GRAYS Court, York, is celebrating York in all its glory in an autumn art festival that has opened this week. Events manager Katharine Fitzpatrick has selected eight artists who epitomise York for an exhibition that starts at the staircase and winds through to the Victorian Bow Room.

On display are works by Richard Barnes, Ian Smith, Zillah Patrick, Pamela Knight, Raymond Fearn, Kaz Mills, Amy Howe and Philip Hart.

Richard Barnes’s Night Rhythms is a large-scale celebration of night scenes of the four York walled bars: Monkgate, Walmgate, Bootham and Micklegate.

“This work combines iconic York buildings that are often represented as tourist images, but here are explored through dramatic action painting,” says Katharine. “Sprays, stains and drips of paint help to describe the architecture but also add a space which represents the movement of night life through the city.” Ian Smith’s Gold York seeks to show that the heart of the city endures. “By using a shattered glass effect over a golden map of York, he evokes a sense of permanence despite temporary hardships,” says Katharine.

In Courting York, Zillah Patrick marries the bars around the walls of York with the city and Minster within.

“Paintings evolve by using hand, heart and eye,” Zillah says. “Often I’ll superimpose one view on top of another to create a semi-abstract essence of the subject matter, as I try to capture not just one moment in time but several, using strong hues and the juxtaposition of one colour against another.”

Pamela Knight’s subject matter is drawn mainly from landscape, the Yorkshire Wolds being particularly inspiring. “In Wolds In Winter she seeks to evoke the mood of the landscape that she walks through, with the fall of light on form and the patterns created sometimes lending ambiguity and mystery to the subject,” says Katharine.

Raymond Fearn’s York Minster From The Market, York Minster & Balloons and York Minster Towers are three images of the Minster painted 30 years apart. The first depicts a conventional view across York from a vantage point overlooking the market; the second is a playful look at the Minster surrounded by colourful balloons; the third is the view from the top of the Minster itself.

Kaz Mills has painted 93 Years specifically for the art festival as a preview for her exhibition at Grays Court next January.

“It’s a personal artistic view, examining a multi-faceted relationship with the city, and the nature of the city itself: how it evolves, changes, brings new buildings in and pushes old buildings out, such as the recently closed Army & Navy store in Fossgate,” says Kaz.

Amy Howe, a young artist studying at the University of York , expresses her love for York in Path To The Minster. “It’s also a reflection of my encounter with York’s historic centre: Shambles,” she says. “The journey begins from the bottom left of the piece and winds diagonally to the Minster. The piece not only conveys a journey, but the viewer must also make a visual journey across the canvas to the final destination.”

Philip Hart’s Cat Trail is based on 16 cats located on buildings around the city. “It’s designed to ensure that when you follow the trail to search for the cats, you will also see the most attractive parts of the city,” he says.

The Autumn Art Festival will run until November 30 at Grays Court, in Chapter House Street, York. The exhibition is free and open to all seven days a week (except when closed for any private events; see ).