A STRIKING artwork has transformed the front of York Art Gallery as part of the Aesthetica Art Prize 2022 exhibition.

Portico by Steve Messam is one of the shortlisted works displayed at York Art Gallery from tomorrow (Friday, June 24). The temporary, eye-catching installation, exploits colour and scale, creating a moment of interruption in the familiar.

Steve Messam is an environmental artist, based in the North East of England, and his pieces have previously been displayed at the National Trust’s Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, in Ripon. Messam’s bold and large-scale installations uncover layers of narrative within the landscape, drawing on existing uses of the land and architecture, reflecting an understanding of the geological, cultural and agricultural practices used to shape it.

York Museums Trust is urging people to share their photos of Portico, by tagging York Art Gallery and Aesthetica Magazine on Instagram and Twitter.

The Aesthetica Art Prize is an annual celebration of contemporary art. The 2022 exhibition, which brings together this year’s talented finalists at York Art Gallery, invites audiences to explore, discover and engage with themes from our rapidly changing world. The exhibition is free to see.

This year’s 20 finalists come from myriad countries – Argentina, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Norway, the UK and USA. Their works span painting and drawing; photography and digital art; three-dimensional design and sculpture; installation, performance and video art.

Steve said: “Portico changes the way people look at York Art Gallery, temporarily transforming the front of the building and the way people use the space. You can see it from the city walls, the open top buses and you can come sit and have your lunch outside and enjoy it too. I love how many people have been stopping to take photos already.”

Cherie Federico, Curator and Director of the Aesthetica Art Prize, said: “As a curator, installing Steve Messam's Portico is truly inspirational. The marriage between the historic and contemporary creates a feeling of surprise, awe, and contemplation. You start look at the building with fresh eyes and the gallery is transformed. Portico is a surprise and makes you feel good. The bold colour and spikes ignite the imagination.”

Morgan Feely, Senior Curator at York Art Gallery, said: “It’s a pleasure to host the Aesthetica Art Prize 2022 at York Art Gallery. I hope people will be inspired by the transformation of the exterior of the gallery and come in to see the full stunning exhibition, which is free to see. This year’s Aesthetica Art Prize runs alongside our exhibition ‘Body Vessel Clay: Black Women, Ceramics and Contemporary Art’. Together, these show our commitment to celebrating new art at York Art Gallery.”

The Aesthetica Art Prize 2022 runs alongside Body Vessel Clay at York Art Gallery from tomorrow(Friday, June 24) until Sunday, September 18. The exhibition is free entry, along with York Art Gallery’s permanent collections. York Art Gallery is open Wednesday-Sunday, 11am-5pm.

Body Vessel Clay: Black Women, Ceramics & Contemporary Art, curated and conceived by Dr Jareh Das in partnership with Two Temple Place, explores artworks by three generations of Black women artists working with clay. Clay is one of the oldest forms of making, with indigenous pottery traditions existing in almost every location in the world, marked by technical variations from culture to culture.