At present in Leeds it almost seems every time you turn your head there is a new and exciting art space being added to the cities vibrant art scene. Amongst the many new but certainly with a difference is Leeds Gallery.  Having been invited to the private view of their current show ‘The Yorkshire Artists – Part 2’ it was a great opportunity to engage with this gallery for the first time.

Expecting the typical semi-converted warehouse gallery space, I was pleasantly surprised. Met with two grand doors and after ringing the door bell you were able to enter the space.  Walking in, I could sense that every care taken to ensure the quality of the gallery. However I couldn’t help thinking that this space had a different feel to it. Having a quick glance around I realized that it was a beautiful commercial gallery. A pleasant change as so often the art world seemingly forgets that there are many talented artists whose work is aimed towards a buyers’ market.

Instantly on arrival you could pick out three very diverse, yet distinctive artists. Helen Peyton’s bold, bright prints immediately whisk you away to a bygone era. Peyton’s simplistic yet wonderfully playful pieces are of retro household objects. For me, when viewing her pieces, the audience has the chance to be taken into a house from a different time through her printed selection of everyday objects.

Opposite to Peyton’s work, was a wall with a checkerboard display of Tom Wood’s wonderfully colourful oil paintings.  These consisted of a selection of side profile portrait paintings of birds, such as ‘White Peacock Study 1’ and ‘Flamingo’, alongside studies of two women, Elinor and Joanne. Almost it seemed the artist was making a comment on the notion of the word ‘bird’ used to describe women. Wood out of the three artists perhaps had the most diverse mix of pieces, having a collection of realistic bird paintings, studies of women, a range of life studies and some self portraiture pieces. The large triptych of women portraits, for me was the most powerful in Woods collection, in particular ‘Women with Hat’.

Interspersed with Wood’s painting were Colin Halliday’s oil paintings. In contrast to Wood’s work, Halliday’s pieces are primarily emotional responses to Northern landscapes.  Vibrant and lively, it was almost as if the paint was moving in amongst the landscape. The paintings seemed to have been placed together because of their colour palettes, which worked and gave a good flow to the collections. The two pieces, ‘Passing Storm’ and ‘Buttermere Storm 1’ seemed to have the most energy because of their subject matter.

A wonderfully curated show of three Yorkshire artists, all of whom obviously engaged thoroughly with a varied subject matter in their practice. A lovely space and I look forward to future exhibition which take place here.

Words: Rachel Worthington


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