The best art to see in May

Royal Society of Portrait Painters – exhibition at the Mall Galleries, The Mall, London until 24 May.  

George Devline paintings from all over France, the inner Hebrides, Fife, the high-tops in winter and Venice, plus a few still lifes. At the Scottish Gallery, 16 Dundas Street, Edinburgh until 1 Jun.

Hughie O’Donoghue: A Need for Gardens – new paintings relating to and celebrating the installation of two new stained glass windows by the artist at Westminster Abbey commissioned for the 60th anniversary of the Coronation of The Queen. At Marlborough Fine Art, 6 Albemarle Street, London W1 until 1 June.

Blandine Anderson: Oil Paintings & Sculptural Ceramics – works combining an affinity with wildlife and an understanding of folk lore and traditional culture, at Castle Gallery, 43 Castle Street, Inverness from 11 May to 1 June.

John Creed: Exposures -the silversmith’s third solo exhibition, at the Scottish Gallery, 16 Dundas Street, Edinburgh until 1 Jun.

Come Carnival: Entwined and in Play:
work by Markéta Luskačová and Francis West. The exhibition engages Markéta Luskačová’s project of immersive photography of Czech Carnival – the ritual, the costumes, its unruly spirit of magic and metamorphosis – with a selection of Francis West’s recent charcoal, pencil and pastel drawings which unleash a Pandora’s Box of shape-shifting beings and vivid imaginary scenes. At the Piper Gallery, 18 Newman Street, London W1 until 7 June.

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Essence – works by the watercolour artist Jean Haines featuring wildlife, vibrant florals and other subjects. At The Frame, Odiham, Hampshire until 7 June.

Leon Kossoff: London Landscapes – over 90 drawings and 10 paintings, many rarely shown before, spanning the career of the artist, who was born and grew up here. At Annely Juda Fine Art, 4th Floor, 23 Dering Street, London W1 until 6 July.  

Uncommon Ground: Land Art in Britain 1966-1979
– a touring exhibition featuring the work of 24 artists and artist groups, including the Boyle Family, Joshua Cooper, Tony Cragg, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Barry Flanagan, Hamish Fulton, Andy Goldsworthy, Antony Gormley, Susan Hiller, John Hilliard, Derek JArman, Richard Long, David Nash and Bruce McLean. The most comprehensive exhibition of British Land Art to date, at Southampton City Art Gallery, Southampton until 4 Aug.  

Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson; England and Wales 1969
– this exhibition examines a short but significant moment within the working together of these two leading figures of the Land Art movement. It coincides with Southampton City Art Gallery’s major exhibition – Uncommon Ground: Land Art in Britain 1966-79. At John Hansard Gallery, 9 Civic Centre Road, Southampton until 17 Aug.

Through American Eyes: Frederic Church and the Landscape Oil Sketch – celebrating one of the greatest American landscape painters with 25 works by an artist (1826-1900) who reveled in the grandeur of the natural world. The dramatic paintings show far-flung locations from Newfoundland to the Middle East. At Scottish National Gallery, The Mound, Edinburgh 11 May to 8 Sep.

Rory McEwen: The Colours of Reality
– presents the varied career of the renowned Scottish artist and musician Rory McEwen (1932-1982), focusing on his remarkable paintings of plants. This is the first time these works have been presented to the public since a 1988 Serpentine Gallery exhibition. At The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew from 11 May to 22 Sep. (see review in Country Life May 15 2013)

In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion
– focusing on costumes as recorded in historic portraiture, with actual items of clothing similar to those depicted in the paintings shown alongside, together with other fashion accoutrements of the period. At The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London SWW1 until 6 Oct. (see review in Country Life May 8, 2013)

Tapa – barkcloth paintings from the Pacific – the first major European gallery exhibition of tapa from the islands of the Pacific, which have been made for millennia from the bark of trees. Also: Francois Morellet – a selection of paintings by the French artist made in 2006 which replicate works originally produced by him in 1952 emplifying the profound influence of tapa on Morellet’s distinct style of abstraction. At Ikon Gallery, 1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham until 14 July.

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Mesrop of Xizan: An Armenian Master of the Seventeenth Century. At Sam Fogg, 15D Clifford Street, London W1 until 10 May.

