Geoff Heath-Taylor suggests the best exhibitions across the UK to visit this month.
John Bellany: The Capercaillie’s Song
This exhibition of works selected by Bellany’s widow and lifelong muse, Helen, brings together a range of paintings that chart John and Helen Bellamy’s life together from when they first met in 1962 until his death in 2013. Perhaps one of the greatest Scottish painters of the 20th Century, Bellany worked in an energetic, almost disturbed Expressionist style. The son of a fisherman, much of his work derived from the sea and his experiences of it. The exhibition also includes a number of works from his private collection that have never been displayed before.
3rd August – 2nd September
Open Eye Gallery, 34 Abercromby Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6QE
Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers Exhibition
Celebrating the very best in contemporary printmaking by today’s artists, this selling exhibition provides an opportunity to purchase affordable original art by some of Britain’s leading printmakers. Founded as the Society of Painters, Etchers and Engravers in 1880, eminent members of the Society have included Graham Sutherland, Julian Trevelyan and Michael Rothenstein. This exhibition includes wood engraving, etching, aquatint, linocut, monotype and screen-printing. Works include everything from abstract shapes and figures to complete landscapes.
1st August – 12th September
St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery, New Street, Lymington, Hampshire, SO41 9BH
James Morrison: The North Wind
The culmination of three years’ work, this exhibition by James Morrison depicts the rugged wilderness of the west coast of Scotland alongside the more pastoral landscapes of Morrison’s home in Angus. One of the most collectable artists of his generation, Morrison works primarily in oil and solely as a landscape painter. His paintings are as varied as the scenes they portray, and have for years contributed to our understanding of the Scottish landscape through his rich and poetic style.
6th August – 5th September
The Scottish Gallery, 16 Dundas Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6HZ
Facing History: Contemporary Portraiture
This exhibition, drawn from the V&A’s collection, explores the idea of portraiture and the variety of responses to it by artists over the past 20 years. Woodcuts, photographs, etchings, silhouettes and medals are among the works by artists including Julian Opie and Grayson Perry. The exhibition reveals how contemporary artists have been inspired by traditional modes of portraiture.
Until 24th April 2016
V & A, South Kensington, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL
Kilmorack Gallery: Allan Macdonald, Peter Davis and James Newton Adams
Three widely admired contemporary Scottish artists are exhibiting at the Kilmorack Gallery.
Allan Macdonald’s paintings of Scottish landscapes are becoming increasingly sought after, and his Rock of Ages exhibition has been inspired by recent trips to the wild north coast. His paintings capture the rugged beauty and raw energy of the sea, the cliffs and the sky, blending light and dark to dramatic effect.
Contrasting with Macdonald and his bold use of oils, Peter Davis is one of that rare breed of Scottish artists to use watercolours. Davis is based in the Shetland Islands and his Northern Light exhibition encapsulates the simple beauty of the landscape through the medium of water, mixed with a little pigment.
James Newton Adams has been likened to Bellany and Lowry but his lively, and at times mischievous, works are very much his own work. Inspired by his home on the Isle of Skye, Adams’ exhibition The Unbearable Brightness of Being brings together moments from family, town and seaside life, and merges them with the landscape and the sea.
12th August – 12th September
Kilmorack Gallery, Beauly, Inverness-shire, IV4 7AL
Kenneth Rowntree: A Centenary Exhibition
The first retrospective exhibition for British artist Kenneth Rowntree, who died in 1997, sees a collection of paintings spanning the middle part of the twentieth century. Rowntree used his distinct style, featuring playful recurring motifs, to depict his surroundings. His early works focused on quintessentially British landscapes including the Welsh Hills and the Sussex coastline. Later works were inspired by the Australian outback and the great landscapes of America. Featuring oil. Acrylic, watercolour and gouache paintings, this exhibition brings together some of Rowntree’s best works. See review in Country Life August 19th 2015.
Until 18th October
Pallant House Gallery, 9 North Pallant, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1TJ
Richard Long: Time and Space
Part of the programme celebrating Bristol’s year as the European Green Capital, Time and Space comprises sculpture, drawing, photography and text works by artist Richard Long. The Turner Prize-winning Bristolian uses natural materials such as slate and driftwood to create minimalist and conceptual works inspired by his travels around the world.
Until 15th November
Arnolfini Gallery, 16, Narrow Quay, Bristol, BS1 4QA
Constable’s Gardens: 200th Anniversary Exhibition
‘Golding Constable’s Kitchen Garden’ (1815) and ‘Golding Constable’s Flower Garden’ (1815) form the basis for this major exhibition at Christchurch Mansion’s Wolsey Art Gallery. These two deeply personal paintings depict the Suffolk landscape as seen from Constable’s childhood home, and both include overt allusions to his parents. The ‘Flower Garden’ is viewed by many as Constable’s memorial to his mother, who died shortly before the painting was completed. Highly finished pieces of art, neither painting was sold during his lifetime as they were considered private works. Celebrating 200 years since these two works were created, this exhibition also includes a number of other Constable works on loan, including ‘Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows’ (1831).
Until 31st January 2016
The Wolsey Art Gallery, Christchurch Mansion, Soane St, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 2BE
A cut above the rest.
Harmony or dischord?