Our pick of this week’s art events: 26 February – 4 March

Published 26 February 2016

From erotically-charged artworks in Mayfair to a new gallery opening in Letchworth Garden City, we present the week’s top shows.

  • Matthias Dornfeld: A Loose Tooth in the Booth

    Bruce Haines Gallery, London, until 25 March 2016
    Matthias Dornfeld creates paintings with a “primitive” aesthetic that hark back to modernist traditions of the early 21st century. His portraits resemble the traditional African masks that also inspired Picasso, combining heightened use of colour with a sinuous freedom of line. As this exhibition demonstrates, Dornfeld’s painting breathes new life into inanimate objects, such as a vase of flowers, by exploiting dense layers of oil paint and intersecting lines to form intricate webs of colour. Mundane subjects teem with energy in work that blurs the line between abstract and representation.

  • Matthias Dornfeld, Untitled (Flowers)

    Matthias Dornfeld, Untitled (Flowers), 2013.

    Oil on canvas. 100 x 70 cm. Courtesy of Bruce Haines Gallery, London.

  • Allen Jones: Maîtresse

    Michael Werner Gallery, until 29 April 2016
    Allen Jones RA rose to fame in the 1970s with his scantily clad “furniture” mannequins. Over 40 decades on, the dolls posing as the hat stand, table and chair still retain their shock factor. In this exhibition at the Michel Werner Gallery, a series of paintings created by Jones around the same period take centre stage, their content just as erotically charged as the three-dimensional works that inaugurated the artist as a key Pop Art figure. Demonstrating the links between pop art and advertising, the paintings began as a movie poster commissioned for Barbet Schroeder’s 1975 film, Maîtresse, from which Jones’ series takes its name. Enraptured by the film’s dominatrix heroine, Jones continued to represent the high-heeled, whip-bearing figure, experimenting with vivid and expressionistic colour.

  • Allen Jones RA, Maîtresse I (A Film by Barbet Schroeder)

    Allen Jones RA, Maîtresse I (A Film by Barbet Schroeder), 1978.

    Oil on canvas. 155 x 110 cm. JON 21. Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, London.

  • Mark Wallinger: ID

    Hauser & Wirth, London, until 7 May 2016
    Mark Wallinger’s ‘ID’ paintings are redolent of the inkblot tests children create in art lessons, folding one side of a marked page over to produce a satisfying butterfly effect – yet this doesn’t undermine their brute force and impact. The naïve sensibility of these new works is in keeping with the intended subject matter: what Freud referred to as the ‘id’, or the pleasure principle that dominates our unconscious selves as infants. The symmetrical, monochrome patterns stir up further associations with a cross-section of the brain, or Leonardo da Vinci’s diagram of the Vitruvian man (the canvases were based on Wallinger’s own height), in a meeting of the anatomical and the abstract. Continuing the Freudian theme, these paintings are juxtaposed with a series of works Wallinger shot on an iPhone, which mediate on the ‘ego’ and the ‘superego’. This diverse body of work offers imaginative reinterpretations of timeworn notions of the psyche.

  • Mark Wallinger, ID Painting 172015

    Mark Wallinger, ID Painting 172015.

    ?Acrylic on canvas. 360 x 180 cm. Photo: Alex Delfanne. All images:?© Mark Wallinger? Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

  • Chromatic Intuitions

    Artfirst, London, until 9 April 2016
    Art First brings together two abstract artists, Jennifer Durrant RA and Kevin Laycock, in an exhibition of seductively colourful and boldly expressive paintings. Despite an immediate appearance of simplicity, closer inspection reveals a thoughtful intricacy underpinning the work of both. The influence to which Laycock accredits Durrant’s paintings on his own is perceptible in the way he carefully arranges simple shapes to create visually gratifying harmonies. Durrant and Laycock both exploit grids, patterns and interlocking shapes to arresting effect in this playfully ebullient exhibition.

  • Jennifer Durrant RA, Distanza

    Jennifer Durrant RA, Distanza, 2013/14.

    Acrylic on canvas (diptych). 65.3 x 80.5 cm. Image courtesy Art First, London.

  • Richard Smith: Reunion

    Broadway Gallery, Letchworth Garden City, until 5 June
    This exhibition of painter and printmaker Richard Smith’s work marks the opening of the new Broadway gallery in the artist’s native town of Letchworth. Throughout his career, Smith has experimented with a variety of techniques and a dynamic use of colour and texture in ways that echo British Pop Art tendencies. Smith’s unique contribution lies in his pushing these formal concerns to their very limits, blurring the boundaries between the painterly and the sculptural. His works consist of layers of paint, mixed media collage and shaped canvases that refuse representational elements. Alongside Pop Art, his artistic approach is bound up with the Art and Crafts movement – an important part of Letchworth’s cultural history (the village was designed in 1903 to offer development for homes and industry). These bold abstract paintings are displayed alongside a selection of books and interviews that trace the development of Smith’s enduring career and emphasise the strong connection between his creative output and his birthplace.

  • Richard Smith, Untitled

    Richard Smith, Untitled, 1969.

    College and mixed media. 55 x 75.5 cm. © Richard Smith Courtesy of Flowers Gallery London and New York.