You can find all of our recommended art exhibitions in August in one place. Below is a list of our 7 must-see art shows for the month, along with a navigation that can take you to smaller weekly listings that are worthy of note, this section is updated with new shows every week. If you want to see exhibitions in London or in your area simply go to our Artist Calendar – let us know about an exhibition using the form at the bottom of that page for the chance to be included in one of our Art Exhibitions on Now posts!
7 Unmissable Art Exhibitions on in August
This month’s art exhibitions not to miss selection focuses on artists and shows that draw out what is the human experience as well as the complexities of feeling. Many of the shows are uncanny in what they expose about us as social groups, how our judgements function, what are our sensations and how scale or that which we can not quite comprehend creeps in and becomes beautiful.
1) BP Portrait Award 2018
Now in its thirty-ninth year, the BP Portrait Award is one of the most highly regarded painting competitions in the world. Every year it champions a vast range of exceptional, international portraits painted and drawn in a myriad of styles – this year it has a total prize fund of £74,000. Since its launch, it has been seen for free by over six million people.
This year we are particularly enthralled by the Second Prize winning painting, ‘Time Traveller, Matthew Napping’ by Felicia Forte. The work highlights the monumental power of background context in a portrait painting, a compositional element that is regularly overlooked. The contrasting colours of the red-bulbed bedside lamp and the blue light from the window create a wonderful sense of intimacy, simultaneously emphasising the vast, warm space of the room enveloping the figure and the close, personal position of the viewer. Despite the minimal detail rendered on the figure, the painting has an intrinsic sense of the closeness that is remarkably difficult to capture in the most traditional of portrait paintings, let alone one that barely shows the sitter’s face.
Visit the BP Portrait Award to view the other works selected from 2,580 entries submitted from around the world.
Showing at National Portrait Gallery, London, between 14th June and 23rd September 2018.
2) Somewhere in Between
This Wellcome Collection’s exhibition focuses on a series of sensory installations that combine art with the latest scientific development, queries and discoveries. It contains four collaborations between artist and scientists on the theme of how artists ‘give shape to the human experience, provoking ideas about our senses, our sexual health, our bodies’ limitations and reflections on our food chain’. All of these have been funded by the Wellcome collection and aims to realign the term ’somewhere in between’ and with the sense that sci-fi art does not have a clearly delineated place. One of the installations, Under by Martine Amati and physiologist Kevin Fong, looks at free diving and how we can explore the limits if bodies along with controlling them. It takes the form of three films on three walls after a walk through a darkened corridor suggesting and imposing the sense of a descent into a water tank.
Each of the films involve only one breath and a descent in the Red Sea, the lyrical power of the divers at times is juxtaposed with them being light vulnerable and seeming to undergo a sea change.
Sensorium Tests and At The Threshold explore human experiences. Made by Daria Martin they look at ‘mirror-touch synaesthesia’ the neurological phenomenon whereby a person and feel another’s sensations of touch with their own body. These films reach an intensity that borders on white noise. And create, like Under, an intensely human feeling that also appears distracted, removed and almost uncanny.
Sire by Maria Mckinney is a large series of photographs of bulls mimicking nineteenth century livestock paintings and influenced by modern genetics used in our current livestock farming. These bulls are presented side-on with large structures on their backs which are made from artificial insemination straws along with a traditional corn-weaving technique, used originally for objects of pagan fertility festivals. Together the images contains the structures tell a narrative of human manipulation: the breeding of cattle to have desired characteristics.
The fourth exhibition is Alien Sex Club by John Walter it investigates and meditates on the changing attitudes to HIV as it has become from a terminal illness a manageable condition with a standard life expectancy when treated. The installation features a maze that appears like a gay club or cursing ground complete with neon lights, sounds and psychedelic images. However it contains conversations focused on the response to HIV by the different worlds of medical science, drugs and gay culture.
‘Expect to be bombarded by surreal films, cartoonish drawings of penises, stylised images and models of the HIV virus, a wall of Tarot cards featuring pop icons like Zombie Boy and Breaking Bad’s Walter White and variations on Caravaggio’s Boy with a Basket of Fruit which replace the fruit with pills, giant sperm, condoms and blown-up cells. ’
This HIV themed maze in it’s existence as a bright, optimistic, enquiring space demonstrates powerfully that change in the last 30 years of how campaigns and medical research has changed HIV from a living nightmare and death sentence to a separate complicated condition that has a culture that uniquely belongs to it.
