New Voice Projects: OSBORNES@68, Gillygate, York

As a city of heritage, York often subordinates its newer narratives in favour of its history. Brand new initiative ‘New Voice Projects’ is dedicated to joining a small but growing group of young people who want the spotlight a little more on their interests and concerns. Founded in the summer of 2017 by Tadcaster Grammar student Freya Singh and Milan born intern Lorenzo Conti, their first visit was to Osbornes@68, Gillygate, York. Independent and committed to showcasing the work of new artists of York, it proves the perfect first spot for New Voice Projects’ directors.

Says Freya, “It doubles as an exhibiting gallery for up and coming artists. At the time of our visit the artists Debbie Thompson, Margaret Wilson and Malcolm Ward were exhibiting various pieces. The artist Debbie Thompson was exhibiting a range of nature pieces with a range of different medias. The image that initially caught my full attention was ‘Ellie’, an appropriately titled homage to an elephant whose brightly coloured background brings the silhouette of the subject alive.

Margaret Wilson, the second exhibiting artist, focused her range of embroidered images on bookshelves. What really lifts these pieces is the the use of minimal, specific detail. The use of mixed media is very important to this work and gives it a whole new level of dimension and texture.

Ward’s work, the third artist, focused on portraiture as his subject. The use of colour is effective throughout, and the portraits possess a pleasingly illustrative twist in. The style is a fresh contrast to co-exhibitees, however there is enough synergy to segue the show with the cafe and with each artist.

Freya’s business partner Lorenzo is initially struck by the atmosphere of hospitality. “The place makes everyone feel at home. From the decor, which includes a cosy fireplace and brick walls, to the inviting cakes in the window, Osbornes@68 is pretty much the perfect place to kick back with a pot of tea, or have breakfast or lunch. The charming vibe is enchantingly offset by a lively and lovely little “Art gallery”. The pictures on show are minimalist and realistic. They capture an instant of freedom, spontaneous excitement.  Regarding Debbie’s work, it seems that the loneliness of each animal is accentuated by the context of the backgrounds. Looking at the art on show, Margaret’s pieces featuring bookcases makes the biggest impression. Every book differs from the others, conveying a unique sense of instability.”

With that, Freya and Lorenzo order a pot of tea for two and begin to plan their next visit to a similarly welcoming and independent spot in York’s city centre.

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