YORK artist Clare Taylor opens her first exhibition of paintings at Pyramid Gallery, in Stonegate, York, on Friday evening at a 6pm private view.

Her debut show, Paintings, will be paired with ceramics by Barry Stedman, from Bedford, until November 12, on view from 10am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, and 12.30pm to 4.30pm on most Sundays.

Clare started painting this collection ten years ago after a diverse career that started with a degree in Art History and English Literature before she worked as an actress in repertory theatres. Later, she qualified as a barrister and ran a market stall in Portobello Road, London.

York Press:

York artist Clare Taylor and Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett hanging her work for her debut show

In her late-twenties, she was taken on by BBC Radio 4 and Radio 3 as a producer/director, making arts features and directing drama, and she went on to write freelance for both BBC Radio 4 and Channel 4, also writing with and for John Cleese, not least scripting the comedy short Away From it All.

Welcoming polymath Clare to Pyramid Gallery, owner Terry Brett says: "I offered Clare this exhibition because her paintings all have a narrative and a commentary on the world we live in from the female point of view, which is expressed in an eloquent and sometimes amusing manner. Clare’s broad experience of the world is the foundation of a vibrant and insightful collection of paintings."

Clare says: "I like to paint people in urban or rural landscapes. I like the counterpoint, the clash, between the tradition of landscape painting and the centrality of the contemporary human image; alienated people in movement, searching for meaning; the place they find themselves is often at odds with what they feel or where they want to be. I’m interested in moments of suspension; bodies losing balance; freedom and grace versus loss of control and fear of the fall."

York Press:

Ceramicist Barry Stedman in his Bedford studio

Co-exhibitor Barry Stedman uses his vessel forms – loosely thrown and altered on the wheel or constructed from slabs – as vehicles to explore contrasts of light and shade, hard and soft, warm and cool, rough and smooth. "I’m interested in the way edges meet and overlap, and the rhythms, tensions and harmonies created between colours, spaces, lines and textures in form and surface," he says.

"I tend to work in series influenced by natural phenomena, places, and emotions, developing ideas from drawing, painting and previous firings. I like the warmth and brightness of earthenware using slip, oxides and underglazes, over a red clay body. The surfaces are created in layers, firing in between using thin washes, wiping back and building up rich zones of colour. I then glaze chosen areas to add further depth, tone and texture."

Barry came to ceramics later in life after a career in retail. "I've always been interested in drawing and mark making and when I discovered ceramics at evening class, I was seduced by the possibilities of clay as a way of expressing abstract ideas of colour and form."

After completing an HND in 3D design in Bedford, Barry was "lucky enough" to be accepted on the ceramics degree course at the University of Westminster in Harrow. "It is here that I was encouraged to really explore and develop my ideas," he says. "My studio at home is now the place that clay, colour and my ideas come together."