Private View held by Richard Andrews
Embracing The Exotic: Jacob Epstein And Dora Gordine provides an opportunity to view the work of two contrasting, British based emigre sculptors, Jacob Epstein, and his lesser known female contemporary, Dora Gordine.
Comprising more than 40 sculptures and drawings, alongside ethnographic pieces that inspired them, this exhibition examines how Epstein and Gordine both responded to, and were inspired by, non-western cultures in much of their work, despite their radically different working methods. Epstein, one of the most significant figures in British sculpture in the first half of the twentieth century, was a great admirer of African and Oceanic sculpture. This 'primitive' influence, linked to his revival of the methods of direct carving, and his contact with the Paris artists Brancusi and Modigliani, is obvious in sculptures. It is also apparent in his often-explicit drawings and carvings on themes of fertility and birth. Epstein's preference for models of non-European origin was often controversial during his lifetime, but resulted in some of his most striking pieces. Dora Gordine, a self taught sculptor, designer, collector and society figure, began her career in Paris, where she was encouraged by Maillol, and travelled widely, concentrating from the outset on models of non-European origin. Her first solo exhibition in London included heads of Indian, Chinese, Cingalese, Javanese, Malay, Iranian and Greek models. Highlights here include her bronze bust 'The Chinese Philosopher' and the lifesize 'Javanese Dancer'. This is a rare opportunity to see Gordine's unjustly neglected work. Ben Uri Gallery,108A Boundary Road, London NW8, 020 7604 3991, until 19th March.
The Greatest Fairy Tale: The Amazing Life And Story Of Hans Christian Andersen celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth one of the world's greatest storytellers, whose repertoire most famously includes The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling and The Emperor's New Clothes. The exhibition is a journey through Andersen's life, fairy tales and artistry, using the magic of his stories. Blending narrative, interactive and media-based installations, it presents the author's life in a sequence of six thematic stages, from childhood to world wide fame, revealing how some of his most famous tales have their origins in his own nature and experiences. The dramatised voice of Hans Christian Andersen provides a guide through the exhibition, as he reflects upon his life and the events that shaped his work and his famous fairy tales. The storyline is supported by a unique collection of personal artefacts and manuscripts - the largest collection of original Andersen objects ever to leave Denmark. The exhibition also includes the Fairy Tale Factory, a series of creative activity stations, where visitors can create their own fairy tales; The Never-Ending Inspiration, a collection of significant illustrations and unique works of art inspired by Andersen's famous fairy stories; and The Legacy of Hans Christian Andersen, an assessment of how his fairy tales continue to be a source of inspiration to others, including film makers, artists and writers. City Art Centre, Edinburgh until 23rd April.
Diann Bauer - bludgeonerator is a new monumental piece by the American born but London resident artist, whose works bring together violent images from a number of diverse cultures to create large scale paintings and installations. The integration of varied visual styles in Bauer's work generates a sense of confusion and dissolution between space, object and subject, suggesting a narrative that seems graspable, but is just out of reach. Combining source material from nineteenth century Japanese woodcuts, European Baroque painting and experimental contemporary architecture, Bauer creates a swirling visually complex representation of space, time and movement. She presents spectacle, and her images - not for the faint hearted - feature Samurai warriors and fire breathing dragons fighting battles against apocalyptic backgrounds of atomic clouds and nuclear explosions, represented in her characteristic colours of tangerine, petrol blue, black and white. This new work comprises a large, elaborately detailed wall drawing, executed on aluminium panels forming a wall that cuts into the gallery space. By blurring the boundaries of where the work ends and the gallery space begins, it plays with expectations of the distinction between the work and the built environment. This is Bauer's first solo show in a publicly funded London gallery. The Showroom, 44 Bonner Road, London E2, 020 8983 4115, until 12th March.
Royal Court Theatre: A Celebration Of Fifty Years features photographs of actors, directors and writers who have enjoyed a close association with the company renowned for its commitment to new writing and for premiering some of the seminal plays of the last fifty years. Among the classic studies are the first artistic director George Devine by Ida Kar, John Osborne by Mark Gerson, Harold Pinter and Glenda Jackson by Bill Brandt, Jonathan Pryce by Snowdon, Arnold Wesker by Cecil Beaton, Joe Orton by Lewis Morley and Sophie Okenedo by Sal Idriss. Alongside are photographs by F H Evans and Alvin Langdon Coburn of some of those who contributed to the history of the Royal Court in earlier years, including Harley Granville Barker and Lillian Mccarthy.
The Royal Ballet At 75 is a companion display marking the anniversary of the formation of Britain's national ballet company. It comprises some of the key figures who shaped the company and influenced British ballet since 1930. These include the founder Ninette de Valios and Lilian Baylis (who provided the company with its first home) by de Valios's brother Gordon Anthony, choreographer Frederick Ashton by Angus McBean, musical director Constant Lambert by Yvonne Gregory, and dancers Margot Fonteyn by Yousuf Karsh, Rudolf Nureyev by Cecil Beaton, Alicia Markova by Dorothy Wilding, Wayne Sleep and Irek Mukhamedov by Alan Bergman, and Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope by Jillian Edelstein.
