Whitechapel Gallery, 16 January–15 April 2013
Paris- and London-based Jessica Warboys is the latest subject of the Artists’ Film International, the Whitechapel Gallery’s series of screenings on artist’s who work regularly, but not exclusively, in moving image. Warboys is a multidisciplinary artist, travelling freely between film and video, performance, painting, installation and sculpture, and often blending these different mediums together in one work or presentation.
Jessica Warboys, 'Pageant Roll', 2012. Super 16mm film transfer to HD, sound, 5 minute loop, Courtesy the artist and Gaudel de Stampa, Paris Commissioned and produced by dOCUMENTA (13) Courtesy the artist.
Pageant Roll (2012), the piece on show in the Whitechapel’s auditorium from Wednesday, was commissioned for Documenta 13 in Kassel, last year’s edition of the prestigious five-yearly art festival. Accompanied by an eerie synthesizer soundtrack, the film has a decidedly mystical bent; it takes the viewer to the Cornish countryside, where Warboys’ own sculptures and found objects are shown to intermingle with the landscape’s ancient standing stones.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 'The Blue Bower', 1865. The Trustees of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham. LAST CHANCE: Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde
Tate Britain, until 13 January 2013
If your new year’s resolution was to visit some of the significant art shows that you missed at the end of 2012, then head to Tate Britain this weekend to catch its major Pre-Raphaelite presentation before it closes on Sunday night. Hopefully you’re a Tate member, as advance tickets are selling out fast this week. All the key figures (Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, Edward Burne-Jones etc) feature in an exhibition that reminds us that, although the Brotherhood’s mix of Medievalist romanticism and naturalism was soon to be embraced by the establishment, when they emerged in 1848 the Pre-Raphaelites were Britain’s first avant-garde artists.
LAST CHANCE: Peter Lely
Courtauld Gallery, until 13 January 2013
If you detest crowds, the Courtauld may be a better bet that the Tate; this weekend is the last for an exhibition on the seventeenth-century portraitist Peter Lely, principle painter for Charles II. Although his work is often overshadowed by the achievements of his predecessors at court, Rubens and Van Dyck, the Dutch-born, Haarlem-trained Lely was the foremost artist of his age in London, and his skills went further than capturing ‘court beauties’: the show displays pieces that include as the Arcadian scene Nymphs by a Fountain (early 1650s), on loan from Dulwich Picture Gallery, and the intriguing group portrait The Concert (c.1650), which has a strange mood of music.
Peter Lely, 'The Concert', c. 1650. Oil on canvas, 123.1 x 234 cm. The Courtauld Gallery, London.
LAST CHANCE: The Lost Prince
National Portrait Gallery, until 13 January 2013
Anyone with an interest in the royal history of that century should also visit the National Portrait Gallery by the end of the weekend, as it’s the last opportunity to see ‘The Lost Prince’, a show exploring the story of prince of the realm and art enthusiast Henry Stuart – the man next in line for the thrown, before his premature death in 1612 and the accession of his brother Charles I.
John Lessore, 'Crossing Rye Lane, at night', 2000-2007). Courtesy Kings Place Gallery. John Lessore
Kings Place Gallery, until 22 February
Kings Place Gallery in London’s Kings Cross presents a survey show of the work of John Lessore, a British figurative painter who came to prominence in the 1960s. Art runs in Lessore’s blood – his uncle was Walter Sickert and his parents, sculptor Frederick and painter Helen, founded and directed the gallery Beaux Arts on Cork Street – and some of his expertise as an artist has been handed down to younger generations thanks to his teaching work, in the past at the RA Schools, Norwich School of Art and Byam Shaw, and currently at the Prince’s School of Drawing.
Lessore eschews sensationalism for a quiet but bristling energy that encourages the prolonged contemplation of his canvases. The show features work ranging from early still lives to recent cityscapes of his native Peckham, and it visits the Northumbria University’s University Gallery from 5 April.
Sam Phillips is a London-based arts journalist and contributor to RA Magazine