The best art exhibitions to see outside London 2017 2

The UK has an incredible range of art exhibitions on show this year. From 1930s realism in Scotland to Op art in the West Midlands – here is our pick of some of the best

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East Midlands


photograph of sculpture consisting of three wedge-shaped wooden blocks leaning to the left in black, yellow and orange

William TuckerThebes 1966Paint on wood121.9 x 137.2 x 203.2cm Arts Council Collection, Southbank © the artist

At Nottingham’s  Lakeside Arts,  Kaleidoscope: Colour and Sequence in 1960s British Art (until September 24) is a colourful  exploration into 1960s British art featuring a selection of bright, bold artworks from Op Artists, Pop Artists, Constructivists and New Generation sculptors including Bridget Riley, Philip King and Eduardo Paolozzi. The pieces in the exhibition, while seemingly unrelated, all build on the idea of pattern and repetition as a theme, resulting in a display of individual, but connected, artworks.

Over at Nottingham Contemporary, Lara Favaretto: Absolutely Nothing (until August 28) explores two decades of the Italian sculptor’s career through a collection of some of her most intriguing pieces as well as the major new commission Thinking Head, which greets visitors to the gallery with clouds of steam rising from the roof of the building.

And New Art Exchange has a duo of exhibitions as to kick off its South Asian season. Film installation Bhairav explores the architecture and history of Goa and man’s relationship with earth, time and spirituality to the sounds of the Bhairav raag – an ancient Hindustani classical music tradition. Dam Pani  or ‘divine breath’ pays homage to a celebrated Pakistani Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan through abstract experiments devised to distil the Qawwāl singer’s spiritual energy into a visual artwork. (until September 24).


In Scunthorpe, work by the influential 20th century artist Louise Bourgeois goes on display for the first time. 20-21 Visual Arts Centre have the honour of hosting Louise Bourgeois and Collected Women (until September 16), which comprises a series of the artist’s prints. Alongside, 12 female artists from the area have made artworks in response to Bourgeois’ personal, candid prints.

photograph of tatooed man wearing a blue face mask contrsucted from folded shiny blue fabric

Disco Denimals Mask by Milliner Little Shilpa
© Little Shilpa

The National Centre for Craft & Design in Sleaford encourage you to get dolled up with The World is Your Dressing Up Box (until October 8), which embraces the extravagance of fashion and costume design whilst offering you the chance to try on some pieces and release your inner diva.


Derby Museum and Art Gallery’s Judge Dredd to Wonder Woman – the work of Liam Sharp (until September 3) showcases a local artist with worldwide acclaim. The show charts 30 years of Sharp’s comic career in illustrating some of the most famous, and infamous, comic book characters including Spiderman, Wonder Woman and Judge Dredd.

Over at QUADOur Friends Electric: Adventures in Robotics, AI and Other Stories (until September 10) reveals artists’ responses to themes and ideas relating to AI, robotics and synthetic biology. The resulting works comprise films, robotic sculptures, and artworks produced by robots, which question the morals, ethics and possible outcomes of our artificial future.

East of England


A distant view of Caerhays Castle, a semi-castellated manor house near St Austell in Cornwall

Caerhays Castle, Watercolour by Edward Bawden
© The Fry Art Gallery

In Saffron Walden, Fry Art Gallery show off their impressive permanent collection of work by Great Bardfield artists with Exploring: Inspirational places for Great Bardfield and North West Essex Artists (until October 29). The exhibition, of course, features work by well-known residents Bawden and Ravilious, including some newly acquired Bawden watercolours, but also highlights lesser-known artists such as Walter Hoyle and Sheila Robinson. The show’s focus on inspirational places sees beautiful interpretations of both home and away grace the gallery walls.

Over at Firstsite in Colchester – Ed Gold: Other Worlds (until September 17) presents a collection of stunning documentary photographs spanning nearly 30 years, by Essex-born Ed Gold. Gold, whose nomadic lifestyle forms the basis of his photographic work, travels to isolated regions and communities, living as part of the community for up to three years. During this time he documents the people he meets and the conversations he has, building a deep relationship with the groups and producing uniquely candid photographs. 99 of Gold’s images, a selection of his diaries and audio interviews are on display for the exhibition.


Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum commemorates the 70th anniversary of India’s independence with From Kabul to Kolkata: Highlights of Indian painting in the Fitzwilliam Museum (until September 3). The exhibition features a selection of paintings and drawings spanning four centuries and covers themes including religion, myth, history and music.


If you can’t get enough of the mid-century master The Higgins Bedford has Edward Bawden and His Studio (until January 28, 2018), which features an unrivalled collection of the artist’s photographs, letters, designs and artworks. The artist donated the contents of his studio to Bedford before his death, and this exhibition draws on items from his home to offer a glimpse into his life.


photograph showing henry moore in his studio with two of his sculptures

Henry Moore c.1929-30 with Reclining Figure 1929 and Mask 1930. Photo: © Henry Moore Archive, courtesy of Leeds Museums and Galleries

In Much Hadham the Henry Moore Studios & Gardens present Becoming Henry Moore (until October 22), which explores the artist’s promising beginnings, which paved the way to him becoming one of the most celebrated British sculptors of the 20th century. The exhibition presents Moore’s early work from the 1920’s and contextualises it with work of his contemporaries, European avant gardes, earlier masters and art and objects from ancient cultures. am12453


In Norwich, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts celebrates the important 20th century modernist  Paul Nash (until August 20) in a major exhibition. The display brings artworks by the painter, a founding member of modernist art group Unit One, together with those of his fellow members including Tristam Hillier, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Henry Moore. Nash, who was a contributor to some groundbreaking modernist and surrealist exhibitions of the 1930s, is celebrated as a key influential figure in Modern British Art.


Northern Ireland

Belfast’s Ulster Museum has Light and Life: Italian and Dutch Painting 1600s to 1800s (until November 5) which brings to light some of the finest examples of Dutch and Italian paintings in the museum’s collection. The display, which contains two paintings recently discovered to be by Pieter Brueghel the Younger and featured on Britain’s Lost Masterpieces, explores the theme of religion – specifically looking at how painters used light in new, theatrical ways.


North East

Tyne & Wear

In Newcastle, Laing Art Gallery’s spectacular watercolour collection goes on display in Wanderlust: the World in Watercolour (until December 17). Starting with an image of the city, the exhibition takes the viewer on a journey to some far flung and exotic places through works spanning 300 years, and features work by some of the most celebrated painters including JMW Turner and John Singer Sargent.

Over at Sunderland’s National Glass Centre, Jewellery: Wearable Glass (until October 1) features exciting newly commissioned glass jewellery from skilled contemporary makers. The exhibition hopes to re-establish glass as a versatile, and beautiful, jewellery medium.

Black and white drawing of robots and mythical creatures

Chad McCail’s “Liars of Earth” Photo © Colin Davison

Also on-site is a display by the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, which is exhibiting Chad McCail: Liars of Earth (until October 8) at National Glass Centre while the building is being relocated. McCail’s allegorical Liars of Earth is an epic 100 foot long drawing depicting a fantastical battle between the rich and powerful and the ‘man of men’ – a giant formed of thousands of human figures.

County Durham

Over at the Bowes Museum in the picturesque town of Barnard Castle, Michael Eden: Wedgwood and Wouldn’t (until September 17) explores the form and characteristics of neo-classical vases, such as those made by Wedgwood during the industrial revolution, and features the artist’s own vases, which he produced using digital technology and 3D printing. The resulting objects, which were only made possible through modern technology, create a vivid and contemporary contrast to the neoclassical objects found elsewhere in the museum.


North West


pop art painting showing woman with short blonde hair against a floral background with abstract shapes either side

Pauline Boty, Colour Her Gone, oil on canvas, 1962. Courtesy of Wolverhampton Arts and Museums © the artist’s estate.

In Kendal, the stunning, Grade I listed Abbot Hall Art Gallery has Painting Pop (until October 7), a colourful celebration of 1960s British Pop Art, which presents works by leading and iconic artists, such as Sir Peter Blake, Richard Hamilton and Patrick Caulfield. The exhibition proves that the British contribution to the kitschy, cultural art of the 1960s was just as important as that of the Americans.

Alongside, A Rake’s Progress by David Hockney (until December 30) presents work made by Hockney in 1961 following the artist’s first trip to New York. The first series of etchings produced by Hockney, A Rake’s Progress explores themes from Hogarth’s series of the same name.