National Portrait Gallery until July.
Moonrise Over Europe: JC Dahl And Romantic Landscape features 'moonlights' by the Norwegian artist Johan Christian Dahl, one of the 19th century's foremost landscapists, his predecessors and contemporaries, including the great German Romantic Caspar David Friedrich. Dahl was fascinated by the theme of moonlight and this exhibition has as its centrepiece his 'Mother and Child by the Sea', a highly atmospheric oil painting showing a woman and her infant looking out over the moonlit water as a small boat carrying the child's father makes its way to the dark and rocky shore. The exhibition sets the painting in context with Dahl's work as a whole, and his development as a painter of 'moonlights', while studying his relationship to Friedrich, whose work has often overshadowed Dahl's. It also explores the fascination with moonlight that came to preoccupy Romantic artists in Europe during the period from the mid 18th to mid 19th centuries, including Friedrich, and such masters of the night as Carl Gustav Carus, Wright of Derby, John Russell, JMW Turner, Jean-Francois Millet, Claude-Joseph Vernet, Honore Daumier and Samuel Palmer, all of whom are represented here. This unusual exhibition offers a unique chance to see some haunting examples of Romantic landscape that have not been shown in Britain before. The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham until 23rd April.
Prefabulous London explores how a new wave of modern house types may make living in a box desirable, by showcasing the modules, pods and panels that are transforming perceptions of factory-built living. From pre-assembled, fully-fitted, transport-ready house modules, to flat-pack kit homes from well-known retailers such as the German Hufhaus, modern methods of construction are increasingly being applied by developers to create contemporary, affordable and sustainable homes. The display shows how existing London housing projects from the pioneering Murray Grove to futuristic new concepts of compact-living can remove the stigma surrounding traditional prefabs, and help towards meeting the demand for an additional 32,000 new homes in the capital per year. Starting with 'A for Affordability' through 'M for Modular' to 'Z for Zero defects', the exhibition examines the implications of these innovative methods of housing construction and component manufacture. Through partnerships between manufacturers, architects and housing associations, new methods of construction are maximising design, finishes and performance to reflect higher consumer expectations and greater demands for energy efficiency. The display shows that, from demountable homes providing temporary low cost housing, to liftable, individual roof-top extension modules solving problematic access, the applications of off-site construction are broad, and have the ability to tackle many issues of modern city living. New London Architecture at the Building Centre, London until 18th March.
Dan Flavin: A Retrospective is the first comprehensive exhibition of the work of one of the most innovative figures in 20th century art, who made pieces using fluorescent light, becoming a key exponent of minimalism. The exhibition brings together over 60 light works from the 1960s to the 1990s, more than half of which are being shown in Britain for the first time. At the heart of Flavin's artistic project was the transformation of mass produced, commercially available fluorescent light tubes into works of surprising intensity and beauty. Using what appear to be very limited materials - standard two/four/six/eight foot strip lights, in less than a dozen basic colours - Flavin created an extraordinarily diverse body of work, each piece possessing its own subtle, expressive power. A pioneer of installation or 'situational' art, as he called it, Flavin described these light sculptures as 'structural proposals', relating their forms, colours and textures to the particular surroundings in which he placed them. This exhibition charts the development of Flavin's practice over his thirty year career, beginning with his 1961 experiments with electric light and painted constructions, known as the 'icons', and his first work in fluorescent light alone, the diagonal of May 25, 1963, with diverse works including corner pieces, corridors, barriers and room size installations. There are also are a selection of rare sketches, drawings, and early collage constructions in which Flavin explored his ideas. Hayward Gallery until 2nd April.
Visions Of The Low Countries: A Golden Age Of Dutch And Flemish Art brings together rarely seen works by some of the most highly skilled (but less well known) artists of the 16th and 17th centuries, including Jan Van Goyen, Joos de Momper II, Aert van der Neer and David Teniers the Younger. The exhibition focuses on naturalistic landscapes and seascapes, with moody highly dramatic weather effects, and scenes depicting the everyday lives of Dutch and Flemish people. These beautiful and intricately detailed paintings reflect the flourishing cultural scene in the Low Countries, fuelled by an expansion of trade and the resulting boom in the art market, as the new middle class became patrons. The period marked a major cultural shift away from mythological and religious subjects and towards a concentration on mankind's place within the natural, material and social environment.
Another Land is a contrasting and complementary display of photo-works by Nicky Coutts, inspired by the medieval Flemish painter Hieronymus Bosch. Coutts has digitally removed all the blessed and damned protagonists from three of Bosch's best known paintings, 'The Garden of Earthly Delights', 'The Temptation of St Anthony' and 'The Last Judgement', leaving only the background, thus turning them into landscapes, littered with abandoned belongings.
Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield until 1st April.
