5 amazing art shows to see this February

5 amazing art shows to see this February

31 Jan 2024

Brighten up your month with these top exhibitions from around the country

Travelling Days, screenprint by Mary May

1. Inspiring journeys

Set up in 1967, Edinburgh Printmakers has grown into one of Europe’s largest open-access studios for printmaking and the visual arts, with more than 200 members in the Scottish capital and beyond. Its current exhibition, Journey, is celebrating the organisation’s own journey from small artists’ collective to flourishing creative hub, and brings together works by 78 members, loosely themed around travel. Spanning a range of print media, from paper and animation to three-dimensional pieces, this colourful show might just inspire you to try one of the studio’s printmaking courses for yourself. 

Until 17 March 


Andrew Cranston, cat and cheeseboard (2018). Image: On loan from a private collection. Courtesy of the artist Andrew Cranston and Ingleby, Edinburgh. Photo: Andy Keate

2. Discover Cranston’s world 

Scottish artist Andrew Cranston has developed a niche but devoted following for painting what international magazine Apollo described as ‘scenes of wry humour and subtle horror’. The Hepworth Wakefield in Yorkshire has become the first public gallery to mount a solo show of his work with its current exhibition Andrew Cranston: What made you stop here? Alongside large-scale canvases, it features Cranston’s signature small-scale paintings on hardback book covers – a practice he attributes to running out of other materials to paint on. Animals, such as cats, snakes and goldfish, often feature, along with people, domestic interiors and landscapes. This is intriguing, dreamy and frequently unsettling art.

Until 2 June


On Episode Seven, 2020, Kimathi Donkor. Image: Courtesy of the Artist and Niru Ratnam, London. Photo: Kimathi Donkor

3. Pastures new

Painted while artist Kimathi Donkor’s wife was expecting their first child, On Episode Seven is part of a series setting out to capture what he has called, ‘Happiness, beauty, calm that one can encounter… through day-to-day experiences’. Donkor’s joyful take on the pastoral is one of many deeply personal examples of landscape art going on display in Dulwich Picture Gallery’s spring show Soulscapes. In an exhibition space more usually associated with old European landscape masters, it features more than 30 contemporary works exploring our connection with the world around us by leading and emerging artists from the African diaspora.

14 February–2 June


William Blake’s America A Prophecy, plate 12, ‘Thus wept the Angel Voice’ c.1793–1821. Image: © The Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge​

4. Blake in context

Artist, poet and printmaker William Blake is often seen as a fiercely individual visionary, but a new exhibition at Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum places his extraordinary output in the wider context of 18th- to 19th-century European art. For William Blake’s Universe, opening this month, the museum is delving into its own impressive Blakeian holdings, including this hand-coloured copy of his illustrated book America A Prophecy, his mythological treatment of the American Revolution. Also on display are works by Blake’s European peers, the German Romantics Philipp Otto Runge and Caspar David Friedrich, who shared his belief in the redemptive powers of art on society.

23 February–19 May


The British Library’s Malorie Blackman exhibition, designed by POoR Collective. Photo: Andy Stagg​

5. Catch it while you can! 

There’s still time to catch the British Library’s exhibition celebrating one of the UK’s best-loved writers for children and young people, Malorie Blackman OBE. Created with input from pupils from a local high school, Malorie Blackman: The Power of Stories includes memorabilia and video introductions from the author herself. Highlights include Blackman’s original synopsis for her publisher of her landmark alternative reality novel-turned-series Noughts and Crosses. Inspired in part by the racially motivated murder of teenager Stephen Lawrence, it was once described by its author as ‘the most painful, personal, challenging, cathartic and satisfying book I’d written to date’.

Until 25 February 


For more inspirational shows and happenings, see The Arts Society Magazine, available exclusively to members and supporters of The Arts Society (to join, see theartssociety.org/member-benefits). And for our online monthly ‘5 amazing art shows’, sign up at theartssociety.org/signup

About the Author

Claire Sargent

is a freelance editor and writer with a keen interest in culture and conservation


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