting unfamiliar scenarios. Elements are exaggerated, saturated and repeated. The commentary is all about how in society if we fail to look outside of our own sphere of influence we risk thinking we know what is going on around us; but in reality we are just spectators of familiar scenarios. For example, if you were to present a piece of text as a joke but then abandoned that format and write a monologue it confuses how your brain expects to interpret the information later on.”

After completing the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design in 2011 and 2012 respectively, Aled and Matthew then progressed to study BA (Hons) Painting at Edinburgh College of Art.  They now live and work in Scotland, Aled based in Glasgow and Matthew in Edinburgh. Aled is a former student of Manor CE Academy School, who also studied A Levels in Fine Art and Photography at York College, and Matthew is formerly of Fulford School.


Art & Design tutor Steven Hemingway taught both artists. He says: "It is wonderful to have two former students come back to the College to put on such an inspiring exhibition. It is great to see how they have developed during their degree’s and they are a real inspiration for our current students on the Foundation Diploma and other courses. Edinburgh College of Art is one of the best places to study Fine Art Painting and it is a challenge to be offered a place on the course, let alone do as well as these former students have.” 


 'There Will Always be Cowboys'

(31st October 2016 - 1st December 2016)

York College Gallery is pleased to present a new exhibition by Newcastle based artist Cath Campbell. There Will Always be Cowboys is a dreamlike film-poem that takes the viewer on a journey through the American landscape from Oklahoma, through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and ending in California. 

cath campbell 2WEB

The route follows the ‘Mother Road’, a name coined by John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath, a novel that documents the lives of the dustbowl migrants – high plains farmers who fled drought and dust storms during the great depression – and as such There Will Always be Cowboys makes an intentional connection between this historical mass migration and the contemporary political climate across the Western world.

Deliberately lo-fi in its process and aesthetic, the film is made by collaging together clips from amateur travel videos found on YouTube. The dialogue in each clip is translated by Google automatic captions, and the resulting subtitles are full of slight mis-translations that provide a disquieting and poetic quality to the narrative.  The clips are stitched together to create short film-poems that refer to the idea of the ‘stream of consciousness’– a literary device in which the writer attempts to remove rational thought, instead presenting the inner consciousness of the characters. The use of found and incidental imagery of American life creates a narrative sequence that is heavy with romantic reference and familiar cinematic imagery interrupted by strangely banal and absurd moments from the minutiae of the personal lives of the original authors.

cath campbell 3WEB

There Will Always be Cowboys is the latest short film by Cath Campbell taken from her on-going series ‘Canary yellow with royal blue’ following classic literary, cinematic and historical road trips across the American landscape.

The exhibition runs from 31st October - 1st December 2016 in the York College Gallery, opening times: Monday to Friday 9.00am -5.00pm

Cath Campbell (Born 1972 Ilkeston, UK) studied Fine Art at Newcastle University, and continues to live and work in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.  Her work encompasses drawing, photography, sculpture, digital printmaking, installation and large-scale architectural interventions. With a particular interest in the socio-political meaning invested in an object or image when dislocated from its original surroundings and placed within a new context, Campbell appropriates, collects and collages found images and materials, then through a process of manipulation, repetition and rearrangement, she re-presents these to question the disconnect between reality, desire and experience.

Cath has work in several public and private collections and is represented by Workplace Gallery, Gateshead.

Solo Exhibitions:
2016 My mum was a beatnik/canary yellow with royal blue, Baltic 39, Newcastle, UK
Canary yellow with royal blue, DLI and Durham Art Gallery, Durham, UK
2014 Everything we do corrects the space, Workplace Gateshead
2012 Ideal Mexico, Workplace Gallery, Gateshead, UK
 Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover, Open Space, Cologne, Germany

 Possibly Maybe, Cragside House, Northumberland, UK