Basil Beattie RA, The Janus Series
 Basil Beattie is an abstract painter that has displayed at the Saatchi and the Tate. This exhibition features paintings displayed under the collective title of Janus – the Roman God who opened the sky at daybreak and closed it at sunset. At Hilton Fine Art, Bath.
From: 12th April – 11th May 2013

Grosvernor School Linocuts, The Cutting Edge of Modernity

 An exhibition featuring the artists who worked with and studied under Claude Flight during the 1920s and 1930s. At Osborne Samuel Gallery, 23a Bruton Street, London, W1J
From: 11th April – 11th May (private viewing 10th April) 2013
Contact: 020 7493 7939,

Chloe Fremantle: Muse in the Garden

Set in the Oxford Botanic Gardens, contemporary artist Chloe Fremantle captures in painting the essence the seasons using natural materials, colours and patterns. At Oxford Botanic Garden.
From 7th April – 12th May 2013
Contact: 07798 526 252,

Usk Castle Spring Exhibition
– Chainsaw artist Adam Humphreys is joined by 7 artists at this idyllic setting for a mixed exhibition.  Artists include Illustrator Shelly Perkins and sculptor Steve Henderson. At Usk Castle, Usk, Monmouthshire 27th & 28th April, 2nd.3rd,4th,5th,6th May and again on the 9th, 10th 11th and 12th May.

Quentin Blake: Drawn by Hand.  An exhibition featuring book illustrations, etchings, lithographs and drawings from renowned illustrator Quentin Blake, famous for illustrating Roald Dahl’s children’s books. 12th February- 12th May at The Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street, Cambridge.

Glam: The Performance of Style.
Glam! The Performance of Style is the first exhibition to explore glam style and sensibility in-depth. The exhibition investigates artistic developments in Britain Europe and North America through the prism of glam, examining painting, sculpture, installation art, film, photography and performance. At the Tate Liverpool, Albert Dock, Liverpool from 8 Feb – 12 May 2013.

Schwitters in Britain – first major exhibition to examine the late work of Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948), one of the major artists of European Modernism and a significant figure in European Dadaism. The show focuses on his British period from his arrival as a refugee in 1940 to his death in Cumbria in 1948. At Tate Britain, Millbank, London until 12 May.

Vikings! 500 artefacts from Stockholm’s Historiskmuseet, many of them recent archaeological finds – jewellery, textile and metal. At National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh from 18 Jan to 12 May.

New Glass-Ancient Skill, Contemporary Artform – an exhibition of contemporary glass selected by Reino Liefkes, Head of Ceramics and Glass at the V & A, and other experts. The show began as an open submission for artists with the opportunity to show their work here at: Blackwell, Bowness on Windermere until 12 May.

Wilhelm Lehmbruck
– Michael Warner Gallery present an exhibition of the first German sculpture to significantly impact art on an international scale. Featuring a great selection of sculptures as well as related etchings and works on paper. Michael Werner Gallery, 22 Upper Brook Street, London W1. Until 11th May.

Andrzej Jackowski Paintings, Drawings and Prints.
The paintings show Jackowski’s own experiences of dispossession, distant recollections of his family history in Poland and the first eleven years of his life spent in a refugee camp. These, along with photo albums and other empemera are the raw materials of his images. From 5th April until 17th May. University Gallery, Northumbria University, Sandyford Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Hughie O’Donoghue prints. The current exhibition includes monotype and carborundum prints made in Venice 2011 and London 2012. Personal liberty and transformation emerge as the main themes through out the prints along with history, memory and idenity that are all embodied within the paintings. From 5th April until 17th May. University Gallery, Northumbria University, Sandyford Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne.

John Fisher – Writers’ Rooms 5 – for this new series John Fisher has traveled in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Singapore to work in locations associated with the lives of some 26 creative individuals. At Francis Kyle Gallery, 9 Maddox Street, London W1 until 16 May.

Eric Fraser (1902-1983) – major retrospective of 300 works by the British illustrator and designer at Chris Beetles Gallery, 8 and 10 Ryder Street, London SW1 until 11 May.

Instinct for Water – an exhibition of one of Greece’s finest painters, Maria Filopoulou with works including some of her signature ‘Underwater Swimmer’ pieces and newer work based on waterfalls. From 15th April until 17th May at Belgravia Gallery, 45 Albemarle Street, London, W1.

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