Our selection of exhibitions in April, that include both group and solo shows by artists past and present, are thematically linked by the artists’ interest in time and memory: whether it’s Monet’s atmospheric presentations of buildings, Picasso’s processing of his mistress’s illness, The Singh Twins investigating colonial history or Richie Culver’s anecdotal work on his time on Job Seeker’s Allowance.
1) The EY Exhibition: Picasso 1932- Love, Fame, Tragedy
The first exhibition of Picasso’s work to be held at the Tate Modern, Love, Fame, Tragedy takes you through the work Picasso made in his “year of wonders”: 1932. In chronological order, month by month, a 100 paintings, sculptures and drawings, interrupted by family photographs and rare glimpses into his personal life will allow you to see Picasso as an artist and a man in a new and intimate light.
The year 1932 is seen as the year that this giant was at the height of his artist powers producing a huge amount of work that fluctuated between assertive colour filled portraits and surrealist drawings.
The work and narrative of the year is enriched by his personal circumstances during it. While trying to maintain his life with his wife Olga and their 12 year old son Paulo, he had an intense affair Marie-Thérèse Walter who by the end of the year fell ill from swimming in the river Marne and lost most of her hair. Three remarkable paintings of his lover are shown during this exhibition in the March section for the first time — all three of which were created in just 5 days. Highlights include Le Rêve (The Dream) and Jeune fille devant un miroir (Girl before a Mirror).
“It was an extraordinary year for Picasso, even by his own standards. His paintings reached a new level of sensuality and he cemented his celebrity status as the most influential artist of the early 20th century.”
“By showing stellar loans from public and private collections in the order in which they were made, this exhibition will allow a new generation to discover Picasso’s explosive energy, while surprising those who think they already know the artist.’
Showing at the Tate Modern, London until 9th September 2018.
2) The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Monet & Architecture
Monet is known as an artist of the transcendent, the delicate, the mirage— waterlilies, ponds, reflections and giddy colours to see him envelope and reinterpret architecture as pieces of mystical beauty is truly astonishing. Structures are used within his rural landscapes as backbones to add relief, focus and drama whether this is by their angular shapes and forms in contrast to his human organic lines or are used as vehicles to accentuate and emphasise his palette.
With over 80 paintings that depict cities around the world, this exhibition demonstrates his immense talent to turn an unchanging, solid building into something infinitely multiple with limitless, subtle transformations. His ability and dedication to seeing is obvious not just from his moving depictions and descriptions of light and memory but also by his shift in style that mirrors and refines each subject matter.
In a time when we all have access to hard data, where every site and scene can be photographed, to walk among and see pieces of work that tell you more than the average photograph, that give you a flavour of the air the weather, the passage of time and the memory of seeing it, is a wonderful opportunity.
Showing at The National Gallery, London between 9th April and 29th July 2018.
3) The Modern Portrait
Investigating what portraiture now consists of, this display collates key pieces from the Portrait’s twentieth and twenty-first century collection to demonstrate and delight with the variety of styles and subjects that portraiture now takes.
The 60 art works, including paintings, sculpture and other media, are of Famous Scottish figures including James MacMillan, Alan Cumming, Tilda Swinton, Jackie Kay, Andy Murray and Naomi Mitchison.
The portrait featured above is of the acclaimed artist Tilda Swinton and intimately captures her beauty alongside her strength and intelligence. The artist John Byrne who has two children with Swinton uses vibrant chalk in order to impress the diversity of her character.
Showing at National Galleries Scotland, Edinburgh, until 27th October 2019.
4) Kim Dewsbury
Kim Dewsbury’s latest exhibition combines dual elements of still-life and landscape to throw both into relief. Her work is inspired by visits to Yr Ysgwrn, the home of the poet Hedd Wyn who died in 1917 and now the home of his family.
Her work is carefully considered, precise and meticulously achieved giving a pervading sense of the meditative. Each painting’s subjects are curated to represent a set of ideas, each object provides a clue or allusion to create the whole. These paths of meaning and chains of associations allow acts of active imagination while the clarity of each work and the clear skies brace and anchor the viewer to the physicality of the work.
The self-possessed work is able to speak outside itself and be a vehicle for potential.
Showing at Ffin y Parc Gallery, Conwy until 25th April 2018.
5) Sawdust and Sequins: The Art of the Circus
Curators Nathalie Levi and Fiona Robinson have put together this major exhibition which pays homage to the circus as a place of magic and thrills.
Containing historic and contemporary art including the work Sir Peter Blake RWA (Hon), Abigail Lane, Eileen Cooper OBE RA, Beth Carter, PJ Crook MBE RWA, Stephen Jacobson VPRWA and George Tute RWA, as well as new commissions by artists Sadie Tierney, Katharine Jones and Abigail Lane the exhibition depicts the unseen reality of life in the circus from the 1970s to the present day. It also features significant loans from The British Council, Arts Council Collection, Government Art Collection, Royal Academy, Royal College of Art and Leeds Art Gallery of work by ame Laura Knight RA RWA, Edward Seago, Walter Sickert RA, David Bomberg, Duncan Grant RWA, Robert Colquhoun, Thérèse Lessore and several others.
The location of Bristol is not a coincidence with Sawdust and Sequins acting as the flagship for Circus250 – a nationwide celebration of the 250th anniversary of circus. These celebrations will take place in the ‘Six Cities of Circus’ – Bristol, Blackpool, Norwich and Great Yarmouth, Newcastle-under-Lyme, London and Belfast.
