Published: 12:45, 21 January 2015
SELF IMAGE AND IDENTITY
Turner Contemporary, Margate
More than 100 self-portraits from the 16th century to the present day show how artists have chosen to represent their identities through painting, drawing, sculpture, photography and film.
Ranging from old masters such by Sir Anthony Van Dyck through to recent work by contemporary artists such as Yinka Shonibare, the development of the “selfie” will be considered through a series of themes including history, celebrity, collecting, gender, mortality and contemporary approaches.
Artists have been recreating their own image for centuries. From self-advertisement and preserving legacy, to figurative studies, political commentary, self-portraiture has shaped Western art.
Central to the exhibition is the last known self-portrait by Van Dyck, court painter to Charles I. Regarded as Britain’s first “celebrity” artist, he was also the most influential portrait painter ever to have worked in Britain and his legacy was to last for the next three centuries.
His self-portrait was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in 2014. The venue for Self: Image and Identity, Turner Contemporary will be the first venue where visitors can see Van Dyck’s self-portrait as it sets off on a three-year national tour.
Other artists featured in the exhibition include Louise Bourgeois, John Constable, Tracey Emin, Lucian Freud, Damien Hirst, David Hockney and JMW Turner.
Self: Image and Identity starts on Saturday, January 24, until Sunday,
May 10. Entry is free. Visit www.turnercontemporary.org
RALPH STEADMAN: A RETROSPECTIVE
The iconic artwork of Loose-based illustrator Ralph Steadman is most associated with the cult novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson.
A retrospective exhibition at Maidstone Museum, put together by the Cartoon Museum in London, celebrates Ralph’s long career as one of the most important graphic artists of the last 50 years.
Coming up soon, there will be a chance to enjoy an evening session with the artist on Thursday, January 29. The 5.30pm event will begin with a talk by Anita O’Brien, curator of the Cartoon Museum, and shortly after, Ralph himself will make a virtual appearance for a special Skype Q&A.
The floor will be open for anyone to ask questions, with the most interesting question, as decided by Ralph himself, rewarded with a prize.
On display within the exhibition are many of Ralph’s early cartoons published by Private Eye and Punch, including his earliest published cartoon from the July 1956 Manchester Evening Chronicle, as well as his later pieces for The New York Times and Observer.
Many of Steadman’s famous “gonzo” works from his collaboration with the writer Thompson are shown, including the famous Fear and Loathing illustrations.
Alongside these are Ralph’s seminal children’s books illustrations like The Big I am, Animal Farm and Through the Looking-Glass, demonstrating his range.
The exhibition in Maidstone Museum runs until Saturday, February 28. Entry costs £3 for adults and £2 for concessions. Entry to the museum is free. Visit www.museum.maidstone.gov.uk or call 01622 602838.
Horsebridge Arts Centre, Whitstable
Soil is the unlikely theme of an exhibition which has resulted from an open challenge set to the arts community. The task from Kent Creative Arts was to submit work based around the title of the exhibition - Soil.
In total, 148 pieces of artwork were submitted by 79 Kent-based artists, covering a variety of mediums including painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, textile, video, music, ceramics, and installations.
Those who entered include Mina Cullimore, who submitted Waiting For Spring.
She said: “This painting is one of the views that I see every day in Broad Oak Valley (near Canterbury) where I live. I love drawing and painting the fields and hedgerows where I lived for over three decades.
“The soil in the fields has been ploughed and is awaiting sowing in the spring. Everything is subdued in hues of browns and greens, but the grasses on the borders and nearby pasture offers lovely warm greens promising the return of warmer days.”
Meanwhile, Mark Thatcher said by way of explanation of his amusing print, titled Winnie: “A father dealing with a soiled nappy; a mundane domestic event portrayed with the bold dynamics of a 1960s comic book.”
See the works on display at Whitstable Horsebridge centre until Tuesday, January 27. Entry is free. Visit www.kentcreativelive.org