In Liverpool, Lady Lever Art Gallery has a celebration of popular art from 19th century Edo (now Tokyo) in Edo Pop: Japanese Prints (until September 24). The 50 hand-printed woodblock fan-art prints feature popular celebrities, including actors and wrestlers, and would have been collected by everyday fans and enthusiasts. Though trivialised by the government, these prints, which date from a time when Western influence was starting to become felt in Japan, could be considered the Pop Art of their day.

painting of woman with cropped hairstle in cream dress reclining on a leopard skin

Otto Dix, 1891–1969 Reclining Woman on a Leopard Skin 1927. © DACS 2017. Collection of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University. Gift of Samuel A. Berger; 55.031.

Tate Liverpool’s, Portraying a Nation: Germany 1919–1933 (until October 15) tells the story of the inter-war Weimar Republic through the work of two German artists. The duo of portrait exhibitions – Otto Dix: The Evil Eye and ARTIST ROOMS: August Sander – document a nation reeling from the effects of the First World War, and highlight the cavernous gap between the rich and the poor in the run up to Hitler’s rise to power. Sander’s thorough documentation of the German people and Dix’ satirical, social realist artworks reflect the glamour, and the misery, of this troubled time.

Up in Southport, The Atkinson celebrates an avant-garde contemporary of Paul Nash and Ben Nicholson. John Armstrong: Dream and Reality (until September 3) brings together diverse surrealist work by the Unit One member with pieces by his fellow artists, including Roland Penrose and Tristram Hillier.

advertisemtent showing illustration of woman on a bicycle, holding a branch of leaves

Advertisement for Waverley Cycles by Alphonse Mucha.
© Mucha Trust 2017

At the Walker Art Gallery there’s a sumptuous collection of around 100 works by leading Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha. The touring exhibition from the Mucha Trust collection, Alphonse Mucha: In Quest of Beauty (until October 29), comprises some of the most iconic Art Nouveau images by the celebrated Czech artist.


At Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, From Ocean to Horizon (until October 29) showcases work by contemporary Hong Kong artists exploring the relationship between the ocean and the horizon line. The exhibition draws on Hong Kong’s strong ocean connection, and invites the artists to reflect on their response to changes in their lives and work resulting from the city’s recent history. For many of these international artists it is their first time exhibiting in the UK.

Manchester Art Gallery’s, South Asian Design (until May 27, 2018) is an exploration of the gallery’s collections from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Featuring art, crafts, design and fashion spanning three centuries, the exhibition is a diverse snapshot of the region’s resource and creativity. Alongside, contemporary art and design inspired by the collection, and a newly commissioned terracotta sculpture are on show.

Painting showing three officers standing to the left of the composition beside a pile of ammunition boxes. Each looks in a different direction. One has his back to the viewer and looks out over the scene of the painting. There are marionette-like figures moving over broken ground, amongst the huts and shattered trees. Streams of stylised smoke erupts from incoming shells and spreads across the sky.

A Battery Shelled © IWM (Art.IWM ART 2747)

IWM North’s Wyndham Lewis: Life, Art, War (until January 1, 2018) explores the radical artist and writer, in commemoration of the 60th anniversary off his death and centenary of his commission as an official war artist in 1917. The exhibition uncovers the rebel artist, who was leader of the Vorticism movement – Britain’s only avant-garde art movement, in his largest ever UK retrospective.

At The Lowry, Lowry at Home: Salford 1966 (until September 24) is an intimate set of photographs of the gallery’s namesake, taken in 1966 by photographer Clive Arrowsmith. Lowry was rather secretive and this series of photographs is quite unique in offering a glimpse into the painter’s world. As well as portraits of Lowry, and shots of his home, Arrowsmith also photographed the streets of Salford, offering a different perspective of the scenes that Lowry painted during his career.

Nestled in Manchester’s picturesque Whitworth Park The Whitworth gallery has an exhibition by installation artist Cornelia Parker. Verso (until November 5) documents the artist’s interest in the backs, undersides and underneath of objects. The display of the photographs recording the reverse of hand sewn button cards from Manchester Galleries’ collection explores the abstract drawings hiding in plain sight.