This interesting and curious exhibition brings together, like life, disparate parts and asks the viewer to interact, feel and approach each with an interest and an attitude that is truly human. This combination shows the extent to which sic-art can be pushed and what it can achieve.
Showing at Wellcome Collection, London until 27th August 2018.
3) Michael Jackson: On the Wall
Marking what would have been Michael Jackson’s 60th birthday on August 29th, ‘On the Wall’ at the National Portrait Gallery displays of some 100 works of art depicting the many sides of the complex, controversial and incredibly talented musician and artist. Nicholas Cullinan, the gallery director, explains the exhibition has a tender, celebratory feel to it: “This is not about trying to dissect someone’s life and character. It’s about him as an artist.”.
A fabulous collection of artists have been brought together to create a multifaceted dialogue stemming from many opposing perspectives – political pieces by artists such as Andy Warhol and Grayson Perry, that use Michael Jackson as a concept, sit alongside portraits Michael commissioned of himself, such as Kehinde Wiley’s depiction of him as Philip II of Spain on horseback. Graffitied, heafty photo-collages referencing Jackson’s potential Messiah complex by Isa Gengken contrast Maggie Hambling’s raw, quiet portrait of Michael appearing “vulnerable and alone” outside the courthouse during his misconduct trial in 2004 (he was acquitted), a painting that was rejected by the Royal Academy after claims that other artists refused to be near it.
The exhibition celebrates Michael Jackson’s undeniable genius, mimics the endless juxtapositions that enveloped him in the media and holds space for the complex malaise, change, vulnerability and loneliness that the singer-songwriter experienced. In the words of Maggie Hambling: “Why shouldn’t Michael Jackson change the colour of his skin and dress as he did? This exotic soul, who was persecuted and misunderstood, and clearly a genius… It’s a great idea to have this show and reinstate Jackson where he belongs: as an icon and a hero and an extraordinary human being.”
Showing at the National Portrait Gallery, London until 21st October 2018.
4) Madi Acharya-Baskerville, Anna Jung Seo, Playpaint, David Sullivan ‘The Value of Nothing’
This is a show of four artists and their approach to Wilde’s epigram about his own shortcomings.
‘What is a cynic?’
‘A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.’
They show it’s subversion and demonstrate the implied opposite that we should know the value of everything and that the price is infact immaterial.
By focusing on the current art market the work is put into higher relief. The commercial art world now has a certain known price on everything. With some of the old masters being far cheaper, if that term is even valid, than a modern work by Jeff Koons or a Lucian Freud. While artists of the past dealt with and struggled with their parents history and their inherited world the purpose of the work by these artists seems directly in conflict to work before that was purely aesthetic and appears to be not worth the time of looking for some modern critics but again the actual price is high.
The art world through these mechanisms begins to splinter into two camps that of ‘look-at-me’ art and ‘look-at-this’ art which requires being shown and having social status to be valued.
Each of the four artists take different routes to demonstrate their individual perspectives of how to value both art and the world outside of a financial remit. Anna Jung Seo’s presents an everyday view with glimpses of the inevitable weirdness of life. David Sullivan’s work in contrast is political using found imagery to question and emphasis lived experience. Playpaint demonstrates the processes of repetition and optical effects that can vary in different works producing abstractions and subverting each process gradually. Madi Acharya-Baskerville’s work is sculptures made from found objects and scraps of fabric revitalising them and making them shockingly new and strange.
All the artists’ work has a shocking element from nightmare anecdotes, a focus on wartime torture and injected, fracturing that is jarring to working in a disturbingly uncomfortable, tiny scale. This collection of work supposedly subverts the need for up to date, newness, hot topicness that can appear to govern the art world, particularly its finances and supplies and demands, instead it quietly shows how a keen focus and a close eye can make work have a price that is immeasurable and a value that is simultaneously equal to ‘nothing’ but encompasses everything.
Showing at Studio 1.1 Gallery, London between 3rd August and 26th August 2018.
