News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 21st June 2006


The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is with us again, as it has been every year since 1769 - the usual collection of the good, the bad and the ugly - from amateurs to RA's, proving that popular taste and critical approval find no meeting point. Around 1,000 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from over 9,000 submissions, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. Over £70,000 is given out to artists included in the exhibition through 10 prizes. This year, the show has been masterminded by Peter Cook, David Mach and Alison Wilding, who have chosen the theme From Life, to inspire new work from artists responding to the concept of life and the business of living, across all the various media on display. Artists featured in this year's show include Georg Baselitz, Sandra Blow, Anthony Caro, Tracey Emin, Marcus Harvey, Damien Hirst, Ken Howard, Richard Long, Sarah Lucas, Grayson Perry, Gavin Turk and Richard Wentworth. There are also two memorial galleries dedicated to showing the works of the sculptor and printmaker Eduardo Paolozzi and the painter and printmaker Patrick Caulfield, both of whom died last year. An accompanying programme of lectures, events and workshops covers all aspects of the exhibition, including a guided touch tour of selected sculptures, and for the first time, four art related Cushion Concerts will take place. The Royal Academy of Arts until 20th August.

John Hoyland The Trajectory Of A Fallen Angel: Paintings 1966 - 2003 traces the work one of Britain's leading abstract painters, highlighting the evolution of his paintings over four decades, affirming his position as a major, innovative force in post war British painting. Hoyland has produced a body of work that eliminates literal depiction of the observed world. His art uses shape, colour, texture and the movement of paint to evoke a world of emotion and imagination. After a landmark visit to New York in 1964, where he met leading Abstract Expressionists, he forged his distinctive personal style, producing large scale abstract paintings which advanced a startling use of simple shapes and high key colour. Paintings such as '28.2.66' defied the modernist insistence on the flat reality of the picture surface, emphasising instead the quality of virtual, illusory space. During the 1970s, Hoyland produced paintings that are thickly painted and richly textural, as in 'Verge 12.10.76'. Insistently abstract, these works possess an extraordinary material physicality. Since the 1980s, Hoyland's paintings have developed far beyond their early formal emphasis, embracing imaginative invented allusions and the suggestion of other worlds, as in 'Quas 23.1.86' and 'Black Something 8.2.90'. Tate St Ives until 24th September.

Future City: Experiment And Utopia In Architecture 1956 - 2006 showcases the most radical and experimental architecture to have emerged in the past 50 years. From extraordinary houses and incredible towers, to fantasy cityscapes and inhabitable sculptures, it speculates on what it would be like to live in a hairy house, a floating city, and an inflatable pod. Featuring a who's who of architecture, the exhibition includes 70 visionary building projects and urban plans from around the world. These influential and ground breaking projects illustrate the energy and experimentation that characterise radical architecture, and raise questions about the nature of buildings, cities and society. From the visionary artist turned architect Constant Nieuwenhuys, to 1960s giants Archigram and SuperStudio, to deconstructivists Daniel Libeskind and Zaha Hadid, and contemporary digitally inspired work by Nox and Decoi, this is the most comprehensive survey of experimental architecture to be held in Britain. With over 300 original models and drawings, plus photographs and film, the exhibition examines classic projects, from Kisho Kurokawa's 'Floating City' and Rem Koolhaas's 'Delirious New York', to unusual and innovative houses, including Shigeru Ban's 'Paper Log House' and Watanabe's 'Jelly Fish House' series. The exhibition is designed by Foreign Office Architects, one of the most influential and acclaimed London practices of recent years. Barbican Gallery until 17th September.


Welcome To The Ship: The Art Of Climate Change explores one of the most pressing issues of our time, as seen through the eyes of artists who travelled to the Arctic on the schooner The Nooderlicht, as part of the Cape Farewell project. Created by David Buckland, Cape Farewell brings artists, scientists and educators together to address and raise awareness about climate change. There have been three expeditions to the Arctic so far, travelling routes that were previously icebound, and the artists' responses in photography, film, sound, sculpture, painting and printmaking, make up this exhibition. Among the highlights are: a six metre long minke whale skeleton by Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey, encrusted in clear alum crystals; choreographer Siobhan Davies's film Endangered Species, showing a woman dancing gracefully, but whose movement becomes increasingly restricted; glacial ice texts by David Buckland; a painting of a hermaphrodite polar bear by Gary Hume, depicting the effects of chemical pollution; Alex Hartley's photographic essay on discovering and naming a new island; Max Eastley's soundwork of cracking and melting ice; and an essay by the novelist Ian McEwan. Other artists whose works are included are Kathy Barber, Peter Clegg, Gautier Deblonde, Nick Edwards, Gretel Ehrlich, Antony Gormley, David Hinton and Michele Noach. There is also an accompanying film about Cape Farewell, 'Art from a Changing Arctic', by director David Hinton, showing how the artists were both inspired and challenged by their journeys to the Arctic. Natural History Museun until 3rd September.