In Preston, the Harris Museum and Art Gallery has Two Surrealist Masterpieces on display (until October 29), on loan from the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. This is a very rare chance to see two works by the most celebrated Belgian surrealists – René Magritte’s Threatening Weather and Paul Delvaux’s Call of the Night.




realistic painting of woman with 30s style hair wearing a navy dress and bright blue neck scarf

Gerald Leslie BROCKHURST (1890–1978) By the Hills, 1939. Oil on canvas, 76.2 x 63.5cm. © Ferens Art Gallery, Kingston-Upon-Hull, purchased 1939.

At the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, True to Life: British Realist Painting in the 1920s and 1930s (until October 29) is a display of technically brilliant realist art, produced in a time when abstract art was in favour. The show includes 80 paintings by 50 artists including the talents of Laura Knight, Winifred Knights, and Gerald Brockhurst.

At Edinburgh’s City Art Centre there’s An A-Z of the City’s Collections (until October 8). Spanning four floors of the gallery, the exhibition contains over 300 objects relating to alphabetical themes – from Arts and Crafts to Zoo. While the display’s themes vary through the alphabet, each object is linked to Edinburgh, pulling these objects, from the nationally and internationally important collection, together.

Over at Fruitmarket Gallery, Brazillian Artist Jac Leirner’s sculptures go on display for Jac Leirner: Add It Up (until October 22). The artist’s pieces result from habits, collections and obsessions, and bring to light overlooked objects and materials – empty packaging resulting from a cigarette habit; stolen aeroplane ashtrays and their associated boarding passes – ordering and reordering them into sculptures documenting repetition and addiction.

At the Scottish National Gallery, Beyond Caravaggio (until September 24) is an exploration of the Italian painter and father of the dramatic tenebrist style of painting, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, and the artists he inspired, shown for the very first time in Scotland. Caravaggio, whose life was as dramatic and tumultuous as his painting, created his most celebrated works in exile after killing a young man.

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery’s Coming Clean (until November 5) is a series of photographs by New York-based Scottish photographer Graham MacIndoe, who documented his own struggle with heroin addiction. The raw and candid images were taken in the throes of a full-blown addiction which led to the artist ending up in one of New York’s most notorious prisons having lost his home, family and career.


collage image of figure sitting in orange chair

Tschabalala Self, Mane, 2016, linen, fabric, oil pastels and Flashe on canvas

At Glasgow’s contemporary arts space Tramway, American artist Tschabalala Self (until August 20) explores the Black female body within contemporary culture and examines race, gender and sexuality through her paintings, collages and works on paper.

Visitors to Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art may be surprised to see that the main gallery sits empty for conceptual artist Marlie Mul’s first Scottish exhibition. Mul has announced that This exhibition is cancelled (until October 29) and instead invites the public to apply to use the free space for whatever they desire – be it yoga, film screenings or carpet bowls.


In Dundee The McManus has Museography: Calum Colvin Reflects on the McManus Collections (until October 29), an exhibition for which Colvin has drawn on the museum’s collection to create his unique and magical photographs. Starting by constructing a set resembling an everyday location, comprising mundane objects, Colvin then paints a trompe l’oeil image onto the set. The resulting images transform the museum collections into fantastical stories, playing with symbolism, and replication.

At ­Dundee Contemporary Arts, Clare Woods: Victim of Geography (until September 10) sees the artist’s giant abstract portraits dominate the gallery. The paintings feature vulnerable people, painted from found images – isolated or exposed and distorted     into other-worldly figures. Working in different tones of one colour per painting, the colourful artworks punctuate the gallery’s bright white space.


South East


a sketch of a young and older bearded male head

Two Apostles. Copyright Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford

The Ashmolean’s, Raphael: The Drawings (until September 3) uncovers the Renaissance genius of Raphael through 120 stunning drawings from the Asmolean, as well as on loan from international collections. The display explores Raphael’s tremendous accomplishment and creativity, and features the record-breaking Head of a Muse as well as Heads and Hands of Two Apostles – hailed as the finest drawing the master had ever produced.

Over at Modern Art Oxford there’s the first posthumous e of work by a legendary British Conceptual artist. Rose Finn-Kelcey: Life, Belief and Beyond (until October 15) brings together some of the artist’s iconic artworks, including 1987’s Bureau de Change – a reinterpretation of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in pocket change created in response to the auctioning of the famous still-life.


photograph of painting of a seascape in an ornate frame on a grey wall.