5) Alison Wilding: Right Here and Out There
This exhibition flows from both within the gallery to outside of it placing the gorgeous sculptures reflecting on landscape and light with the gallery taking part of the exhibition.
Wilding’s beautiful abstract work uses a dynamic combination of contrasting materials such as neoprene rubber, translucent acrylic, alabaster and steel that Wilding uses to explore how we perceive and the complexity that process. It directly responds to the surrounding landscape and shows work from the 1980s up to the present day.
The curator Rosie Cooper on the exhibition:
“The sculptures give off a sense of time and space crumpled, a collapse that pushes us into the present, directly. Ancient and modern materials collide, drawing out streams of consciousness.”
Several of the pieces feature translucent areas such as Red Skies 1992 shown above this makes the changing natural light in the gallery an active participant in the work, bringing the sculptures to life and emphasising different elements. Each of the works seems visceral and almost animal in their stance and material giving the sense that the gallery itself is blooming or inhabited by strange beautiful creatures, part landscape part beast.
The whole show with its alignment with the natural and artificial world seems to be a work of magic some trick of alchemy whereby Wilding has extracted the essence of how the natural world exists and slips past the human world leaving cryptic glimpses for us to enjoy and unravel.
Showing at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea until 16th September 2018.
6) Edwin G.Lucas: An Individual Eye
Edwin G. Lucas (1911-1990) is one of the Surrealist influenced artists of the 20th century. Brought up and worn in Edinburgh his painting during the 40s and 50s became increasingly unique and imaginative incorporating strange angles and tones as well as a distinctive, thematic style, however his work still remains virtually unknown.
An Individual Eye seeks to place him in an appropriate canon, showing over sixty artworks it explores for the first time this unusual and mysterious artist’s life and career.
It additionally demonstrates how the ebb and flow of his work changed during the war years as well as these pieces gaining an important added significance. While by 1940 or 1941 his ‘flirtation with Surrealism’ had ended, its affect on his work obviously remained incredibly strong and important.
A particular highlight is the piece Caley Station, Edinburgh, 1942, Oil on Canvas which shows an outlined red self-portrait as well as a bright interior of the station and was the first of Lucas’s work to enter a public collection.
There will also be an illustrated catalogue to accompany the exhibition written by Helen E. Scott and published by Sansom & Co available from August 2018.
Showing at the City Art Centre, Edinburgh between 4th August to 10th February 2018.
7) Kizuna: Japan / Wales / Design
‘Kizuna’, translating to ‘bonds of friendship’, is an exhibition that celebrates how Japanese culture and design has captured and influenced the rest of the world and how Wales specifically played its own distinctive part in this fascinating story of intentional exchange.
This is fantastic opportunity to view major works from national Japanese museums which have never been seen in the UK before. Magnificent ornate screens painted with landscapes, measuring more than 1.6m high by 3.6m long, are displayed alongside four hundred year old painted hand scrolls which were the forerunners of modern animation. Paintings, drawings and woodblock prints are intersected with beautiful costumes, ceramic jars and lacquer ware to give an impressive sense of the heritage of Japanese design, showing its evolution throughout different mediums and functions.
The exhibition has been organized jointly by National Museum Cardiff, the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan, and the National Museum of Japanese History with special cooperation from the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. You can view their exhibition catalogue here.
Showing at National Museum Cardiff, Cardiff until 9th September 2018.
Interesting Upcoming Artist Shows on this Month:
This is a selection of UK art exhibitions, including group, solo, artist-led and gallery curated shows, that we think are interesting or unusual in some way. We update this section every week so you know the exhibitions to see now. Formally, we presented this information as our Current Events weekly blog posts. If you want to submit your own, follow the link at the bottom of this section.
Exhibitions on in the First Week of August
Urban Angles: Exploring the ever-changing spirit of the city
31 July – 12 August 2018
The artistic heritage of a city is created and shaped by the artists who live and work there. Urban Angles reveals the city as a hub which enables the cross-pollination of multiple ideas and cultures.
In the same way that the city provides each individual with the anonymity to be themselves, Urban Angles offers each artist within the collective, the opportunity to present and express their unique and individual perspective of the urban environment.