Eye For Colour is a visual feast that alerts the senses and stimulates the mind, exploring the ways in which colour shapes our world. From science to art, from the natural world to human culture and language, the exhibition demonstrates how colour brings the planet to life. It reveals how colour is formed; how artists use colour in creativity - and how changes in pigments can be used to date works of art; how animals, birds and reptiles use colour as camouflage - changing colour to blend in with their environment - or to stand out from the crowd - altering their colour to attract a mate; how different cultures have used colour to communicate messages, such as warnings of danger; and how colour association works, and why we relate certain colours to particular moods and atmospheres, such as red for hot or blue for cold. The exhibition does this through a host of hands on interactive displays; plus the Mood Room, where visitors can experience how colour changes moods by being immersed in different hues; the Colour Food Cafe, where familiar foods are served up in alarmingly different colours; and the Art Machine, which enables visitors to create virtual masterpieces. Revel in the rainbow from sombre shades to psychedelic spectrums. World Museum, Liverpool until 3rd September.

Rembrandt & Co: Dealing In Masterpieces explores the story of one of the most important art dealerships in 17th century Amsterdam. Hendrick Uylenburgh and his son Gerrit operated as art dealers and owners of a painters' workshop between 1625 and 1675, during the Dutch Golden Age, when the art of painting achieved its greatest heights. The contribution made by the Uylenburghs to this development is illustrated by the artists who worked for them or in their workshop, including Rembrandt, Govert Flinck, Jurgen Ovens and Gerard de Lairesse. Rembrandt spent four years working in the Uylenburgh's studio, where he met Hendrick's cousin Saskia, who became his wife. During this period Rembrandt's output underwent a major change. His etchings became larger and more ambitious, treating multi-figure religious scenes, and he also began to paint commissioned portraits. Both Uylenburghs played an active role in the international art business, buying artists such as Anthony Van Dyck, Jacob Jordaens and many others. Gerrit Uylenburgh's London representative was the Court painter, Sir Peter Lely. The exhibition includes 19 Rembrandt paintings from this period, including 'A Girl at a Window', recently cleaned and conserved, together with others by his contemporaries. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 3rd September.

Constable: The Great Landscapes offers the first opportunity to view John Constable's seminal six foot canvases together, something that was not even done in his lifetime. The 'six-footers' are among the best known images in British art, and comprise a series of views on the river Stour, which include 'The Hay Wain', as well as later works such as 'Hadleigh Castle' and 'Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows'. As important as the paintings themselves, are the full scale preliminary sketches that Constable made for most of them, a practice unprecedented at the time. It has been said that it is this practice more than any other aspect of Constable's work that established him as an avant-garde painter, resolved to rethink the demands of his art and to address them in an entirely new way. The exhibition reunites the full scale sketches with their corresponding finished pictures, in order to explore their role in Constable's working practice. The exhibition includes 9 such pairings among around 65 works in total. The bringing together of the 6 river Stour pictures for the first time, reveals how, as the series progresses, Constable develops a single thematic concept - the life of the Suffolk river he had known since boyhood - and gradually invests it with a greater sense of drama, heroic action and narrative weight. A further highlight of the exhibition is a newly discovered watercolour, on display for the first time, 'The View in the Stour Valley Looking Towards Langham Church from Dedham'. It anticipates 'The Hay Wain', painted 16 years later, as both feature a hay cart prominently. Tate Britain, until 28th August.

Against The Odds: The Story Of Bomber Command In The Second World War is the first major exhibition to tell the stories of the air and ground crews, and examine the impact of the bombing campaign on the people of Germany, through objects, art, film, sound, photography and documents. Bomber Command's main role was the destruction of Germany's economic, industrial and military strength, but it was also active in combating the U-boats, attacking German warships, minelaying at sea, assisting during the Battles of France and Britain in 1940 and in the Middle East, supporting the invasion of Normandy and the liberation of North West Europe and countering the V-weapons. The exhibition charts the development of Bomber Command, from its ill-prepared beginnings in 1939, through to its undoubted contribution to winning the war. Key operations covered include the Dambusters raid, the sinking of the German battleship Tirpitz, and the Thousand Bomber raids. Among the highlights of the exhibition are Dame Laura Knights's iconic painting 'Take Off', Commander Guy Gibson's cap, Group Captain Leonard Cheshire's VC and the George Cross awarded to Daphne Pearson, who rescued the pilot of a bomber that crashed and exploded in 1940. A series of 'interactives' reveal the human cost of Bomber Command operations, delve into the technical detail of aircraft production, and reveal how little space airmen had to work in while on an operation. Imperial War Museum North, Manchester, until 7th January 2007.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel: Fame And Fate uses a unique collection of photographs and historic artefacts to examine the last project of Britain's greatest engineer. The immense steamship the Great Eastern - widely regarded as one of the industrial wonders of the world - was built on the Thames at Millwall, Isle of Dogs. As the ship neared completion, Robert Howlett, one of London's earliest photographers, was given privileged access to the yard and his images form an exceptional record of a major event in Victorian engineering. Howlett's iconic portrait of Brunel standing in front of the Great Eastern's launching chains has become the defining image of 'engineer as hero', and the exhibition explores the relationship between photography, image and fame at a time when this was new. Brunel's preparations for the Great Eastern coincided with a growing desire by the British public to own detailed photographs of the wider world. Three dimensional images - known as stereo photos - became the craze, and photographers travelled the globe to find new subjects to capture. The Great Eastern itself was the subject of two sets of these stereo cards, the first, entitled 'The Leviathan Steamship', was commissioned by the Illustrated Times in 1857. These, and other rarely seen Howlett photographs, give a unique insight into the world of Victorian engineering. The exhibition also features two original 12ft models of the Great Eastern, from the yard of John Scott Russell‚ made to calculate the sizes of the wrought iron plates to be cut for the hull. The Science Museum until November.


