East Riding of Yorkshire Council has commissioned a colossal artwork by Gary Saunt, which goes on display free of charge at the Treasure House in Beverley on Saturday, 21 October, as the latest stage of its contribution to Hull UK City of Culture 2017
The huge digital painting – measuring over 20 metres in length – has been produced to celebrate the transformational impact of this cultural event on Hull and the East Riding. Gary’s artwork takes the viewer on a cultural pilgrimage from Beverley to Hull.
His vivid and compelling ‘dreamscape’ incorporates the familiar and the strange, the historic and the contemporary, the real and the surreal. Visitors can come along and see a host of celebrities, all en route for the City of Culture.
With over two hundred companions featured in the work, the journey begins at Beverley Art Gallery, which now overlooks the Westwood pasture and Black Mill.
It seems that everyone is en route to Hull UK City of Culture 2017 in Gary Saunt’s dreamscape and there is entertainment all around. Visitors can ‘hook-a-duck’ with Rockabilly President George W. Bush, play a game of cards with Maureen Lipman, buy an ice-cream from Captain Spock of the starship Enterprise, and see Hull’s famous Bee Lady.
Councillor Richard Burton, portfolio holder for leisure, tourism and culture, said :
“I am absolutely delighted that we are able to salute Hull 2017 with this magnificent artwork, which I have no doubt will prove hugely popular, and will once again cement Beverley’s place as a ‘must see’ destination for culture in this area.”
Martin Green, Director of Hull 2017, said:
“I can’t wait to see Gary’s piece, which I’m sure will be incredible. It feels like it has truly captured a real theme of the year with people making a journey to Hull and the region to be surrounded by the entertainment and culture that has been part of our packed programme, along with celebrating the area’s rich heritage and the people from the region who have gone on to achieve such success in their fields. I’m sure it will become a huge attraction.”
Gary Saunt was born near the fish dock in Grimsby in the summer of 1951. His father ran a small business, curing fish in the smokehouse, while his mother worked as a welder, making fittings for Grimsby trawlers. On leaving school, he attended Grimsby School of Art before moving on to Sunderland Art College in 1970. While his college tutors were focusing on the abstract and conceptual, Gary’s interests lay with figurative art and photorealism, a style characterized by its precision and painstaking detail that had emerged in late 1960s.
On graduating, Gary settled in the North-East and began teaching art. But family and finances eventually pushed him in another direction. He returned to Grimsby and trained as a Fireman, eventually becoming a Divisional Commander for the Fire Service, in charge of the western half of the East Riding and the city of Hull.
But Gary’s love of art never waned and when retirement came, he planned to set up his easel and settle down to a life of traditional painting. But a push from his daughter Kat, who is also an artist, sent him in an alternative – digital – direction.
He discovered that his own style of painting readily adapted to this new medium. Despite using a graphics tablet and stylus instead of brush and palette, he could achieve traditional painterly results but with a different look and feel. With no time lost in mixing paint, washing brushes or waiting for paint to dry, he developed greater spontaneity, flexibility and a new creative rhythm.
The exhibition is free and runs from Saturday, 21October until Saturday, 2 December 2017, including Sunday openings, at the Beverley Art Gallery, Champney Road, Beverley.
The Treasure House is open at the following times:
• Monday: 9.30am – 5pm
• Tuesday: 9.30am – 8pm
• Wednesday: 9.30am – 5pm
• Thursday: 9.30am – 8pm
• Friday: 9.30am – 5pm
• Saturday: 9am – 4pm
• Sunday (during the exhibition) : 10am – 4pm
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