It is not often that a seaside art gallery in the provinces has the opportunity to host an exhibition of artworks by some of the most exciting artists practising in Britain today.
There is much anticipation as Staithes Gallery prepares to welcome Royal Academicians as well as members of the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers to the village.
Local painter and printmaker Ian Burke, who has been represented by Staithes Gallery since it opened in 2006, has curated the exhibition, Swan Song, to mark his retirement as Master of the Drawing Schools at Eton College, a post he has held for the last 16 years.
The exhibition brings together the artists he has invited to work in the school as Artists in Residence, inspiring students, staff and Ian himself throughout his career.
“In many ways,” says Ian, “the Artist in Residence scheme at Eton has prolonged my career because it has regenerated ideas and put me in contact with exciting, inspiring and creative individuals with new approaches.”
And now Ian is to share the experience with art-lovers from his native North Yorkshire by welcoming some of the artists who have so inspired and delighted him to his exhibition in Staithes.
“Eton as a school has encouraged me to reach beyond the college and involve others in my enthusiasms and the work I have done in the Drawing Schools. This exhibition is my way of curating the artists and their influences,” he said.
Concentrating for the most part on printmaking, drawing and works on paper, Ian has put together an all-star catalogue.
Many of these artists are seldom shown in the North-East of England so bringing them to Staithes provides a rare opportunity for local art-enthusiasts to see them.
For some of the artists it has provided an opportunity too. The collaborative printmaking group Pine Feroda, based in the South-West of England, travelled to Staithes earlier this year to create a new print, Looking West, based on drawings made from Staithes beach.
The resulting print will be on show at the Swan Song exhibition, which starts at Staithes Gallery on October 22 and continues until Saturday November 4.
Staithes Gallery, on High Street, is open Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm.
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