Mick Leach | Urban Abstraction
14th March 2020 - 11th April 2020
New Paintings by Mick Leach
Through his sophisticated work, York based artist Mick Leach aims to recreate the textures, colours, layers and shapes of the decaying urban landscape.
Leach, who is self taught and relatively new to the exhibition scene, draws inspiration from the many large cities that he has visited or lived in, his current practice taking particular inspiration from the wonderful city of York; the place he calls home.
In this new body of paintings exhibited for the first time this March, Leach attempts to recreate the colours and feel of the ancient stonework, the dark alleyways, sunken windows, and the contrast of the modern world against this ancient city, a place rich with contradictions. His work is never subjective; but produced instead from memory, in an attempt to recreate the feel of a location whilst simultaneously allowing his work to find its own course.
In creating his gentle, yet rich and confident images, Leach applies a mixture of chalk powder and paint to wooden boards which can be layered, stripped back and re-worked resulting in a textured, multi-dimensional surface. This layering and reworking guides the direction and composition of his work through the imperfections that he creates, and which, he finds so aesthetically pleasing.
As a self-taught artist and full-time worker, Mick's "side-career" [sic] in painting has been steadily and successfully taking shape since early 2016. Inspired by artists such as El Lissitzky and Malevich, his mature and evocative paintings have seen him recipient to a place on the Art& York 2019 Raw Talent Artist programme and winner of its associated prize, Best Raw Talent Award 2019.
Find out more about Mick at @mr_mjleach
Evie Leach is a York based jewellery designer and maker working in Sterling Silver with semi-precious gemstones and beads. Inspiration for her clean, angular designs is rooted in the geometry found in both nature and architecture.
Evie studied Jewellery and Silversmithing at the Birmingham School of Jewellery where her basic knowledge, gleaned from jeweller parents, transformed into traditional skills. Since graduating in 2010 Evie has done odd jewellery jobs while working in retail but in 2015, after starting a job as a technician on the evening jewellery classes at the Leeds College of Art, she took the plunge and began make jewellery her primary focus. Evie now works from PICA Studios in the centre of York.
Recently cited as “one to watch” by Ceramic Review (Issue 301 – January/February 2020) Katie’s delicate, nature-inspired works, have gained much, deserved, attention of late.
The starting point for all her work, is her deep-rooted love and appreciation for the natural world – something which has played an important part in her life since she can remember. She gleans creative stimulation from her exploratory walks outdoors. She is particularly drawn to birds and often finds herself distracted by them, be it by sight or song. “I have fond memories of watching and listening to wading birds whilst staying with my Grandparents who lived near the sea,” she explains.
Alongside the assemblages of natural bits and pieces that Katie picks up – feathers, rocks, pebbles, sea-glass, bird eggshell fragments, she is also inspired by her collections of natural history books, ephemera and all the miscellaneous items that she has collected over the years. These, their natural patterns, colours and textiles have played a big role in the direction that her work has taken and provide the root from which her collection of ceramic vessels and jewellery have emerged – becoming a physical embodiment of the many walks that she has taken through the landscape, and through life.
Katie works from quick sketches, using paint and collage to build layers and add texture and detail, whether it be for a painting or ideas for pots. Katie throws her bowls and vases on the wheel and uses clay bodies and glazes developed through lengthy and ongoing experiments with different ingredients, temperatures and types of firing. The markings on the eggshell pieces are all hand-painted onto the powdery glaze before the final firing, whilst the rock and pebble pieces are usually left unglazed to show the texture of the clay bodies and the natural colours achieved via two different firing atmospheres - gas reduction and electric oxidation.