ACCORDING To McGee is seeing out 2018 with a celebration of northern artists entitled North! Contemporary Depictions at the Tower Street gallery in York.

New art by Angus Vasili, Richard Liptrot and Richard Barnes forms a sister project to the ongoing exhibition Smash!, a collection of Pop Art and urban art by such British luminaries such as Dscreet and The Specials' Horace Panter.

This new focus on Yorkshire comes in response to requests from collectors. "Smash! is an ambitious collection, deliberately disparate and multi-faceted," says gallery co-owner Greg McGee, "The feedback from our collectors is that art from legends such as Dscreet, who is known internationally for painting shutters and walls in the East of London, is great and saves them a trip to London to source limited-edition prints, but while they're here in York they'd also like a contemporary, collectible souvenir. We knew just the artists to call."

Cue pitching an artistic brief to perennial McGee favourite Richard Barnes, and the bulk of North! was on its way. "Richard has an inimitable skill and a true painter's commitment to developing and evolving his approach," says gallery co-director Ails McGee.

"His latest York cityscapes have his style stamped all over them. Excitingly, he's looking further afield and his work Middlesbrough Transporter, a response to a collector's specific commission, is now available as limited editions – and they've been getting snapped up pre-exhibition."

Once Barnes's work was up on the walls, Ails saw an opportunity to introduce new artists to the McGee portfolio. "Angus Vasili and Richard Liptrot are great York artists and both have a massive groundswell of support in their own right," she says.

"We thought the timing of getting all three artists to display their latest work in one gallery before Christmas was too good an idea to backheel. We made the calls and, professionals that they are, both Angus and Richard [Liptrot] turned up within a week with the goods."

Angus Vasili's art, all crisp edges and carefully composed space, provides a sparse counterpoint to Barnes's more opulent depictions of York. Obviously inspired by architecture, Vasili filters areas such as the University of York through his experimental screen prints.

"My fascination with concrete, industrial landscapes and what I recently came to know as ‘brutalism’ has triggered this series of screen prints," he says. "I'm combining photography, texture and printmaking to create a raw aesthetic that resonates with the fundamental material of brutalism.

"I use a combination of bold colour and texture to help convey the optimism that these architects strived to achieve with this period of architecture.'"

Liptrot's art has been exhibited widely around York this year and was brought to the attention of the McGees by collectors. "It's very well drawn art," says Greg, "Richard manages to imbue in it not only the character of the building, but also his own personality, which is in essence the goal of every cityscape artist."

"My illustrations normally begin with preliminary sketches from observing the sites, in this case focusing on the independent businesses of York." says Richard. "It's a celebration of the variety of shops, cafés and bars that are an integral part of the community."

A busy December has prompted the McGees to postpone their 2019 plans to allow the present shows to evolve. "It's too much fun," reasons Ails, "Our 15th year anniversary will be the best yet, but in the meantime we're celebrating contemporary, collectible portraits of our favourite city, and we're open until Christmas Eve at 4pm."

"They may not be stocking fillers, but we believe the paintings here are great Christmas gifts, by any standard. We welcome browsers and collectors alike – and there are fewer crowds on Tower Street!"

Charles Hutchinson