5 amazing art shows to see this May

5 amazing art shows to see this May

30 Apr 2024

Where will you get your arts fix this month? These are the top exhibitions on our list

The Train, 2022, by Gabriella Boyd

1. Tender scenes

Head to Dumfriesshire in Scotland to CAMPLE LINE, an independent arts organisation, to see the arresting work of London-based artist Gabriella Boyd. Known for her sizzling approach to colour, Boyd’s works mix the representational with the abstract. She favours scenes of human encounter, creating dreamy, expressionistic art. She explores, she says, the ‘space between our physical experience of the world and our mental understanding of it… In that messy territory I seek out tenderness, humour, discomfort through paint.’ We particularly like this scene on a train in Boyd’s signature palette of greens, yellows, pinks and reds.

Until 2 June; campleline.org.uk

Southend Holiday, 1953. Image provided by Getty Images Archive, home of the Picture Post collection

2. Picture perfect

‘Everywhere I look, and most of the time I look, I see photographs.’ This was famed photojournalist Bert Hardy (1913–95), whose four-decade career saw him progress from sports photographer to serving war cameraman and advertising entrepreneur. Entirely self-taught, Hardy had a fantastic eye for an image that would linger long with its viewer. Perhaps best known for the influential photographs he captured for Picture Post magazine, he had a particularly empathetic take on working-class lives and everyday scenes of British life. See a rich selection of his works now in Bert Hardy: Photojournalism in War and Peace at The Photographers’ Gallery, London.

Until 2 June; thephotographersgallery.org.uk

Dylan Bowen’s ‘Thrown and Assembled Bottles’. Image: Courtesy the artist

3. Clay for today

Colour & Movement is the name of the current exhibition at the Leach Pottery in St Ives in  Cornwall. It features the work of both well-known and emerging potters who are drawn to working with colour, flowing forms and movement. Expect works from exciting makers Dylan Bowen, Jennifer Hall, Dawn Hajittofi, Heather Gibson and Tarragon Smith. From their hands come pots and pieces full of freedom and verve. All the works on show are for sale and the exhibition will continue online (10 June–7 July) after its staging at the pottery.

Until 19 May; leachpottery.com

Saul Leiter, Pull, c.1960. Image: © Saul Leiter Foundation

4. Leiter’s world

It’s a great month for aficionados of photography and here is our second recommendation for a must-see show devoted to the medium. The MK Gallery in Milton Keynes is the place to see a major survey of works by the American photographer Saul Leiter (1923–2013). Considered to be one of the most important practitioners of the post-war period and a pioneer of colour photography, Leiter photographed every day for 60 years. His landscape was New York City, with his East Village neighbourhood his favoured subject. He was also a gifted painter and in this show – Saul Leiter: An Unfinished World – featuring some 171 photographs, there will be a rare chance to see 40 of his paintings too.

Until 2 June; mkgallery.org

Tony Cragg’s Versus, bronze, 2012. Photographer: Michael Richter ©Tony Cragg Studio

5. Cragg at the Castle

Yorkshire’s majestic Castle Howard is familiar to thousands, not least for its outings as a glorious location for scenes from Brideshead Revisited and Bridgerton. This month it becomes a site for a spectacular arts opening, with its first major exhibition by a leading contemporary artist. Entitled Tony Cragg at Castle Howard, it features works by sculptor and Turner Prize winner Tony Cragg, which are to be seen in the historic interiors and across the landscape, and even in the celebrated Temple of the Four Winds. Look out for the artist’s famed Over the Earth, which will be presented outdoors for the first time. There will also be works on paper in sites indoors, such as the Great Hall.

3 May–22 September; castlehoward.co.uk

For more inspiring shows 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 to see’ sign up at theartssociety.org/signup

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