The Chain Pier, Brighton, 1826-7, John Constable, Lent by Tate: Purchased 1950 On display in the Constable and Brighton exhibition at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, 8 April – 8 October 2017, Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove Photograph: James Pike Photography

Down on the coast, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery is exploring John Constable’s time spent in the seaside resort between 1824 and 1828. Constable and Brighton (until October 8) features over 60 of Constable’s artworks created during his time in Brighton, including seascapes and landscapes, and also includes some of his personal possessions.

Across the way at the Royal Pavilion , there’s a commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the death of one of the most celebrated Regency authors, with Jane Austen by the Sea (until January 8, 2018). The exhibition explores Austen’s connection with the seaside and features the manuscript for her unfinished novel Sanditon, and Geroge IV’s personal copy of Emma, as well as expels of Regency dress and rare images of Regency Brighton.

At Bexhill’s beautiful modernist De la Warr Pavilion, artist Simon Patterson has curated a journey through the galleries in Safari: An Exhibition as Expedition (until September 3). The exhibition contains takes the visitor on an exploration of items from Hastings Museum and Bexhill Museum, interspersed with the artist’s personal objects and artworks.

In Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, Eric Gill: The Body (until September 3) is a display of over 80 works by talented, and controversial, designer and artist Eric Gill. Gill’s celebrated work is still seen today – his sculptures are on display in powerful and important locations and his font, Gill Sans, is one of the most widely used in the Western World. Despite his success, Gill’s diaries reveal that he would partake in incest and bestiality, and he sexually abused two of his daughters. This show, which focuses on his works of the human figure, asks what effect this knowledge of his private life has on our interpretation of his artwork.

a print of a young man in shorts seated on a quayside

John Minton, Lithograph illustration from Time Was Away, A Notebook in Corsica by Alan Ross

Chichester’s Pallant House Gallery marks the centenary of the birth of an important artist with John Minton: A Centenary (until October 1). A leading, though now often overlooked, figure in20th century British art, Minton taught at several London art schools while also establishing himself as a key figure in the Neo-Romantisism in mid-century Britain. Plagued with depression and struggles with his sexuality, Minton’s tragic story ends in 1957 with his untimely death by suicide.

At the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings – Jean Cooke: Delight in the Thing Seen (until September 10) uncovers the artist’s enviable joy at witnessing everyday scenes. Inspired by the mundane, Royal Academician Cooke’s delightful paintings of portraits, still lifes and landscapes are celebrated as both moving and original.

Over in Eastbourne, Towner Art Gallery has a major exhibition of iconic 20th century artist and designer Eric Ravilious. Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship (until September 17) focuses on the relationships between Ravilious and his contemporaries, including Edward Bawden, Peggy Angus and Paul and John Nash. Split into key moments when the artists were particularly influenced by one another, this exhibition tells the story of this well-known figure, in a new, never-before-seen way.


still life painting of coffee pot, pot and fruit on plate

Edward Le Bas (1904-1966) Still Life with Coffee Pot undated Oil on canvas © The Estate of Edward Le Bas

At The Lightbox in Woking, Is there still life in Still Life? The Ingram Collection (until October 1) looks at the centuries-old tradition of still-life paintings, and examines whether the genre still has a place in art today through modern and contemporary British artworks. Featured artists in this exhibition include sculptor Sir Anthony Caro and painter Mary Fedden.

In the village of Compton sits Watts Gallery Artists’ Village, the home and studio of Symbolist painter George Frederic Watts. Here, they have G F Watts: England’s Michelangelo (until November 26) an exploration of the gallery’s namesake’s most incredible masterpieces. The exhibition reveals the major themes behind Watt’s work, colour, cosmos and celebrity.


In Cookham at the Stanley Spencer Gallery, An Artistic Affair: Stanley Spencer and Daphne Charlton (until October 1) uncovers the painter’s infatuation with the compelling Daphne Charlton – a vivacious character who inspired Spencer after the end of his first marriage. Charlton inspired Spencer with her liveliness and he produced a series of scrapbook drawings of her, which he would refer to until the end of his career. These drawings, along with painted portraits of Charlton reveal this wonderful relationship. 


Canterbury’s The Beaney has the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016 (until October 29) exhibition, which showcases 57 stunning photographic portraits by talented contemporary professionals and amateurs. The exhibition presents a diverse selection of work from artists across the world, from spontaneous and intimate snaps to formal commissioned portraits.

Down in Margate, Every Day is a New Day (until September 24) at Turner Contemporary is a collection of exhibitions celebrating the importance of art in enabling positive change. Work by British sculptor Phyllida Barlow, British-Kenyan painter Michael Armitage and JMW Turner is on display, as the gallery becomes a space for discussion and creativity.

South West


At Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Alternative Visions: Undiscovered Art in the South West (until September 10) showcases work by 20 undiscovered artists from the South West, who use their art as a method of communicating their personal thoughts and experiences. The exhibition, in partnership with inclusive arts charity Outside In, features responses to difficult situations, including isolation, disabilities and health issues.

Spike Island has a major new film commission by London and Beirut based Maeve Brennan. The Drift (until September 17) highlights the urgency of archaeology in the Middle East through three characters – a gatekeeper, an archaeological conservator and a mechanic.


At Bath’s Holburne Museum, Tapestry Here and Now (until October 1) brings together contemporary examples of tapestry, offering a different perspective on the ‘old fashioned’ art. The pieces on show, created by artists from British and international artists, respond to modern themes such as the urban environment, and explore how tapestry can tell personal and political stories.

The Victoria Art Gallery’s, John Eaves: Echoes of Place (until October 8) celebrates a local artist whose vibrant and abstract oil and watercolour paintings and collages are inspired by landscape.


At Plymouth Arts Centre, Finding Fanon Sequence (until September 2) is a film trilogy by artists David Blandy and Larry Achiampong. The collaborative trilogy is focuses on race and identity, specifically the distress caused by colonialism as noted by the 20th century thinker Frantz Fanon.

Peninsula Arts’, Plymouth Contemporary (until September 2) is an open exhibition offering local artists the opportunity to exhibit their work in the gallery. The submissions are selected by a panel of experts, and show local artists’ responses to the subject of ‘Visions’.

At Plymouth City Museum and Gallery (exhibition taking place at the Council House) a local and loved artist is celebrated in Our Beryl: Beryl Cook at Home (until September 9). The exhibition is a display of Cook’s instantly recognisable portraits, each with a joyful sense of humour.


At Bournemouth’s Russell-Coates Art Gallery and Museum, Refracted: Collection Highlights (until September 8) is an exhibition curated by a team of volunteers to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality. Starting wth the rainbow flag – a symbol adopted by the LGBTQ community, the curators have chosen artworks in the collection which respond to themes associated with each colour: sexuality, (pink), life (red), healing (orange), sunlight (yellow), nature (green), magic and art, (turquoise), harmony (blue) and spirit (purple/violet).


an aerial painting showing clouds giving way to glimpses of fields below

Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson, Battlefields of Britain. Government Art Collection

At The Salisbury Museum, British Art: Ancient Landscapes (until September 3) brings together artists’ responses to the Ancient British landscape, focusing on the ancient monuments created by our distant ancestors. The exhibition includes some of the biggest names in British art, including Richard Long, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Constable and Turner.

Swindon Museum and Art Gallery’s, the modern landscape is explored in The Lie of the Land: Exploring Modern British Landscapes from the Swindon Collection (until November 18). It looks at the landscape as an important theme in art, as seen by some top modern artists, including Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Mary Fedden.

At Lacock’s Fox Talbot Museum, the birthplace of photography, there’s Thomas Kellner: Fractured Architecture, Cubist Photographs (until September 24). Kellner uses the medium, whose development was helped greatly by Fox Talbot, to create cubist renditions of buildings and landmarks. By carefully planning and positioning his shots, Kellner creates recognisable but intriguing images which are revealed through the film’s contact sheets.


At The Exchange, down in Penzance  A Certain Kind of Light: Light in Art over Six Decades (until September 23) examines how artists from the 60s onwards have used light in their practice – through sculpture, photography, installation and paintings. The show includes leading artists such as Peter Lanyon, Anish Kapoor and Rut Blees Luxemburg.

Newlyn Art Gallery’s, Craftschool (until September 17) is a participatory exhibition which invites the public to come along and try their hand at heritage crafts, aiming to remind us, as an increasingly consumerist population, that we can make and repair objects with our own hands. Alongside these classes, displays showcase works made by artists in wood, metal and fabric, accompanied by photographs of the makers at work, by Oliver Udy.


