13 July – 27 October 2024
YSP Centre

Opening in July, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) presents a new body of original work by York-based painter Carol Douglas, in her largest exhibition.

“Actually I Can” includes 51 new paintings of various sizes, all of which will be for sale. Prices range from £325 to £1,430 with all proceeds going direct to the artist and to YSP to support its charitable work. Works will be hung in several spaces in the YSP Centre, including the Upper Space Gallery, and the Kitchen Café.

Douglas, who was dissuaded from pursuing an arts qualification at school, has developed her own style since taking up painting in her 60s; painting with acrylic and applying it to the canvas using rollers rather than the traditional paint brush. She builds the paint up layer after layer, with a warm palette of greys, browns and mustards.

Influenced by Outsider Art, Art Brut and Folk Art, terms used to describe art with a naïve and decorative quality, her alluring paintings depict recognisable household objects and people in domestic settings, and are inspired by her experiences of everyday life.

The exhibition’s title Actually I Can is inspired by Douglas’s background. Following a very successful career as a sociologist and community worker, she enrolled onto an art foundation course at York College in her 60s. Now in her 70s, Douglas has exhibited in several galleries in the UK, collaborated with brands including TOAST and her work is collected worldwide.

Giving visitors a special glimpse into the working life of a painter, the YSP Shop window will be transformed into a replica of the artist’s York studio, including a display of six paintings.

Carol Douglas says: “I am delighted to have my largest exhibition to date at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, for which I have included a bespoke series of large-scale paintings for the café space. This exhibition has encouraged me to revisit my back catalogue of work, drawing from and bringing together my favourite ideas from across my painting career thus far, putting it all together for one show. The spaces in Yorkshire Sculpture Park that my work will be shown in have been a key inspiration for the making on this show, and having the opportunity to present in such a prestigious art venue is a joy and a privilege.”

In addition to all 51 original paintings, YSP has produced a series of small prints for visitors to purchase from the shop as a keepsake, priced at £12 each.

YSP is a registered charity and accredited museum in West Yorkshire. All proceeds from sales help YSP to remain open and continue to create meaningful, enjoyable experiences for everyone in a unique environment.

About Carol
Carol Douglas is a York-based artist. Before becoming an artist, Douglas worked a variety of jobs, including kindergarten teacher, in which she was a creative enabler. She was lucky enough to spend six years in Bangkok in her 50’s, and was inspired by meeting artists in Bali, Japan and Borneo, yet still unaware of her ambition of becoming a painter.

In her late 60’s, Douglas took the leap and enrolled on an Art Foundation course at York College. This gave her the confidence to start painting and at the end of the course, she won the York College of Art and Design Lifelong Student of the Year Award 2018.

Douglas draws inspiration from Outsider Art, a term used to describe art which has a naïve quality and often produced by an untrained artist, Art Brut which translates to ‘raw art’ made outside of the academic tradition of fine art, and Folk Art which is usually decorative or utilitarian. She has collected art throughout her life, with an extensive collection of paintings and sculptures.

She works with acrylic on canvas, detailing with oil pastel. Becoming a painter was a natural extension of her interest in art, design, architecture, and interiors.

She has always responded strongly to colour and developed her own distinctive colour palette. Many of her themes were initially derived from the domestic setting but recently she has begun to paint figures in a semiabstract style. Douglas’ first foray into exhibiting her work was at cafe Partisan in York, who have been incredibly supportive of her career. She regularly takes part in York Open Studios, which is an opportunity to show people her studio, discuss her work and process. She has had solo exhibitions at The Table, Hay on Why (2023) and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield (2024).

Group exhibitions include: O rose, cut in rock, Sax and Bird, London (2023), and Spring Show, Will and Yates, Deal (2024). Forthcoming exhibitions include a solo show in Hay on Wye in November 2024. She is a named artist at Hicks Gallery.