Various Artists – The Lie of the Land

The portrait above suggests how the aristocracy and the English landscape are as harmonious and natural as the sun that shines down on the rolling hills of the estate over which its subject, Mr Plampin, lauds.

It was around the time that Gainsborough painted the picture that landed estates, sculpted by landscape artists such as Capability Brown, were opened up to the public as places of leisure and which came to influence the British obsession with parks and gardens. The first to do so was Stowe Gardens in Buckinghamshire and part of the theme of Lie of the Land is to trace a line between Stowe and the urban experiment that is Milton Keynes only 15 miles away and which forms the inaugural exhibition in the city’s sparkingly refurbished Milton Keynes Gallery.

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Johan van Mullem – Reverence

When I look at Johan van Mullem’s paintings, I’m reminded of that Bob Dylan phrase “smoke rings of my mind”. For the Belgian artist’s instantly recognisable works are ethereal evocations of his subconscious, dreamily configured as abstracts within a barely recognisable face. The artist pours his emotions on to the canvas, almost peering inside his head, and using expressive brushstrokes to create something striking, haunting and mysterious.

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Andrew McIntosh – I Saw This Coming

This new exhibition by Scottish artist Andrew McIntosh features eight new oil paintings of largely run-down buildings, most of them in south-east London where he lives. It’s appropriate, therefore, that they should be on display at the Bo.Lee gallery in Peckham. 

They’re rendered in extraordinary detail and texture, almost like a photograph, with deft mark making rendering every fine detail of decay and decrepitude. The closer you look the more surreal and multi-themed the buildings become.

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Rebecca Appleby – Inner Order

Rebecca Appleby is more than a ceramicist. She is an all-round artist who uses ceramics as her canvas. Her abstract pieces are sculptures informed by art, architecture and industrial archaeology. Her work over the past two decades has centred on an exploration of the contemporary urban landscape and its relationship with nature. Now she has a mostly new body of work, Inner Order, just opened at London’s Contemporary Ceramics Centre. 

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Bernard Jacobson – Prints I Published

On your left as you go down the stairs of the Bernard Jacobson Gallery are a series of miniature prints whose makers are a roll-call of some of the greatest talents of the British art scene of the 1960s and beyond – Richard Hamilton, Patrick Caulfield, Ivor Abrahams, William Tillyer, Peter Blake, Eduardo Paolozzi, David Hockney, Robyn Denny, Richard Smith as well as the American Ed Ruscha. And you haven’t yet reached the more than 100 works in the main gallery!

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