Gert & Uwe Tobias
Whitechapel Gallery, 16 April - 14 June 2013
The woodcuts and collages Romanian-born twin brothers Gert and Uwe Tobias simmer a strange visual soup of geometric abstraction, inspired by Soviet modernists such as El Lissitzky, and figurative, narrative elements that borrow from floral patterns, Surrealism and macabre European folklore.
Gert & Uwe Tobias, Untitled, 2012 © photo Alistair Overbruck, Cologne/Gert & Uwe Tobias/VG. Bildkunst, Bonn
Their installation from Tuesday at the Whitechapel Gallery
will see their unsettling graphic style seeping off the wall and across everyday ceramic objects such as plates and vases.
Basil Beattie, 'Approaching Distance', 2010
Basil Beattie RA
Hilton Fine Art, until 11 May 2013
From Saturday, Bath gallery Hilton Fine Art
hosts an exhibition of paintings by Royal Academician Basil Beattie, including his recent series ‘Janus’ (2010), inspired by the double-faced Roman god who controlled the sky at sunset and sunrise.
Applying characteristically messy and expressive marks of oil and wax on canvas, the British artist forms stacks of three semicircles that – while in the same hemispheric form of the sun over the horizon – also appear to resemble camera view-finders, or maybe windscreen mirrors, due to the landscapes framed in their interior.
John Riddy: Palermo
Frith Street Gallery, until 1 June 2013
From today the English photograph John Riddy presents ‘Palermo’
(2011–13), a series of beautifully composed black-and-whites of the Sicilian city.
John Riddy, 'Palermo (Giardini Inglese)', 2013 Courtesy the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London
Riddy’s archival pigment prints are depopulated, his subject the still and empty streets, parks and promenades of Palermo’s historic centre; without the bustle of people, in the words of critic Brian Dillon, the “photographs evince an extreme attentiveness to space and surface, colour and texture, monumental presence and vertiginous gaps or voids.”
Whistler on the Thames
The Fine Art Society, 17 April - 9 May 2013
Wednesday sees a wonderful looking show of James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s etchings and lithotints open at Bond Street’s Fine Art Society.
James McNeill Whistler, 'Nocturne', 1878
In the 1870s the American-born, British-based painter famously produced a series of oils of the River Thames known as ‘Nocturnes’. Whistler explained the title: ‘I wished to indicate an artistic interest alone, divesting the picture of any outside anecdotal interest which might have been otherwise attached to it. A nocturne is an arrangement of line, form and colour first.’ These formal qualities are even further emphasised by his graphic output.
The Rijksmuseum reopens
And finally, a reminder that Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum reopens on Saturday following its highly ambitious restoration and expansion project. Whatever the result of the architectural work, and by all accounts it is a tremendous transformation, it is a very welcome that so many world-class works by Dutch masters are now on view again.
Christopher Baker previews the reopening of what he calls the ‘greatest treasure house in the Netherlands’ in the Spring issue of RA Magazine, readable online here.
Sam Phillips is a London-based arts journalist and contributor to RA Magazine