Written by Lesley Samms MSc ANLP MAC FRSA founder of Pure Arts Group
January is a time for reflection, contemplation and rebalancing of life and its priorities, often accompanied by those infamous New Year Resolutions we all love to make…but usually break before the end of the first month (if we actually enact them at all!).
Absorbing more culture is a regular feature on my resolution list (that and eating less sugar/more gym visits!). If you are on my wavelength, below are 4 exhibitions I highly recommend you put in your diary for 2023.
Royal Academy of Arts
Paula Modersohn-Becker, Käthe Kollwitz, Gabriele Münter and Marianne Werefkin
12 November 2022 — 12 February 2023
Making Modernism is the first major UK exhibition devoted to pioneering women working in Germany in the early 1900s: Paula Modersohn-Becker, Käthe Kollwitz, Gabriele Münter and Marianne Werefkin.
Celebrated in their native homelands, this exhibition will introduce their innovative paintings and works on paper, alongside key pictures by Erma Bossi, Ottilie Reylaender and Jacoba van Heemskerck.
The exhibition reframes subjects such as self-portraiture, still-life, the female body, depictions of childhood, landscapes and urban scenes through the experiences and perspectives of these ground-breaking artists who – although less familiar than their male counterparts, such as Wassily Kandinsky – were no less central to the development of radical new approaches to art in Europe.
8 October 2022 – 12 March 2023
This is the first major survey show of the work of Caragh Thuring, and her first UK exhibition in six years.
Spanning the last 15 years with more than 20 works, it includes paintings, drawings, and monotypes.
Thuring’s nuanced compositions juxtapose signs and imagery from her recurring iconography of volcanoes, bricks, flora, tartan, human silhouettes, and submarines, to explore where natural and manufactured worlds collide.
Thuring grew up in Scotland near to the majestic Holy Loch, the site of the renowned Cold War US nuclear submarine base and next to the construction site for the first concrete North Sea oil rigs. This clash of nature and industry has continued throughout her practice: looming submarine silhouettes, vast industrial structures and striking landscapes frequently appearing across different series. Similarly, Thuring incorporates a recurrent brick motif in her work, which for her perfectly represents the natural and the manufactured in a single object.
For more recent works, Thuring has collaborated with silk weavers in Suffolk to create bespoke cloth for use as her canvas. The fabric is woven on a loom, sewn together, and stretched onto a wood frame before being painted onto. These fabrics are digital renderings of previous paintings, photographs she has taken or found images.
As she describes it: “I want to build the work into the surface, to continue the work I’ve already begun.”
TOWNER 100: The Living Collection
17 December 2022 to August 2023
The Towner Collection comprises over 5000 artworks that individually and collectively reflect and reveal the history of Towner as a public art gallery in Eastbourne since 1923. The Collection features many landscapes and seascapes that draw inspiration from this unique location. From 1923 the collection was kept inside Towner’s first home, an 18th century manor house. In 2009 Towner moved into its current home where it now celebrates its centenary.
The Living Collection will consider Towner’s broad and varied history of collecting and exhibiting over the past one hundred years. This celebratory display offers the occasion to look back and to appreciate the past as well as the opportunity to look forward as it envisions its future.
The Living Collection is part of TOWNER 100, a year of exhibitions and events celebrating Towner’s centenary, including the Turner Prize 2023. Towner will stage an exhibition of Turner Prize nominees throughout 2023 as the centrepiece of the gallery’s centenary programme. The winner announcement will be made in December 2023.
Eric Ravilious, Downs in Winter, 1935
Christopher Wood Fair at Neuilly, 1922
John Piper, Newhaven The Castle. @Estate of John Piper all rights reserved
HILMA AF KLINT & PIET MONDRIAN
20 APRIL – 3 SEPTEMBER 2023
From early landscapes and flower paintings to celebrated abstract works – including many never seen in the UK before – this exhibition will reassess two pivotal figures in art history.
Although they never met, Af Klint and Mondrian both invented their own languages of abstract art rooted in nature. At the heart of both of their artistic journeys was a shared desire to understand the forces behind life on earth. Both artists shared an interest in new ideas in spirituality, scientific discovery, and philosophy. Af Klint was also a medium, and this exhibition showcases the large-scale, otherworldly masterpieces she believed were commissioned by higher powers.
Hilma af Klint, The Ten Largest, Group IV, No. 3, Youth, 1907 Tempera on paper mounted on canvas, 330 x 248 cm
Courtesy of The Hilma af Klint Foundation
Piet Mondrian, Composition in colour A, 1917 Oil on canvas, 50.5 x 45 cm
Collection Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, the Netherlands