York gallery According to McGee has worked with artists from York College for over 10 years. A decade of exhibitees and curators sound like a roll call of important, collectible contemporary artists of the North: Aled Haywood, Mary Bowering, Tina Breslin, Dan Gatens, Tom Jennings, Daisy McManaman and Sophie Wright all contributed to the gallery’s ‘While the Ink is Wet’ series. Last year’s exhibition at Fossgate Social reinvented the gallery and bar collaboration. York College artists Tom Child, Vincent Lyles, Liz O’Connell-Ward, Janet Easton and Daniel Saywell revealed game changing work and went on to curate shows at According to McGee, including solo shows from CBE Elaine Thomas and international art star Andy Fullalove. Indeed, according to gallery director Ails McGee, “Janet and Daniel were invaluable to our growth and diversification in 2016. Janet is a top class curator, and Daniel’s illustrations were crucial to our charity work via New Visuality.
2017 kicked off at According to McGee with an installation from York College student Sophie Cook. Sophie works with balloons, a glue gun and a pin. Sounds simple, but the results are mesmerizingly fragile. “The skeleton left by the dried glue was perfect for the beautiful 3D prints created by Ripon’s GoPrint3D,” says light installation artist Nick Walters, “The projections that I designed complemented her art very well, and it was gratifying to watch from the dark inside of the gallery the spellbound faces of the passers by.” Nick’s light projection and the 3D prints and work created by Sophie Cook was a statement on this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day, a sensitive subject by any standards. Says Ails, “When we saw Sophie’s work at York College we audibly gasped. It’s some of the most exhibitable work we’ve ever shown, and was ideal for our installation.” We sat down with Sophie to discuss her work and where she sees her art going.
I love the way that art and design is evolving, using modern technology to advance the human imagination
How do you see your work evolving?
I really love they way I have manipulated an unusual material to create a different, yet simple organic formed object. I would further develop this unique manipulation of material and combined it with my love for fashion, to design a quirky and lavish dress aimed for the catwalk to provoke the viewer’s imagination.
The exhibition is built alongside innovative 3D Prints. What are your thoughts on this?
I love the way that art and design is evolving, using modern technology to advance the human imagination, to create interesting and exciting contemporary works of art. Further to this, I would love to incorporate more of the same concepts into my own work.
How important is it for you to provoke the viewer?
I think this is vitally important to make sure the viewer understands and feels something from your work. A piece of art is much more likely to stay within someone’s memory, if you can connect with it. People tend to like things they can either relate to or disagree with, and irrelevant to if they ‘like’ it, one can still appreciate the thought process behind the concept in front of them. Which is the reason why I create my work the way I do.
I am about to embark on my Final Major Project ‘Revolutionary’ in 3D Design Crafts at York College. Upon finishing my Level Three qualification, I intend to further my studies into a higher education course and propel my creativity and innovation through 3D Design or exhibit my ideas through my love for fashion.