Artist Francesca Simon’s free exhibition at Ryedale Folk Museum

Major new works by Francesca Simon, a British artist featuring in national collections and top UK art galleries, will be placing North Yorkshire’s Ryedale Folk Museum on the contemporary art map this summer, as part of a series of exciting – and free – art exhibitions taking place between 25 July and 13 September.

In her debut show outside London, the painter and print-maker will display her series entitled ‘Navigations’, a tribute to Francesca’s 30-year relationship with the ‘quiet moors of her beloved Yorkshire’, which originally inspired her distinctive style as an artist.

Although Francesca now also works in London, where she is represented by Beardsmore Gallery, her new exhibition draws on this early influence, reflecting the North York Moors’ muted and eloquent colours, and its layered topography and archaeology.

“It’s about personal and artistic exploration,” she explains.  “The labour of the navvies – the drystone wall grids which break up and punctuate the fields and delineate the moors, provided me with a starting point in becoming an abstract artist.  The work I have made especially for this show is an allegory on the subject of navigation, through life and creativity as through the landscape and its gradual changes.  The horizon and its familiar landmarks, including dry stone walls and Bronze age burial mounds; the shadows cast in relation to the time of day; the ancient drovers’ roads – all provide tools for navigation.”

Explaining why she chose Ryedale Folk Museum for her first solo show outside the capital, Francesca says, “The North York Moors were important as my original inspiration as an artist, and the Ryedale Folk Museum is a dynamic place with terrific energy and infectious enthusiasm – a special location to be showing my latest paintings.”  She adds that: “It’s an exciting challenge – those who come to the museum whether locals or summer visitors, will be a wider and different mix of people from those who visited my shows in London, and I really look forward to hearing how the work is received here.”

This is not the first time that the North York Moors museum has attracted such high-calibre contemporary artists, with previous exhibitions including works from the Tate Collection, and earlier this year Edinburgh’s Gallery TEN.

“You only need to step outside the door here to see why the North York Moors have provided inspiration for artists for centuries, and we’re delighted that Francesca will be sharing works which reflect this landscape with our visitors over the summer,” comments Jennifer Smith, director of Ryedale Folk Museum.  “It is superb to think that a gallery in the heart of a rural county can attract such oustanding talent, which gives people yet another reason to explore our fantastic region.”

The Art Gallery and Museum, which is spread over a six acre site in Hutton-le-Hole, in the heart of the North York Moors National Park, is open daily until 30 September from 10.00am to 5.30pm (last entry at 4.30pm) and October to December 10.00am to 4.00pm.  Entrance to the Art Gallery is Free.  Admission prices to the museum are £7.00 for adults, £6.50 for concessions and £6.00 for children, with a family ticket (two adults and two children) for £22.50.  Ticket holders can return to the museum for unlimited visits for a full year from the date of purchase.

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