Pick of the Week 2015

February's Picks Selected by Stephen Foster

February 23 - March 1

Artist Rooms: Louise Bourgeois

Southampton City Art Gallery
until 18 April

This exhibition brings together a group of works that reveal how the artist, working in a variety of materials and scales, explores the mystery and beauty of human emotions.

'Louise Bourgeois was the French American artist who lifted the glass ceiling on women’s art and died, just short of her 100th birthday, in 2010. This is the first showing in the South of England for this relatively new addition to the Artist Room Collection. The more long standing collections have now been seen fairly widely throughout the UK and it can only be a matter of time before the contents of the collection (an enormous collection based on the generous gift from Anthony D’Offay) are used as a curatorial collection from which choices are made, and then Artists Rooms may become a misnomer.

'But already, most of the artists in the series have a significant number of works and so they can be ‘curated’ into very different displays around a particular theme or approach. This one tells through a chronological presentation of drawings, sculpture and objects her principal themes of the personal, confessional, intuitive; issues of womanhood and exploring our subconscious fears and sensibilities.'

Guest Editor Stephen Foster

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February 16-22

Isabelle Cornaro: Témoins oculaires

Spike Island
until 29 March 2015

Spike Island and the South London Gallery join forces for a two-part solo exhibition by the French artist Isabelle Cornaro, the winner of the prestigious Prix Ricard in 2010.

'Isabelle Cornaro is a much lauded contemporary French artist who works in a number of different media, (specifically, painting, sculpture, film and installation). This exhibition is divided into two parts, one at Spike Island and the other at the South London Gallery. The latter exhibits part of an ongoing installation project from 2008 entitled Paysage avec poussin et témoins oculaires. The Spike Island Show is made up of new commissions. The Gallery is known for commissioning new work by interesting artists either emerging in the UK or by significant figures beginning to command attention in this country.

'At Spike Island the artist creates a new series of tableau using issues of physical representations of the act of watching. It utilises specific viewpoints of the act of cinematic and editing techniques. Very French in its stylistic conventions, this is the one of my four choices that I have not seen so far, and I am very much looking forward to seeing it in the coming weeks.'

Guest Editor Stephen Foster

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February 9-15

Faces of Conflict

The impact of the First World War on art and facial reconstructive surgery


Until Sunday 5 April

An exploration of the influence on artists and surgeons of the facial injuries suffered during the First World War. This exhibition brings together collections of objects and artworks from the last hundred years

'There have been exhibitions about the effect of surgical innovation and on art during the First World War before and the current WW1 centenary commemorations may have created an overkill (and we’re only a quarter of the way through!) but this is an extraordinary and well researched exhibition led by a team of academics from a number of disciplines at the University of Exeter. It differs from many of the previous exhibitions because it sets a unique context relating to the relationship between art and surgery of the time. The exhibition itself features historical artefacts, archives as well as works of art from all periods between 1914 and the present. The relationship between art and surgery begins with the fact that artists were used as model makers, as well as documenters of some of the extraordinary innovations.

'It is argued that the relationship between art and surgery was driven at a time when there were huge developments in both, the former led by Sir Harold Gillies’ pioneering surgical work at the Queen’s Hospital, Sidcup. At the same time many significant artists have been included. The work on facial reparation led to a permanently changed understanding of the face.

'The art works in the exhibition are from the whole of the hundred year period, and features a number of contemporary artists, including the 1914/2014 Artist in Residence, Paddy Hartley.'

Guest Editor Stephen Foster

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February 2-8

The Modern Lens: International Photography and the Tate collection

Tate St Ives
until Sunday 10 May 2015

Pioneering artists from across Europe, the Americas and Japan are shown at Tate St Ives for the first time in The Modern Lens.

'It is hard to imagine that, until relatively recently, Tate didn’t exhibit, let alone collect, photography. Now Tate is leading the field in exhibiting photography of every imaginable genre, and especially historical experimental photography, as if to apologise for all the years that it was ignored. At present all four Tate’s are focussing on well researched exhibitions of photography. It’s the last week of Andy Warhol at Liverpool, with pioneering Hungarian Bauhaus artist Gyorgi Kepes following. The excellent Conflict, Time, Photography at Tate Modern includes work from all periods, and the forthcoming Salt and Silver explores the first photographers. And then there is The Modern Lens: International Photography and the Tate Collection at Tate St Ives. The exhibition explores pioneering work from Europe, the Americas and Japan, which offers a very partial view of global experimental photography which, amongst other bthings, places British artists into a global context.

'It is the largest exhibition of photography ever exhibited at Tate St Ives and in terms of the scope of the subject is the most comprehensive. The exhibition begins with early conceptualists from Brazil and then goes on to explore Britain in a European context, primarily through its relationship with the Bauhaus. The exhibition finishes with American master Harry Callahan. Throughout there are references to Tate, including the special relationship between Tate St Ives and ceramics. As with all of Tate’s exhibitions showing aspects of photography, this is beautifully researched, hugely popular and yet scholarly enough to offer a unique insight into its subject matter.'

Guest Editor Stephen Foster

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What's On

Craft Workshops

Various Venues

Friday 08 February 2019 – Tuesday 31 December 2019

Linda Brothwell Conversations in Making

Stonehenge Visitor Centre, Amesbury, Wiltshire SP4 7DE

Friday 24 May 2019 – Sunday 24 November 2019

Exeter's Fine Art Collection: A Sense of Place

Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Queen Street, Exeter, Devon, EX4 3RX

Tuesday 18 June 2019 – Sunday 15 March 2020

Visual Arts South West

Working towards a South West where talented artists thrive, and a resilient and connected visual arts ecology that inspires more engaged and diverse audiences to value and advocate for its work.

Part of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network

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