Image showing a stegosaurus constructed from found metal objects

Julia Krause-Harder, Stegosaurus Image courtesy of Atelier Goldstein

Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s, Radical Craft: Alternative Ways of Making (until September 2) is an outsider art exhibition that features craft work from makers who see themselves as facing barriers to the art work, either through health problems or social circumstances. The work on display are pieces resulting from creative impulse, with many of the artists on show having no formal training in the arts. The exhibition seeks to challenge our ideas of the ‘typical’ artist, and reconsider who and what belongs on show in the gallery.

At Cardiff’s Chapter, a powerful statement damning the gap between humanity and the powers that govern it lays the groundwork for State of the Nations (until August 27) by collaborative art duo kennardphillipps. The pair create politically-motivated art made for the both the street and the gallery, the web and newspapers.

abstract painting of multiple multi-coloured blobs

Gillian Ayres, Lure, 1963, Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist

Over at National Museum Cardiff, the vibrant abstract paintings of Gillian Ayres (until September 8) go on show in an exhibition celebrating this important 20th century artist. The exhibition looks at Ayres’ connection to Wales and the Welsh landscape and examines how she interpreted the sublime in her own abstract way.

Swansea’s Mission Gallery is celebrating its 40th birthday with Mission is 40 (until September 17). The gallery invited current and past staff and volunteers to curate the exhibition, asking them to select their favourite pieces from the past 40 years.

image of a woman lying in a pool in a black swimsuit

Jo Spence, The Final Project, 1991–92 Courtesy the Estate of Jo Spence and Richard Saltoun Gallery © The Estate of Jo Spence

Elsewhere in Swansea, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery has the touring exhibition IN A DREAM YOU SAW A WAY TO SURVIVE AND YOU WERE FULL OF JOY (until August 28), curated by Turner Prize winning artist Elizabeth Price. The exhibition, which features 70 artists including Jo Spence, Constantin Brancusi and Richard Hamilton, is split loosely into four themes: Sleeping, Working, Mourning and Dancing.

At Ruthin Craft Centre, Narratives in Making (until September 24) brings together exciting and innovative craft by Irish makers showing an excellence in technical skill and craftsmanship. The pieces on display come from the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland’s critical selection, and the exhibition discusses the links between contemporary craft and wellbeing.

Oriel Davies Gallery in Newtown has the Twelve Tall Tales Group Exhibition (until – September 20), which explores how hand-crafted objects can be used in storytelling – taking on fictional, cultural and political narratives. The show includes work by 12 makers and designers.

Over in Carmarthen Oriel Myrddin Gallery, A Darker Thread (until October 21) brings together work from 12 contemporary makers and artists, with the use of thread a uniting feature across the artworks on show. The exhibition takes the idea of thread as a representation of Welsh textile heritage, and highlights the artists use thread and fabric as a medium to create powerful, thoughtful and fragile artworks.

West Midlands

painting of a series of multi-coloured evently-spaced vertical stripes in blue, pink, orange, black and white

Achaean, Bridget Riley, 1981 © Tate, London 2015

In Kineton, situated within a stunning Capability Brown landscape, Compton Verney has Seurat to Riley: The Art of Perception (until October 1), a major exhibition of pattern, pointillism and Op art. The exhibition is a mind-boggling journey through these mesmerising movements to explore and test the relationship between eye and mind.

Over at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, artists respond to the rapid development of technology in I Want! I Want!: Art & Technology (until October 1). Featuring work from the past 20 years – a period which has seen technology improving at breakneck speeds – the exhibition is a multimedia exploration of themes including human behaviour, surveillance and modern society.

At Birmingham’s The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, More Real Than Life (until September 17) is an exhibition of Victorian portrait photography. For the first time, portraits weren’t reserved for just the upper-classes, and there was a surge in the wider public having their images recorded. The exhibition explores early examples of portrait photography, and uncovers the processes and the props used by Victorial celebrities to shape their image.

