A selection of 10 unmissable exhibitions taking place in the UK in January 2017, some of which (on Elisabeth Frink, Keith Tyson and Lubaina Himid) are opening, some of which are about to close their doors. Catch them while you can!
1) Elisabeth Frink: Transformation
This exhibition at Hauser & Wirth Somerset sets pieces from Elisabeth Frink’s sculptural career alongside works on paper. It takes place within the interior gallery spaces and in the Hauser & Wirth grounds at Durslade Farm. Also featured are Frink’s ‘Riace Warriors’, a menacing group of statues inspired by a couple of full-size Greek bronzes from the 5th century BC which were rescued from a shipwreck off Calabria in the early 1970s.
Showing at Hauser & Wirth, Somerset, from 19 January to 7 May 2017.
2) ‘And Then…’: Graduate art from a 50 mile radius of Northampton
The artists featured in this show at NN Contemporary Art all share a connection with the city of Northampton and the surrounding area, though they studied at a range of fine art schools including Oxford, Coventry, Anglia Ruskin, and Birmingham. The works featured in this lively graduate exhibition range from sculptural work to GIFs and oil paintings on canvas.
Showing at NN Contemporary Art from 7 January to 25 February 2017.
3. Keith Tyson: Turn Back Now
Since the late 1990s, the Brighton-based, Turner-Prize-winning artist Keith Tyson has been creating ‘Studio Wall Drawings’. These artworks were initially a space to record inspiration, try out ideas and make notes but, as Tyson explains, he gradually began ‘to think of these drawings more as works in their own right, existing somewhere in-between a sketchbook, a journal, a poem and a painting.’ The exhibition features a selection of these drawings, which chart the progression of his artistic practice over the past 20 years.
Showing at Jerwood Gallery Hastings from 28 January to 4 June 2017.
4. Lubaina Himid: Navigation Charts
Lubaina Himid is a painter, printmaker and installation artist who works in Preston. One theme of her work – evident in this selection of paintings and installations from the late 1990s to the present – is the contribution made by migrants, especially African migrants and slaves, to Western culture and society.
Showing at Spike Island, Bristol, from 20 January to 26 March 2017.
5. John Baldessari: Miro and Life in General
Over the last decade, John Baldessari has created paintings which make explicit reference to the traditions of the Western art-historical canon. These paintings make use of images from fifteenth-century artworks, displaying them alongside contemporary texts from the fields of art history, popular music and film. This new series, entitled ‘Miro and Life in General’, continues this theme by pairing scenes lifted from Miro’s paintings with Hollywood film stills (‘real life’) and a single word such as ‘Reliable’, ‘Necessary’ or ‘True’.
Showing at Marian Goodman Gallery, London, from 10 January to 25 February 2017.
6. Intrigue: James Ensor by Luc Tuymans
This show at the Royal Academy concentrates on the Belgian painter James Ensor, who was born in 1860 and whose precise, garish and satirical paintings and prints won him honour and prominence in the art world of fin de siècle Belgium. Ensor lived in the coastal town of Ostend for his entire life, and it is tempting to link the texture of many of his paintings to the fact that the artist’s grandparents had a shop selling selling curios and knick-knacks there. In the artist’s own words, the establishment was a sort of rag-and-bone shop filled, as are Ensor’s paintings, with ‘seashells, lace, rare stuffed fish, old books, prints, jams, china… an inextricable jumble of assorted objects.’
Showing at the Royal Academy from 29 October 2016 to 29 January 2017.
7. Paul Nash
This exhibition at Tate Britain centres on the British artist Paul Nash, and encompasses most aspects of the artist’s work, from the grand set-piece battle scenes he painted during the Great War, to the late landscapes of the South of England.
Showing at Tate Britain from 26 October 2016 to 5 March 2017.
8. Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery
This exhibition presents a staggering selection of embroidered copes, shoes, bags, palls and coats made in England – mostly in the City of London – from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries. Some of the objects on show are miraculously unscathed; some are damaged or fragmentary. The fourteenth-century Steeple Aston Cope was cut up to furnish an altar around the time of the Reformation, though very little of the garment was lost. A similar fate befell the Tree of Jesse Cope, which was made in London between 1310 – 1325. Many of these embroidered objects were made for export, and are still held in collections across Europe; they join works from the collection of the V&A.
Showing at the V&A until 5 February 2017.
9. Winifred Nicholson: Liberation of Colour
This is one of a series of recent exhibitions focusing on Winifred Nicholson. What sets this one apart is the presence of a number of rarely-seen or unseen paintings (which may have something to do with the fact that the curator is the artist’s grandson, Jovan Nicholson). The works displayed range from early landscapes and still lives to late ‘prismatic paintings’, which the artist created by viewing scenes through a prism in order to reach ‘the luminosity and brilliance of pure colour’.
Showing at the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art until 12 February 2017.
10. Turner in January 2017
This is the Scottish National Gallery’s annual display of Turner watercolours from the Vaughan collection, which were painted by Turner from the 1790s to the 1840s. The works were left to the gallery by the collector Henry Vaughan, with a stipulation that they should be ‘exhibited to the public all at one time, free of charge, during the month of January’, when the light is at its most faint.
Showing at the Scottish National Gallery from 1 January to 31 January 2017.