Nnena Kalu, Studio Voltaire elsewhere, Mayfair, London
Throughout 2020, Studio Voltaire elsewhere will see a series of exhibitions taking place in offsite venues whilst the Studio Voltaire Capital Project is completed. First up is this new commission from Glasgow-born artist Nnena Kalu, who has worked in situ at Studio Voltaire’s Mayfair offsite space, creating a series of large-scale sculptural installations. By binding, layering and wrapping materials, she explores space, scale and texture through repetitive and durational sculptural processes. Continuously in production, her works reflect the duration, rhythm and process of their making, in turn becoming an extension of her physical movements. Future exhibitions in the series include: Dawn Mellor, Phyllida Barlow and Monster Chetwynd.
Until 28 March www.studiovoltaire.org
They Call It Idlewild, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge
Turner-Prize-winning artist Helen Cammock presents a new film and text work that was commissioned as part of Wysing Arts Centre’s 30th birthday programme. Over the last few months, the artist has been in-residence at Wysing responding to the organisation’s archive. Inspired by its histories, photographs and artworks, her new work reflects on the politics of idleness and what it means creatively, emotionally and culturally to be idle at a time when the questions are being asked more widely about the physical and emotional cost of hyper-productivity and its links to Neoliberalism.
Until 3 May www.wysingartscentre.org
Remember Me, The National Centre For Craft & Design, Sleaford
This exhibition explores artist Charlotte Hodes’ longstanding engagement with the boundaries between fine art and craft practices. Drawing from both the rich iconography of the decorative arts and her own hand drawn archive of motifs centered on the female figure, she uses collage to challenge accepted hierarchical structures. Highlights include her ceramic installations, which consist of multiple pieces of ready-made tableware as an alternative ‘canvas’, referencing domesticity and the home.
Until 22 March www.nccd.org.uk
This Muddy Eden, Broadway, Letchworth Garden City
This exhibition takes its title from a line in a book on Victorian Utopias and brings together two figurative artists, Hannah Brown and Christopher Orr, who both draw from and play with conventions of art history. At first glance the work here appears conventional, with dark figurative landscapes bearing a certain resemblance to traditional works by John Constable or J.M.W. Turner. However, dig deeper and something more perplexing and unusual becomes apparent. Orr’s work blurs the distinction between reality and illusion, exploring our need to analyse and interpret images by using loaded and specifically nostalgic motifs. Meanwhile, Brown’s work appears embedded in the legacy of traditional English landscape painting. The twist is these are not the grand vistas one might expect to see in landscapes of this size but rather quiet, forgotten corners of parkland in London or Devon.
Until 25 April www.broadway-letchworth.com
Chad McCail: Toy, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland
This is the culmination of artist Chad McCail spending the last three years developing a single monumental new work specifically for Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art. It features an enormous three-dimensional cityscape filling the entire gallery that includes various familiar institutions, such as schools, factories, offices, hospitals, and military sites. Created on an alarming scale that is a little too close to our own for comfort, it suggests realistic scenarios that seem closer to science-fiction than fact.
Until 19 April www.sunderlandculture.org.uk
1. Nnena Kalu, Studio Voltaire elsewhere, 2020. Commissioned by Studio Voltaire in partnership with ActionSpace. Courtesy: the artist and Studio Voltaire. Credit: Francis Ware
2. Helen Cammock, They Call It Idlewild, 2020 (stills)
3. Remember Me: Charlotte Hodes Papercuts and Ceramics. Photo: Scott Murray
4. Chad McCail, Toy, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland