Photographers' Gallery, until 21 July 2013
Visiting photography students’ degree shows is the best way to catch up-and-coming artists and see how the medium is developing today. But if you missed this year’s exhibitions, London’s Photographers’ Gallery this week comes a close second: its annual show ‘FreshFaced+WildEyed’,
now in a sixth incarnation, selects for display exceptional work emerging from BA and MA courses.
Anastasia Shpilko, 'Arina, tumbler, rests during her training in the Visaginas Acrobatic Sport School, Lithuania', 2012. C-type print. © Anastasia Shpilko. Courtesy of the artist.
Contributions range from Anastasia Shpilko’s photojournalistic series of conditions on both sides of the Belarusian-Lithuanian border to Jolanta Dolewska’s unusual black-and-white details of architectural interiors.
Jack Bell Gallery, until 10 August 2013
Gonçalo Mabunda, 'Untitled (Throne)', 2013. Courtesy of Jack Bell Gallery. Today sees the sculptures of Mozambique-born artist Gonçalo Mabunda take centre stage at Jack Bell Gallery,
a space based in Mason’s Yard in St James’s, near White Cube.
Mabunda’s materials are the guns, rocket launchers and other weapons once used in the civil war that tore his native country apart between 1977 and 1992 – an estimated 1 million people died, with five times as many displaced.
These objects are radically reconstituted, assembled and welded together into forms such as masks and thrones – pieces that meld political and social comment, African art of the past, tribal ceremony and the Primitivism of modern Western artists such as Picasso.
The Lyons Teashops Lithographs
Towner, Eastbourne, 13 July to 22 September 2013
In the 1940s and 50s Lyons teashops continued to be highly successful, as ubiquitous on our high streets as Costa is today. However, the chain’s interior design was starting to feel the pinch, due to a lack of availability of decoration materials during post-war austerity.
William Scott, 'The Bird Cage', 1947. The Lyons Lithographs - First Series. Towner Collection.
In a solution that seems completely counterintuitive to us now – given the price of contemporary art – Lyons commissioned some of the country’s finest artists, from Edward Bawden and John Piper to William Scott and John Nash, to produce large-scale prints to cover their walls. These lovely lithographs and associated works in oil and watercolour are the subject of a new exhibition at Towner, Eastbourne.
Newlyn Art Gallery, until 28 September 2013
Residents or summer visitors to Newlyn this month can enjoy an exhibition by British artist Andy Harper,
whose incredibly intricate oils present strange semi-abstract, semi-figurative worlds in which repeated, slickly painted motifs overlap with a sense of superabundance.
Andy Harper, 'Double Blink' (detail), 2013. Oil on canvas, diptych.
These visual hinterlands of interminable depth have the spatial experimentation seen in the paintings of architect Zaha Hadid RA, but the spirit is more Hieronymus Bosch, with what looks like bones and ears and occasional faces popping out of the pictorial plane.
Christopher Wood, 'Self-Portrait', 1927. Christopher Wood
Kettle’s Yard, until 1 September 2013
Britain’s main participant in the pre-war ‘School of Paris’ was the painter Christopher Wood, who before becoming briefly part of the St Ives scene, and ‘discovering’ Alfred Wallis on a trip to Cornwall with Ben Nicholson, trained and practised in the French capital, mixing with Picasso, Cocteau and co and then travelling the continent.
But this worldly painter of such promise committed suicide at the age of 29. Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge
displays his lyrical landscapes, portraits and still-lifes, in a reminder of the artistic achievements of a man who has become something of a cult figure in British art.
Sam Phillips is a London-based arts journalist and contributor to RA Magazine