York Art Gallery

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York Art Gallery’s ‘Monet in York’ celebrates the National Gallery’s National Treasures Exhibition with an exclusive commission entitled ‘Una Sinfonia’ by acclaimed contemporary artist, Michaela Yearwood-Dan.

To celebrate the forthcoming arrival of Claude Monet’s The Water-Lily Pond (1899) as the central feature of a major exhibition to mark the 200th anniversary of the National Gallery, internationally renowned artist Michaela Yearwood-Dan has been commissioned to produce a new body of work to show at York Art Gallery. The exhibition, which opens on 10 May in York, will showcase Yearwood-Dan’s work – nine pieces collectively known as ‘Una Sinfonia’— for the first time, displayed alongside other works by artists such as Roy Lichtenstein and Utagawa Hiroshige, as well as Monet’s masterpiece.

York Art Gallery is one of twelve partners nationally, and the only Yorkshire location, participating in National Treasures to host a masterpiece from the National Gallery’s outstanding collection to celebrate their Bicentenary. The exhibition at York will bring together key loans from regional and national institutions alongside collection works from York Art Gallery. By displaying canvases by Monet’s contemporaries, as well as more modern artworks – including Yearwood-Dan’s new large-scale commission – the exhibition will reveal how his radical approach to painting had, and continues to have, an enduring influence on artists.

“Being commissioned to make this new body of work in response to Monet’s legacy – and The Water-Lily Pond in particular – is a huge honour as an artist and former and forever student of painting,” Yearwood-Dan said. “Having the opportunity as an artist from my varied list of demographics to be introduced into a conversation around this work of one of the world’s most historically significant European artists is an enormous milestone, and one I could not have imagined at this stage in my career. Taking inspiration from the way Monet formulated his bodies of work, I am very pleased with how this new series ‘Una Sinfonia’ has turned out, and think the overall show is one not to be missed.”

Yearwood-Dan, a London-based artist, has exhibited as some of the world’s premier galleries and museums. Throughout her work, she endeavours to build spaces of community, abundance and joy. Her visual language draws on a diverse range of influences, including Blackness, queerness, femininity, healing rituals, and carnival culture. Moving freely between media, the artist embeds botanical motifs and text within abstract forms and heavy drips of paint. For this exhibition, she has created a new body of work inspired in part by Monet’s The Water-Lily Pond.

Drawing upon Monet’s fascination with the changing quality of light, Yearwood-Dan takes the seasons as a thematic starting-point for her paintings. Within rich colour palettes and lyrical gestures and lush forms, the artist embeds fragments of text and floral and botanical motifs. Delicate beads and ceramic petals decorate the surface of the canvases, referencing queer histories and producing richly textured surfaces.

With her works on paper, Yearwood-Dan follows the same loose theme, offering quick and lively explorations of the atmospheric qualities which Monet sought to capture in his paintings. With these works on paper, Yearwood-Dan also look to the forms and gestures of Japanese prints that likewise influenced Monet throughout his career.

The exhibition at York Art Gallery is supported by wealth management company JM Finn and Little Greene Paint Company as the official paint partner.