Images of structure, geometry, reflection, shadow, intrigue and transience provide the essence for the exhibition. As with other Espacio exhibitions, all the artists are actively involved with the gallery and many will be available each day for a friendly chat about their work.
We invite you to join us on a fascinating journey of discovery revealing the artists’ unique experiences of the city as site, subject and inspiration for their work.
Vera Akotuah, Mavis Barber, Terry Beard, Jett Burns,
Christine Calow, Jacqueline Ennis-Cole, Marguerite Knight,
Simon Kloss, Georgina Talfana, Harvey, Lisa Kreuziger,
Charles McLaren, Tina Viljoen, Carole Thomas
Curated by Carlos de Lins
159 Bethnal Green Road
London E2 7DG
(Just off Brick Lane in East London)
Homegrown: Emma Howell
3 August – 17 August 2018
Emerging British artist Emma Howell creates paintings that explore and reveal new methods of observation and perception. Following the death of her father in 2016, Emma detached herself from a world she deemed dark and heavy, resulting in a tainted grasp of reality. Her desperate need to heal encouraged her to regrow and nurture a new relationship with nature and society. And by looking, listening, feeling and painting, Homegrown came to light and unfolds 18 months of her healing.
The 30 colourful paintings in the exhibition are there to take you on your own visual adventure and to introduce you to a new perspective. An energetic, coiled mark could be a brisk wind or a complex conversation. An expanse of colour is to catch your attention, stimulate mood or to explore a particular setting – perhaps sea, land or sky. Repeated lines act as a reflective exercise, feelings of humdrum or the structure of an environment – like the gush of a river, a row of hedges or the curve of a cliff face. By viewing the work, Emma is taking you where she’s been and showing you how she sees it, feels it and hears it.
448 High Street,
28 July – 8 September 2018
‘ “Night gives us the space for things to happen in. Once we pass through twilight into darkness, edges blur; we lose the sense of things. We start to question what is in front of us; we become aware of darkness’ ability to multiply risk. The fear of getting caught. Within the depths of darkness we are continually in doubt. Our vision becomes searching, figures and forms appear and disappear in the shadows. Artists often utilise this area of confusion to draw out forms and ideas, like finding a figure within an abstract painting”
Mission Gallery is pleased to present LLE, an artist-led curatorial project with a focus on contemporary painting. From a base in Wales they aim to showcase their artists via projects, international art fairs and exhibitions.
Lack of light has been a constant feature in the creation of artwork, from the earliest cave paintings through to the works of Rembrandt, and later Walter Sickert. Within this show LLE bring together contemporary works that reach into the darkness, questioning how the lack of light affects the work and what this means to the viewer.
Nightswimming has been programmed in association with the BEEP Painting Biennial, which profiles vibrant contemporary painting and takes place at venues across Swansea throughout the summer. Talks, workshops and other related activities will be programmed for its duration to complement the exhibition.’
Simon Bayliss / Lindsey Bull / Martyn Cross / Gordon Dalton / Lara Davies / Tom Down / Tamara Dubnyckyj / Robbie Fife / Rebecca Gould / Marielle Hehir / Aly Helyer / Linda Hemmersbach / Dan Howard-Birt / Richard James / Iwan Lewis / Jonathan Lux / James Moore / Hannah M Morris / Philip Nicol / Tom Pitt / Ben Risk / Ben Sadler / Toby Ursell / Casper White / Ellie Young
Tim Stoner ‘works on paper 2013-18’
13 July – 11 August, 2018
Modern Art are pleased to announce a solo exhibition of works on paper by Tim Stoner. This is his second solo exhibition with the gallery.
‘works on paper 2013-18’ includes a body of drawings and paintings on paper made throughout the past five years between Stoner’s studios in Bethnal Green, London and Ronda, Spain.
Affording a lightness and mobility, the materiality of paper serves the practical needs of Stoner’s process, as well as allowing for a shift in his subject matter. Some of these works are conceived on the move, away from the studio, akin to diaristic recollections of the specific environments where Stoner lives. Whether the vast natural architecture of the Andalucían mountains, or people inhabiting the cafés of Whitechapel they expose a complex relationship to the artist’s identity; painting as a local within his familiar urban comfort zone, or as a rural outsider seeking a different pictorial radiance within nature.