At mac Birmingham, ARTIST ROOMS: Jenny Holzer (until September 10) brings work by the internationally-acclaimed conceptual art pioneer to the gallery. Holzer uses her painting, projection and LED artworks to communicate important political ideas, with recurring themes of power, war, sex, violence and money. The centrepiece of the show, BLUE PURPLE TILT, is a giant display of LED signs, containing messages from the artist’s politically-charged career.

Elsewhere in Birmingham, IKON celebrates the centenary of important 20th century artist Sidney Nolan (until September 3). The show contains a selection of the Australian-Born artist’s spray-paint portraits dating from the 1980s, featuring a series depicting individuals close to Nolan, including Benjamin Britten, Francis Bacon and the artist’s late brother.

 New Art Gallery Walsall  has a major solo exhibition by experimental artist Rachel Goodyear. Catching Sight (until September 3) celebrates a new body of her enigmatic work, including a brand new sinister installation incorporating projections of hooded figures dancing to a musical score.



photograph of sculpture of yellow and blue string inside brown bottle

Jiro Takamatsu, ‘The String in the Bottle No. 1133’ (1963-85) © The Estate of Jiro Takamatsu. Courtesy Yumiko Chiba Associates / Stephen Friedman Gallery / Fergus McCaffrey

In Leeds, the Henry Moore Institute has an exhibition of work by a Japanese post-war conceptual artist – Jiro Takamatsu: The Temperature of Sculpture (until October 22) is the first solo exhibition of his work outside of Japan. The show features Takamatsu’s conceptual sculptures, which uncover the interplay between presence and absence.

Elsewhere in Leeds, Lotherton Hall has Fashionable Yorkshire: 500 Years of Style (until December 31), a glimpse into the lives of a selection of Yorkshire women through their clothing. The exhibition includes a variety of different classes and eras, from a rich merchant’s daughter in the 1600s to a 1970s art student.

photograph of triptych of orange abstract paintings

Installation image of Howard Hodgkin: Painting India, 1 July – 8 Oct 2017 at The Hepworth Wakefield. Image Guzelian/The Hepworth Wakefield.

Over at The Hepworth Wakefield, Howard Hodgkin: Painting India (until October 8) is a major exhibition of the abstract painter’s works inspired by the people and places of India. Hodgkin, who passed away earlier this year, fell in love with India during his first trip in 1964, and he would return almost every year to seek inspiration from the warm and colourful country.

Elsewhere in Wakefield, the picturesque Yorkshire Sculpture Park has Tony Cragg: A Rare Category of Objects (until September 3), the most comprehensive exhibition to date of the extraordinary sculptor’s work. Cragg is famed for his mastery of materials, and the transformation of materials through industrial processes is an important theme within the former lab-technician’s work.


At Middlesbrough’s modern art institute mima, The Place is Here (until October 8) explores the debates happening between black artists and writers in the 1980s. Shown across mima and the South London Gallery, the exhibition features work by over 20 black artists and collectives, working in the era that saw Margaret Thatcher’s controversial anti-immigration policies as well as the rise of black feminism and apartheid in South Africa.

Scarborough Art Gallery’s, A Day at the Seaside (until September 24) is a major exhibition exploring the quintessential British seaside. The exhibition has a wealth of objects, ephemera and souvenirs showing all the fun of the seaside, including penny lick glasses, posters and holiday fashions. A new film specially made by Yorkshire Film Archive celebrates Scarborough’s place as the UK’s first beach holiday destination through wonderful archive footage offering snapshots into the past.



At Sheffield’s Graves Gallery they are celebrating the return of a major work, Stanley Spencer’s Zacharias and Elizabeth, with An Earthly Paradise: Gardens in Art (until August 12). The exhibition looks at the garden space as a tranquil retreat, a place to play and a play to grow through works selected from the Sheffield and Ruskin collections. An Earthly Paradise features diverse work from artists including Paul Cézanne, Evelyn Dunbar and James Tissot.

Elsewhere in Sheffield at the Millennium Gallery, there is a showcase of work by local artists both established and emerging. Everything Flows (until September 3) features painting, sculpture, photography, video and sound, with all of the pieces having an element of movement.

At Sheffield’s Weston Park, Picturing Sheffield: Rivelin Valley Artists (until November 26) uncovers a group of artists who gathered in Sheffield’s Rivelin Valley to create their work. The beautiful backdrop of the valley, and its industrial heritage, proved a valuable inspiration for these established and unknown painters.

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