*** Janet Wells’ review of the Arts, Gallery and Museum scene ***
Dulwich Picture Gallery
UNFRAMED: The Woman in the Window
4th May to 4th Sep
This exhibition makes one really think: It was surprising – not exactly what I was expecting.
Before the invention of the devices that we use today, the window had been a primary source of communication – and we are still drawn instinctively, to gaze out through the pane that allows in light but also divides us from the landscape or whatever is beyond.
However, for the purpose of this exhibition, the curator, Dr Jennifer Sliwka, explores a motif that goes back 3000 years.
She quotes Baudelaire: “What can be seen out in the sunlight is always less interesting that what goes on behind a windowpane. In that black and luminous square life lives, life dreams, life suffers.” ‘Les Fenetres’,1863
Here we are asked to recognize how, through the centuries, women have been caught in that frame. It points to the role the window has in relation to ideas of decorum, morality and religious beliefs.
In these spaces within the Dulwich Picture Gallery, Sliwka explains that although this study cannot be exhaustive, it explores the long history of the representation or evocation of a woman in a window and identifies key civilizations. Throughout the galleries, art works representing the periods of human civilizations rub shoulders: “Girl at the Window” (1645) Dulwich’s own loved Rembrandt; A small Phoenician ivory relief (dating from 900 – 700BCE) of a black-eyed woman staring out of a window, has been lent by the British Museum. While at the other end there is the photograph; Dadi’s Love (2020) by Simran Janjua that recalls the very recent restrictions brought about during the Covid 19 epidemic.
“Girl at the Window” (1645) Rembrandt
There are over 50 works by artists, including Rembrandt; Harmensz van Rijn; Dante Gabriel Rossetti; David Hockney; Louise Bourgeois; Cindy Sherman and Rachel Whiteread.
Tue to Sun 10am to 5pm
Advanced booking advised.
28th Apr to 18th Sep
Walter Richard Sickert RA RBA, (1860 – 1942) German born (although of Danish parentage) British painter and printmaker was a member of the Camden Town Group of Post – impressionist artists.
This is certainly a chance to see the biggest retrospective of his work in almost 30 years. As we know, he has always had the reputation of being the master of self- invention and theatricality and this is born out as you progress through the large number of galleries. We begin with his self-portraits (how tonally dark) but by the time we come to the end we are happy to find old familiar friends such as “Brighton Pierrots (1915); his street scenes of Dieppe, London, Paris and Vienna; his music hall paintings – particularly the Old Bedford 1894 -95 which stood on Camden High Street. Surprisingly large, “Ennui” (1914) which pitches in on what is undoubtedly a domestic scene of unrelenting boredom; “Off To the Pub” (1911) also explores conflicted emotions and complex modern relationships. Sickert’s influences are obvious: Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet and James Abbott McNeill Whistler – resulting from the time he was an assistant in the artist’s studio.
Walter Richard Sickert L’Hôtel Royal Dieppe 1894 Sheffield Museums Trust
Walter Richard Sickert The Red Shop (or The October Sun) c.1888 Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, Norfolk Museums Service
This exhibition features over 150 of his works from over 70 public and private collections, from the scenes of rowdy music halls to the ground-breaking nudes and narrative subjects. These are works that span Sickert’s six-decade career, and it successfully uncovers the people, places and subjects that inspired him. It is fascinating to see how his personality evolved on the canvas throughout his career
Tickets: £5 to £18
Booking recommended although there may be a few available at the door.
Members Free (no need to book)
18th May to 16th Oct
Not to be missed is Cornelia Parker who is decidedly one of our leading contemporary artists and I am sure that many of you will be very familiar with her unique and unforgettable work. Cornelia transforms seemingly everyday objects into extraordinary works of art. She first came to prominence in the late 1980’s with her large, suspended installations and sculptures – several of which are included: One of the best early works being Thirty Pieces of Silver 1988 -89 – an installation of flattened silver objects including teapots, candle sticks, and dinnerware collected from charity shops. Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View 1991, a garden shed – which appear frozen at the instant of explosion.
Driven by curiosity, Parker transforms seemingly everyday objects into extraordinary works of art. Through visual allusions and metaphors, her work explores contemporary issues such as violence, human rights and environmental disaster.
Cornelia Parker, Cold Dark Matter – An Exploded View
Portrait of Cornelia Parker
For this exhibition, the Tate has brought together over 90 artworks spanning immersive installations, sculptures, film, photography and drawing, to celebrate Parker’s highly experimental and wide -ranging career to date, including two new works shown for the first time.
Tickets: £5 to £16 (free for Members)
Guided Tours £28.00 (Members £12)
4th May to 4th Sep
Archipenko and the Italian Avant Garde
An exploration of the relationship between Ukrainian-born American artist Alexander Archipenko (1887 – 1964) and the masters of Italian Art.
Our Time on Earth
The Gallery will become a space for meditation on the ecological future of our planet in this experimental new group.
In the Black Fantastic
29th Jun to 18th Sep
An exhibition of 11 contemporary Black artists that include Ellen Gallagher, Hew Locke, Chris Ofili and Kara Walker, who draw on science fiction, myth and Afrofuturism to question our knowledge of the world.
Raphael Until 31st Jul
Picasso Ingres: Face to Face 3 Jun to 9th Oct
Barbican Library Exhibitions
4th to 29th Jun
Emma Louise Hollaway: through the mediums of drawing, painting and printmaking Emma Louise explores library collections, searching for hidden women. The exhibition includes a reimagining of the Barbican Library’s legendary Crime Collection, referencing its readers and architectural setting.
August: Barbican Young Creatives
September: Henry Hagar