In all of Stoner’s works, motifs are arranged and rearranged, figures are drawn and redrawn, as if in search of an ideal pattern of forms with which to represent the dynamic of a landscape, an interior, or a community remembered.
Despite their itinerant quality, Stoner’s works on paper still contain within them the methodical workings that characterise his large-scale paintings. In some cases, parts of the surface are removed so that the paper’s natural illumination interplays with the shadow of the scene, while in others, colour is used with intensity. As the rhythm of light emphasises time and season, the emotional contact with the subject is reduced into its most elemental aspects.
Tim Stoner was born in 1970 and grew up in London. He lives and works in London and Ronda, Spain. Stoner studied at Norwich School of Art and Design (1989-1992), the Royal College of Art, London (1992-1994), the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam (1997-1998), and attended the British School at Rome (2001). Tim Stoner was the winner of the 2001 ICA Futures prize.
50-58 Vyner Street
Ally Mcintyre: Beautiful Contradictions
24 July – 24 August 2018
A solo exhibition of Ally Mcintyre’s lovely work.
Palm Tree Gallery
291 Portobello Road,
24 July – 16 August 2018
‘This Summer, discover a wonderful range of paintings by Peter Stiles. The exhibition features an eclectic mix of images from Plymouth Lido sparkling in the sunshine and charity shop windows, to kitchens, hallways, waterfalls and rock pools. Stiles creates paintings which commemorate lost events and feelings by transforming them into something else – akin to planting a tree among the ashes of someone you love.
The paintings of his sink and washing machine were made after the death of a close friend who came back in order to clean his house from top to bottom whilst he slept (sadly only a dream), another commemorates a half brother he didn’t know existed, but who only made contact six months before he died of a brain tumor. Other paintings simply depict the transience of a summer’s day, a day that recedes further into the distance with every second that passes.
This year he began to wear glasses which allowed him to see detail again, from the wrinkles on his face to the insects on the houseplants. And his renewed enjoyment of simply looking at things has suggested new subject matter for his paintings.
The guiding principle in putting together a picture is always an emotion. It is emotion that unifies all the separate elements of the painting and which guides the selection of the different items that are displayed in the paintings of a charity shop window, It’s the same process by which the colours and shapes that make up an abstract painting are chosen.’
Plymouth, Devon PL1 4EL
Exhibitions on in the Middle of August
Luiz Zerbini: Intuitive Radio
8th June – 19th August
‘Luiz Zerbini is one of Brazil’s most established contemporary artists, known for his vivid works on canvas which range from abstract paintings through to landscapes, cityscapes, and domestic scenes. For his first solo show in a UK public institution, Zerbini’s large-scale paintings which reference modernist architecture, contemporary culture and elements from the natural environment are presented with a series of abstract works on canvas, positioned around a sculptural centre-piece. The exhibition also includes Zerbini’s 35mm film and slide works.’
South London Gallery
65–67 Peckham Road
London SE5 8UH
Off the Wall
10th August – 9th September
‘This annual summer exhibition is an opportunity for the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Society of Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers to exhibit together and create a dynamic, ever-changing display of paintings and original prints. All works are sold ‘off the wall’ at the point of purchase.’
48 Hopton Street
London SE1 9JH
Master Graphics – The Art of Printmaking
30 Jun 2018 – 04 Sep 2018
‘Halcyon Gallery presents Master Graphics – The Art of Printmaking, a rare and insightful collection of works on paper. Featuring art by the leading artists of the twentieth century, this exhibition is a must-see for art lovers and collectors alike.
Master Graphics – The Art of Printmaking encompasses works from practitioners on both sides of the Atlantic. Important works by Henri Matisse, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso are displayed alongside the early Pop protagonists Lichtenstein, Haring and Warhol. From etchings to aquatints, lithographs, carborundum prints and portfolios, Master Graphics is a vivid and exciting culmination of the very best printmaking on display in Halcyon Gallery.
