Private View held by Richard Andrews
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.
Turner: The Sea brings together JMW Turner's major maritime paintings with a range of rarely seen studies. Although regarded primarily as a painter of landscapes, nearly a third of Turner's works represent the sea, and he recorded the variety and beauty of the coastline, and celebrated the Britain's maritime industries and naval heritage throughout his life, in oils, watercolours and prints. Some of his most evocative images of the sea were rapidly-executed studies in watercolour, representing a direct and personal creative response to nature, which were not considered sufficiently finished for exhibition or sale. When making oils, it was not unknown for him to use his thumb in applying the paint, to create the energy of waves. In these works Turner uses the junction between sea and sky as a motif through which to experiment with the expressive use of colour and the technical possibilities of watercolour. He often omits distinguishing landmarks and focuses on the uninterrupted line of the horizon. The simplicity of the composition enables him to try different ways of depicting weather and water, using unorthodox techniques to achieve a variety of effects. The exhibition also includes a number of preparitory pencil sketches of clouds, boats and waves. Among Turner's best known works on display are 'The Prince of Orange, William III, Embarked from Holland, and Landed at Torbay, November 4th, 1688, after a Stormy Passage', 'Spithead: Two Captured Danish Ships Entering Portsmouth Harbour', and 'Venice Quay, Ducal Palace'. Tate Liverpool until 23rd April.
Medieval London is a new gallery that tells the story of London from the end of Roman rule in AD410 to the accession of Elizabeth I in 1558, a period when London survived near extinction to become England's capital, and one of the most prosperous cities in Europe. Taking the theme of 'people haven't changed much in a thousand years', it offers a display of over 1,200 artefacts from the period, many recently discovered, designed to capture a sense of people's ordinary lives and daily experiences - promoted with the strapline 'glamour, grandeur, sleaze and disease'. Among the finds are an Anglo Saxon brooch; a section of the Thames riverfront and the remains of a priory window destroyed during the Reformation; leather and textiles, including a man's woollen codpiece, a child's mitten, and a pair of pigeon-toed boots; weapons from the Viking invasions; a silver King Alfred penny; keys from the lockers of patients in St Mary Spital hospital; Pilgrim 'souvenir' badges; children's toys; and a set of loaded dice. Accompanying the relics is an audio visual display on the Black Death, using the words of people who experienced the horrors of the disease that wiped out half the city's population in 18 months, between 1348 and 1350. The gallery also bristles with surprising facts and figures, such as that medieval London had 108 parish churches, but 1334 alehouses (one for every 50 people), that among the goods that arrived in London on a ship in 1500 were tennis balls, liquorice and thimbles; and that the dialect of medieval London became the 'Standard English' language. Museum of London continuing.
Cut And Dried: The Silhouettes Of Augustin Edouart And Watercolours Of Harry More Gordon presents two complementary displays, featuring the work of 19th century French artist Augustin Edouart, and 20th century Scottish watercolourist Harry More Gordon. Edouart, one of the most able cut paper silhouettists of all time, visited Scotland in the early 1830s and made portraits in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth that are a record of the time, while More Gordon's watercolour portraits, showing an acute eye for detail, provide an observation of modern life and manners. During his career Edouart travelled throughout the United Kingdom and America, creating over 100,000 cut paper portraits. This exhibition features over 30 likenesses in profile made by cutting black paper with scissors, while he lived in Edinburgh from 1829 to 1832. His sitters included the exiled French Royal family of Charles X, and many of the leading figures of Scottish society, including writer Sir Walter Scott, artist William Dyce, social reformer Rev Thomas Chalmers, and anatomist Robert Knox. Harry More Gordon began as a graphic artist and illustrator before taking up watercolour portraiture. His pictures, usually informal works, painted in domestic rather than official settings, are always filled with closely observed still life details, which turn them into a form of social commentary. The display features 20 large works, including politician Sir Menzies Campbell, artist Gian Carlo Menotti, gallery director Sir Timothy Clifford, and a celebrated group portrait 'The Secretaries of State for Scotland', completed in 1999, showing all 8 men who had occupied the position over a period of 30 years. Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh until 26th March.