Showing at the Royal West of England Academy until 3rd June 2018.
6) Slaves Of Fashion: New Works by The Singh Twins
The Singh Twins’ new work explores the history of Indian textiles in conjunction with that of the British Empire, enslavement, luxury consumerism and the continued relevance of these things currently.
Particularly the work exposes the hidden details of Europe’s colonial past, the legacies it left behind and the current debates about ethical trade and responsible consumerism that are part of the relationship between Britain and India.
With almost 20 new works by The Singh Twins, who are known for their intricate entirely hand painted work that follows the Indian miniature tradition, these new pieces incorporate their usual techniques with digitally created imagery.
These enable a series of digital fabric artworks to be produced which are mounted on light boxes. 11 of these pieces cover individual themes that are part of India’s textile industry, while 9 more paper-based works offer a commentary on trade, conflict and consumerism during the height of the British Empire and during the present day.
This exhibition is a collaboration between National Museums Liverpool, The Singh Twins and Professor Kate Marsh, University of Liverpool. This exhibition is sponsored by Investec Wealth & Investment and contains 40 pieces selected from over 100 objects in the National Museums Liverpool’s collection.
Showing at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool until 20th May 2018.
7) Charles I: King and Collector
Charles I’s art collection demonstrates works that changed the taste of Britain in the 17th century. Now on show for the first time since then, it provides you with the opportunity to see how his taste thematically formed and the work of the masters of the era. It includes pieces by Titian, Mantegna, Holbein, Dürer and work he commissioned by leading contemporary artists such as Van Dyck and Rubens.
After the King was executed in 1649, this stunning collection was broken up, sold and dispersed across Europe. Charles II then attempted to recollect the collection during the restoration to some success while others remain part of museum collections such as in the Louvre and the Prado up to the present day.
This show includes 100 works of an amazing level of variety including classical sculptures, Baroque paintings, exquisite miniatures and monumental tapestries.
Showing at the Royal Academy of Art, London until 15th April 2018.
8) Daniel Crawshaw: New Paintings
Daniel Crawshaw’s work is an ode to the remote landscape of Wales and North Wales. His love for the outdoors and quest for adventure is completely evident in the dramatic and sublime landscapes he both comes across and paints. Working from standard sized photographs taken in situ and then scaling these up and focusing on evocative tonal ranges while in the studio lends these pieces a sense of that they are a metonym for the real experience of standing on a mountain side.
Known as a leading Welsh contemporary landscape artist, Crawshaw has been selected for ‘The National Eisteddfod of Wales’ nine times and has had solo shows in Wales, London and Australia.
Crawshaw describing his own process:
‘In my photo-based landscapes, I am drawn to qualities unique to the medium of painting and its history. To me, a painting is a hand-made object brought in to fruition over time. Once complete it might stand as a testament to its own distillation or achieve a duality where recollection and the apparent immediacy of an image are combined in a single statement. In chromatically sparse renderings of remote terrain, I aim to achieve a sense of monumentality and the ‘sublime’ in works of varying scale. I have a particular approach to my source material, taking my own photographs and looking for common structures in both familiar and strange places – small instances, magnified, adjusted and re-rendered in oil paint. There is a steady methodology to my production – squaring up 5’ x7’ prints, I work logically through the detail, concentrating on recapturing the whole. Maybe the paintings invite the response of a ‘double take’ appearing to be something they are not, suggesting the realm of the sublime.’
Showing at the Martin Tinney Gallery, Wales, until 21st April 2018.
9) Portraits of the Past- The Art of Michael Blackmore
Michael Blackmore, who lived from 1938-2015, was a completely self-taught artist who started his career as a lithographer in the printing industry and went on to become a freelance illustrator who specialised in reconstructing industrial scenes. Blackmore’s illustrative detail serves to present these industrial scenes as quaint and nostalgic scenes, in particular, his palette and use of light serves to uplift and romanticise each scene he describes.
Having lived in Abergavenny for his whole life, he drew inspiration from the industrial archaeology that remains in the region and used thorough research and a close attention to detail in order to revive vividly these long lost activities. His work has been published in several books, guides and brochures.
‘His speciality was the canals of south east Wales and the network of horse drawn railways usually known as tramroads. These connected the ironworks, mines and quarries to the canal. This area includes the Blaenavon industrial World Heritage Site. The region was internationally important during the industrial revolution and the iron produced there was exported around the world.’
Showing at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea, until 24th June 2018.
10) No one knows me like Dawn from the Jobcentre: Richie Culver
This exhibition is Richie Culver’s first solo show in Hull which is where he grew up. It features mainly paintings and focuses on his time spent on Job Seekers Allowance with a humorous and honest depiction of what that actually means. In particular, it presents vignettes of those significant short relationships we form and lose during periods of difficulty or immense struggle. Culver’s work is often personal making references to his working-class roots, metropolitan living and his experience of the dark underbelly of urban life.
Culver is a self-taught artist who has worked as a model, photographer and artist across the globe. His work, as it has developed, has become increasingly abstracted in order to enable him to link many elements if his multi-disciplinary practice within a piece.
Showing at the Humber Street Gallery, Hull, until 27th May 2018.
The image featured at the top is: Anthony van Dyck,
Charles I, 1635-6.
Oil on canvas. 84.4 x 99.4 cm. RCIN 404420. Royal Collection Trust: © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017