Since the 16th century, printmaking has held an exceptional place in art history and prints now play a major contribution to museum collections and retrospective exhibitions. Master Graphics – The Art of Printmaking conveys the progression in time of prints – through the delicacy and depth of tone, variation in colour, diversity of line and the emotion conveyed. With a specialised knowledge of the art market and a passion for printmaking, Halcyon Gallery have extensively researched and acquired particular and sought-after editions. Master Graphics – The Art of Printmaking offers a rare opportunity to view an integral piece of an artist’s oeuvre and explore collections of remarkable art.
* From August 4th the exhibition will be presented on the lower ground floor.’
144-146 New Bond Street
Summer Show at Jealous
2nd August – 2nd September 2018
For one month, Jealous North and East will be exhibiting a wide range of framed screenprinted editions by a wide variety of their contemporary artists including Charming Baker, Magda Archer, Ben Eine, Jess Wilson, Dave Buonaguidi, Joe Webb and many more.
Jealous Gallery East
53 Curtain Road,
London EC2A 3PT
Scott Miles: Recent Paintings
16 July – 16 September 2018
A solo presentation of 20 paintings
in Soho hosted by The Farm Group
William Blake House
8 Marshall St
W1F 7BD, London
14-19 August 2018
Private View: Thursday 16 August 6-9pm
‘Human – What makes us who we are and what distinguishes us from other living organisms? One way of examining this is to consider the different and natural ways that we think, feel and act regardless of cultural context.
The artists have explored the diverse elements of human identity, consciousness, spirituality, physicality, emotion and behaviour and have interpreted them using their own vision, understanding, feeling and experience.
Come and see the results of their exploration in a variety of media.
Michele Ashby, Mark Barrable, Justin Berry, Hilary Boardley,
Alice Campos, Jenna Fox, Arina Gaisryte, Ronald Hernandez,
Eva Merendes, Laurence Morgan, Simon North, Luis Rubim,
Yago Ruiz, Jenny Timmer, Mark Barry Timmins,
Keith West, Thomas Young
Curated by Carlos de Lins’
159 Bethnal Green Road,
London, E2 7DG
Contemporary Masters of Printmaking group
17 August – 31 August 2018
Contemporary Masters of Printmaking at Blue House Gallery, Schull, Cork, features works by David Begley, Grainne Cuffe, Jean Bardon, Yoko Akino, Ruth O’Donnell and Marta Wacula-Mack.
Blue House Gallery
Co. Cork, Ireland
Scenius: Bunker Gallery: Catflap
16 August – 22 September 2018
To launch Bunker Gallery (formerly Sloe) the Catflap Collective are taking over PS Mirabel and the basement to present a group show of selected artists. The Catflap Collective are a group of recent art graduates from MMU who will be taking over the Mirabel basement space and curating a programme of shows over the coming 12 months. We are very excited about the freshly named Bunker and hope you will join us and get your first taste of this new project. The Catflap collective are Stephen Barr, Ryan Brown, Ellis Edwards, gwen Evans, Bel Holland, Arthur Simons, Olly Stapleton and Katie Tomlinson.
14/20 Mirabel Street
The Art of Inside Out
16 August – 22 August 2018
East Anglian based artists use a variety of disciplines to explore both the interior and exterior worlds we inhabit and our responses to what we see and feel.
“There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others who, thanks to their art and intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.” Pablo Picasso
After their successful “Coastlands” Exhibition last summer at The Aldeburgh Gallery, seven Artists from CO3 Studios are delighted to return to Aldeburgh in August 2018 with their latest art show ‘The Art Of Inside Out’.
Visitors to the Aldeburgh High Street Art Gallery, can expect a wonderful range of painting styles which interpret what lies within and without. All art works are original yet affordable.
Angella Horner FRSA
The Aldeburgh Gallery,
143 High Street
Suffolk IP15 5AN
Sunny Side Up
13 August – 14 September 2018
Celebrating summer with sculpture and works on paper by Gallery Pangolin’s gallery artists, including two newly-issued coloured prints from the Terence Coventry Estate which are exclusive to Gallery Pangolin.
9 Chalford Ind. Estate
If you want to find out about more exhibitions that are on near you, or if you are feeling inspired to try something new, search our Exhibition and Artist Opportunity Calendar by region to find an event for you.
Let us know about your exhibition by filling out the form at the bottom of the page and we may include it in one of our Art Exhibitions on Now posts.
all images are copyright of the artist