Lawrence Of Arabia: The Life, The Legend is a biographical exhibition marking the 70th anniversary of the death of T E Lawrence, exploring the life of the writer, adventurer, archaeologist, intelligence officer, diplomat and serviceman, who was one of the British icons of the 20th century. It covers his early years, wartime experiences in the Middle East and the role he played in the Arab Revolt, his growing fame after the war, the writing of 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom', his 'disappearance' into the services and his untimely death following a motorcycle accident in 1935. A further section of the show examines the creation of the Lawrence legend, propagated by the illustrated travelogues of Lowell Thomas, and how this has been sustained in books, films and the media. The exhibition features a wide range of original materials, many never publicly displayed before, illustrating aspects of Lawrence's life, including his letters, diaries, Arab robes, photographs, film, paintings, personal effects and memorabilia. Highlights are a recently discovered map outlining Lawrence's proposals for the reconstruction of the Middle East after the First World War (showing that he opposed the creation of a single state of Iraq); the Arab Revolt flag raised at the capture of Akaba in 1917; a gilt bronze wreath that Lawrence found on Saladin's tomb in Damascus; and the Brough Superior SS100 motorcycle that Lawrence was riding at the time of his fatal accident. Imperial War Museum London until 17th April.
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.
Henry Moore Tapestries features the sculptor's less well known works in textiles, made in the late 1970s, which have not been seen in public for some years. The designs for the tapestries were taken from earlier drawings made by Moore as preparations for sculptures, which were enlarged up to ten times their original size. The resulting pieces, made in collaboration with the Tapestry Studio at West Dean in Sussex, are over 6ft in height. They depict a series of typical Moore subjects on the theme of 'Women and Children' and include reclining women, the mother and child and the seated figure. Moore was most interested in the interpretative element of weaving, so that the individual weaver's hand would make its mark, and that the tapestries would not simply be a blown up copy of a drawing.
Nina Saunders, in her first solo exhibition, encompasses furniture, embroidery, monoprints and small bronzes. In 'Chameleon', two embroidered chairs, the design of which has been painstakingly overpainted, stand in a room hung with monoprints, which have been taken from this design, their pattern becoming weaker as the paint, from which they are printed, disappears. 'Loves the jobs you hate', a bronze cast of cleaning materials, is coupled with 'Later that afternoon', a cast of a cup of tea with digestive biscuits on its saucer, while a stuffed deer in a balaclava looks down on them. You had to be there.
New Art Centre Sculpture Park & Gallery, Salisbury both exhibitions until 5th February.
Quiet Resistance: Russian Pictorial Photography 1900 - 1930s provides an opportunity to explore a hitherto overlooked aspect of Russian photography. Alongside the better known avant-garde artists of Soviet Russia in the 1920s and 1930s, there was another pictorial trend in Russian photography, which strove to approximate photography to painting, using mainly 'soft' lenses and special, often very sophisticated, printing techniques. Pictorial photography challenged the realist documentary work, and like painting, sought to convey the emotions, and to express the artists' individual senses and meanings. Among the greatest exponents of the school whose works are featured here were Alexander Grinberg, Yury Yeremin, Nikolai Andreev, Nikolai Svishchov-Paola and Alexander Rodchenko. Their depictions of daily life, landscapes and old mansions, city scenes, female nudes and dancers, and portraits of peasants at work, had much in common with their European contemporaries. The 100 photographs in the exhibition recall early 20th century experiments in photography, such as exploring human movement through nymph like dancers, and altering prints by overpainting and scratching. Among the highlights are Yeremin's nudes and dancers, which led to his imprisonment for 'producing pornography'; a study of a bridge in snow by Grinberg, who was sent to a labour camp; Svishchov-Paola's three young women on a staircase, limbs forming Modernist shapes; and Rodchenko's Circus series and scenes from classical operas and ballets. Gilbert Collection at Somerset House until 26th February.