Wild Life Photographer Of The Year reveals the splendour, drama and variety of life on earth, as captured by entrants in the largest and most prestigious wildlife photography competition in the world. It showcases winning and highly commended submissions to the 22nd annual event, which aims to find the best wildlife and nature pictures taken by photographers worldwide of all ages, both proferssional and amateur. The 84 images on display were chosen as the most expressive and creative from almost 17,000 entries from over 55 countries. Highlights include the almost abstract shot of a swirling flock of starlings evading a predatory peregrine falcon, by Overall Winner Manuel Presti from Italy; the Young Winner's picture, capturing an inquisitive jay perched on a snowy pine branch, by Jesse Ritonen from Finland; the Innovation Award Winner, a reflection of trees and the rays of summer sun in a tranquil river, by Michel Loup from France; the view from a snow capped mountain ridge to the fire scarred valley below hit by the last rays of the setting sun, by Adam Gibbs from Canada; and a volcano spewing out a river of orange lava against the night sky in Tanzania's Rift valley, by Oliver Grunewaldt from France. Photographic enthusiasts will find all the technical details of the camera, lens, shutter speed and film used alongside the images. Natural History Museum until 23rd April.
Watercolours By David Hockney - Midsummer: East Yorkshire 2004 comprises a series of 36 watercolours presented as a single work, painted in one creative burst during July and August 2004, around the time of his 67th birthday. For Hockney, they are a return to his roots, capturing the countryside that he first got to know intimately in his childhood and in his teenage years, and are tinged with nostalgia and memories of family and friends no longer living. Painted both plein-air and from the front seat of his car, they celebrate summer through roadside scenes, harvested fields, moorland views, townscapes such as seaside Bridlington, and the jungle garden at Burton Agnes. Their styles vary dramatically - some are executed in minute detail, while others are little more than sketches. From March 2002 through to early 2005 Hockney concentrated almost exclusively on watercolour, a currently unfashionable medium, and one with which he had previously only briefly experimented. However, Hockney determined to explore its possibilities with the same enthusiasm with which he had previously launched into other media. The resulting paintings are hung together on one wall, in six rows of six sheets each, so that the whole series can be apprehended in a 'sweep of vision' as a single work, offering spectators multiple views of a whole, rather than a series of individual subjects. The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House until 19th February.
A Gardener's Labyrinth: Portraits Of People, Plants And Places displays recent photographs by Tessa Traeger and Patrick Kinmonth of over 50 British horticulturalists and their work. The Garden Proposed examines the attitudes and inspirations that inform contemporary garden design, from the gardens of Dan Pearson and Penelope Hobhouse to the new developments in British land art and the work of Ian Hamilton Finlay and Andy Goldsworthy. The Garden Described features leading garden historians and writers, including Anna Pavord, Robin Lane Fox and Roy Strong. The Garden Planted explores the different worlds of plant husbandry, from nurserymen to specialist rose growers, the Chelsea Flower Show expert and the organic gardener including Beth Chatto, Valerie Finnis, Bob Flowerdew and Christopher Lloyd. The Garden Preserved reveals the living heritage of great gardens such as Cawdor Castle (Angelika Cawdor) and Stourhead (John Sales) charting grand restorations and dramatic transformations. The Garden Explored deals with plant scholarship, expedition and exploration, with Christopher Brickell of the Royal Horticultural Society and Tim Smit of the Eden Project. Alongside each portrait is a photograph of the garden most closely associated with the sitter, including Ghillean Prance (Kew Gardens), Charles Jencks (The Garden of Cosmic Speculation), Arabella Lennox-Boyd (Gresgarth Hall), Ann Scott-James (Sissinghurst), Beth Rothschild (Waddesdon Manor) and Graham Stuart Thomas (Mottisfont Rose Garden). The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle until 19th February.
Gainsborough To Turner: British Watercolours From The Spooner Collection spans the golden age of watercolour painting from around 1750 to 1850, and demonstrates the inventiveness and imagination of British artists working in the medium during this period. It is a rare opportunity to see the majority of this little known but important collection, with 82 works on view, including landscape and figurative subjects by Thomas Gainsborough, Paul Sandby, Francis Towne, Alexander and J R Cozens, Thomas Girtin, John Constable, John Sell Cotman and J M W Turner, as well as works by lesser known artists, many never previously exhibited. Among the architectural images are Edward Dayes's 'Somerset House from the Thames', and views of Greenwich by J R Cozens and John Varley, as well as antiquity and ruins, as epitomised by Cotman's 'Doorway to the Refectory, Kirkham Priory, Yorkshire'. Rural landscapes dominate the exhibition, from Gainsborough's 'invented' compositions of woods, cattle and sheep of the early 1780s, to closely observed river scenes made on the spot in Wales by William James Muller some sixty years later. The exhibition also reflects the technical development of watercolour, as Paul Sandby's brightly coloured gouache drawing 'Henry VIII Gateway, Windsor Castle', and Towne's characteristic 'coloured' outline drawings, contrast with the later more naturalistic and freely handled washes of Girtin, Turner and de Wint. Hermitage Rooms at Somerset House until 12th February.