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Andrea Bailey Retrospective: A Life Through Art

A major retrospective of the work of an artist who spent most of her adult life living, drawing and painting on the North York Moors opens at the Inspired by… gallery at Danby next month.

Andrea Bailey Retrospective: A Life Through Art can be seen at the gallery at The Moors National Park Centre at Danby from Thursday 5 September to Wednesday 16 October.

The late Andrea Bailey’s art reflects her life, from the animals and agriculture to life drawing. The exhibition will trace the strong foundation of her drawing ability from lively sketchbooks to paintings, prints, sculpture and felt-making, showing the development of her creative process.

Andrea pursued her art with energy and an open mind to the very end of her life – just weeks before her death in 2016 at the age of 90, she visited The Deep in Hull to sketch the aquarium’s fish. The resulting drawings are included in the exhibition.

Andrea had four children – the oldest, Liz, is a respected ceramicist who lives and works in Kirkbymoorside, while Bridget, a well-known London-based textile designer and milliner, had an exhibition of her work at the gallery in 2017. The youngest of the siblings, Jim, runs a farm within the North York Moors National Park, of which he is chair.

Jim Bailey says: “Mum was very practical, very hands-on with nature,” he says. “She believed that you need to open your mind and look at what you see, not what you expect to see – she was so creative and spontaneous.”

Liz Bailey says: “We used to do open studios together and I would look at her work with her to decide what we’d frame and hang – and each year, it was different. Pastels, watercolour, pencil, etchings, charcoal: she was always pushing it, always experimenting.”

Bridget Bailey will take guests on a ‘tour’ of some of Andrea’s many sketchbooks at an evening reception at the gallery on Friday 6 September from 6pm, and again on Saturday 7 September from 11.30am.

She says: ““Her sketchbooks were her companions – they have everything about her life in them. It’s like getting inside her mind, like being mixed up in someone else’s thoughts – a bit confusing, perhaps, but also incredibly honest and personal.

“What comes out of them is a real vigour. Of course she got physically frailer, but I think she got stronger in her art and her thinking as she got older, which is quite an unusual thing in life.”

Bridget will also be on hand to talk to participants on the Awakening The Writer Within workshop at The Moors National Park Centre on Sunday 8 September from 1pm to 4.30pm, which will draw on Andrea’s work.

The Inspired by… gallery at the The Moors National Park Centre, Danby, is open from 10am to 5pm daily in September and October. The gallery hosts temporary exhibitions of work by contemporary artists and craftworkers who draw their inspiration from the landscape, life, light and colour of the North York Moors.

For more information on the exhibition, go to: www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/inspiredby