Beatrix Potter: Artist And Illustrator reveals unknown works by the writer and illustrator most famous for Peter Rabbit and other characters in her Little White Books. Many of Potter's most original works were neither reproduced nor exhibited during her lifetime, and her fame rests on only a small part of her output. This exhibition of over 250 works is a broad survey of her art in all its variety: early nature sketches, pen and ink animal studies, watercolours of flora and fauna, unfinished and first drafts of her illustrations, designs and watercolours, and later landscapes, together with early editions of the books. Potter took as meticulous and scientific approach to cataloguing the natural world around her as any professional natural historian. She produced about 500 fungus and lichen drawings, including microscopic studies that were scientifically interesting, and came close to discovering the antibiotic properties of penicillium mould in the course of her research. Among the unpublished materials on display are a series of illustrations for Alice's Adventures In Wonderland. Accompany the drawings and paintings are memorabilia, photographs, notes and letters. These show that Potter's relationship with the publisher of the Little White Books was not always a happy one, and that she never liked the iconic image of Peter Rabbit walking on his hind legs, which she dismissed as "that idiotic prancing rabbit". Dulwich Picture Gallery, London until 22nd January.
Samuel Palmer: Vision And Landscape celebrates the range of one of the most original and appealing of British landscape painters of the Romantic era. Palmer's rich and sensual images of the countryside combine a vivid sense of vision with intimacy and tenderness, but there is also an undertow of mystery, even tragedy, in much of his work. His purpose, to reclaim the spiritual element in English landscape, represents the intuitive, pastoral and nostalgic aspects of the Romantic period at their most intense. Palmer's best known works are the paintings and drawings he produced at the beginning of his career, when he was part of an artistic community at Shoreham in Kent. It was these pictures, which seemed so modern in their experimentation, that made him a powerful influence on many artists in the 20th century. However, he never enjoyed more than modest success for the muted form of lyrical landscapes that he practised, although he produced work of high quality, including views of known places such as 'Tintagel Castle', and idealised scenes such as 'A View of Ancient Rome'. The exhibition traces the deliberate 'primitivism' of his early work, inspired by William Blake, Milton and Durer, through his public career in the 1840s, to the revival of his 'inner sympathies' in the 1860s, with a series of watercolours and etchings for works by Milton and Virgil. Among the highlights of some 150 watercolours, sketches and etchings are 'Cornfield by Moonlight', 'The Magic Apple Tree', 'In a Shoreham Garden', 'A Hilly Scene', 'The Bellman' and 'The Lonely Tower'. The British Museum until 22nd January.
Araki: Self? Life? Death? is the first major exhibition to be held in London of work by Nobuyoshi Araki, arguably Japan's greatest living photographer, and certainly its most controversial. Araki's inexhaustible creative energy is clearly evident in the 300 books he has published over the last four decades, while his photographs, which often challenge social taboos surrounding sex and death, have drawn critical attention throughout the world. This exhibition provides a comprehensive overview of his prolific career, with over 4,000 images on show. Encompassing contemporary Japanese sub-culture, Araki's subjects range from poetic scenes of old Tokyo, to erotic images of kimono-clad women bound in rope, and shots of nudes with exotic flowers as props. The exhibition features many of Araki's most significant works, including images of Tokyo's Shitamachi children, 'Satchin and Mabo'; 'Sentimental Journey', an intimate collection of 'diary' photographs of his honeymoon; and 'Tokyo Nude', a group of large format photographs, displayed in pairs, contrasting languid nudes with desolate Tokyo streets. Many rare images, previously unpublished outside Japan, are presented, together with new works created specially for the show. The exhibition also features a display of books published by Araki, as well as sketchbooks, scrapbooks, Xerox photo albums and other working materials seen for the first time. Through his innovative approach to his medium - sometimes combining painting, drawing and film - Araki has become an influential figure in contemporary art, beyond the field of photography. Barbican Gallery until 22nd January.