Felicitas Volger: The World Of Light provides a rare opportunity to see the unusual work of the German photographer who became the third wife of sculptor Ben Nicholson. They shared a passion for the abstract, and had a profound effect on each other's work. Put simply, Volger photographed landscapes in such a way that the resulting images look like abstract paintings. Volger's use of strong colour to construct abstract geometrical forms moved colour photography into an entirely new area. This exhibition, the first in Britain for over 30 years, comprises around 50 large scale photographs, spanning a career that lasted for almost 50 years. Having met in the St Ives artist colony, Volger and Nicholson moved to Switzerland, where they were both inspired by the natural grandeur of the dramatic mountain scenery. They would often work together - she would take photographs while he would sketch. In Switzerland the couple were part of another artist colony, which included Jean Art, Mark Rothko, Hans Hartung and Mark Tobey. Volger later travelled widely, photographing the dramatic natural landscapes of Tibet, South Africa, China, Australia, Japan and New Zealand. This collection of Volger's images is complemented by a small display of Nicholson's sculptures. Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art, Edinburgh until 9th July.

Dynamics And Function: Realised Visions Of A Cosmopolitan Architect celebrates the life and work of Erich Mendelsohn, who, with Serge Chermayeff, designed the De La Warr Pavilion, the first public Modernist building in Britain. With his earliest buildings, the Einstein Tower in Potsdam, the hat factory in Luckenwalde and the Mosse Building in Berlin, Mendelsohn catapulted himself to the forefront of the avant-garde. He subsequently designed department stores, commercial buildings, factories and private houses in Germany, the Soviet Union, Norway, England, Palestine and the USA. This exhibition includes models, sketches, photographs and plans of Mendelsohn's buildings, revealing how his architectural style developed throughout his life.

Motion Path is a twelve screen video work by Graham Ellard and Stephen Johnstone, shot in four of Mendelsohn's major public buildings: the Schocken department store in Chemnitz, The Metal Workers' Union Building in Berlin, the B'nai Amoona Synagogue in St. Louis, and the De La Warr Pavilion. The camera glides through each building, revealing the spaces as a set of changing relationships between vistas, voids, solids, reflections and apertures.

Bridget Smith: Rebuild is Smith's photographic record, charting the 3 year £8m refurbishment programme that restored the De La Warr Pavilion to its former glory.

De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea until 2nd July.

A Modern Bestiary (While Darwin Sleeps…) is a contemporary version of a medieval bestiary: an illuminated manuscript describing both real and imaginary animals, in order to draw moral lessons from their different characteristics and types of behaviour. Each of the featured artists either creates their own fantastical species, or else reorders the animal kingdom into unexpected categories, where imagination triumphs over reason. Yuri A's film 'Unk', catalogues man made beasts, ordering hundreds of toy and souvenir animals into a sequence both alarming and comic. Tom G. Adriani's video 'The Boy Who Chose Sleep' mixes fantastical pencil drawings with still photographs to tell the stories of creatures which come to life through a boy's imagination. Ebony Andrews's taxidermied animals are transformed into extraordinary tableaux and quasi-functional objects. Paul Bush's film 'While Darwin Sleeps...' catalogues the infinite variety of the insect kingdom, revealing 3000 still images of insect species. Dawn Hannah's vinyl wall text proclaims that 'Monsters do exist'. Kate McLeod's neoclassical plaster sculptures are based upon human-canine cross breeds, akin to the mythical creatures described in Ovid's 'Metamorphoses'. Bryndis Erla Hjalmarsdottir's animals create a tragicomic 'theatre of the absurd' recalling a W B Yeats poem. Robert Morgan's film 'The Cat With Hands' combines gothic horror with breathtaking imagery in a dark tale of metamorphosis. Northern Gallery For Contemporary Art, Sunderland until 1st July.