Counter Acts: Incomplete Histories 1984 – present

As the UK’s contemporary art scene gears up for the announcement of this year’s prestigious Turner Prize winner, University of the Arts London (UAL) has mounted a fascinating exhibition featuring the work of alumni, both teachers and students, who have either won or been nominated for the prize since its inception in 1984.

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Leo Villareal – Pace Gallery

A silver sun sends out waves in pulses that suddenly dissolve into a swirling mass of tadpole-like shapes. A molten core waxes and wanes while shooting stars erupt around it in seemingly endless and varied sequences. These white light installations, one nearly 40 foot wide, some as individual pieces, others as triptychs, are by American artist Leo Villareal in his first solo exhibition at London’s Pace Gallery.

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Homelands: Art from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan – Kettle’s Yard

Fierce nationalism and inter-religious tension in South Asia have been a constant feature of the region’s modern history, a legacy of Partition in 1947 and the struggle for independence for Bangladesh in 1971. Millions of people were displaced and millions were killed either directly or through famine. The resultant instability of concepts like home and nationality is explored  by 11 acclaimed artists in a new and stimulating exhibition at Cambridge’s Kettle’s Yard, curated by Dr Devika Singh, Curator of International Art at Tate Modern.

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Watch This Space – Lazinc Gallery

When you walk into a gallery, particularly one in Mayfair, you don’t expect to see such a hive of activity with paint being dripped, sets hammered, installations constructed, in other words a gallery being used as a working studio. For this is what is happening to the Lazinc Gallery for the coming weeks where some 25 contemporary urban artists from around the world will be transforming the place and offering the chance for visitors to watch the process of art in the making.

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Corey Whyte – Enter the Golden Quarter

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that my local garden centre was already stocking up for Christmas. Watching Santa’s grotto ready to be assembled in mid-September shouldn’t surprise me as it happens every year at this time, but somehow it did. Retailers term the run-up to Christmas and other holidays as The Golden Quarter. Sculptor Corey Whyte has appropriated the title for his first solo exhibition which looks at the way society operates within a culture of commodification and how society itself has become commodified.

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Nicole Wassall – Precious Mettle

For her new exhibition entitled Precious Mettle at London’s Fiumano Clase Gallery, British artist Nicole Wassall has created a series of works that serve both as aesthetic pieces in their own right and as metaphors for underlying themes prevalent in our society today. Thoughtful and thought-provoking, Wassall has managed to pull off the trick of using highly complex processes to create artworks that appear simple yet are anything but simplistic.

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Margaret Curtis – Surface

“I like the clay to speak for itself”, says ceramicist Margaret Curtis, speaking to me at the launch of her new exhibition, Surface, at the Contemporary Ceramics Centre in London. Her pieces, whether they be large vases and cylinders or small bottles and cups, have one thing in common – their imperfection. “I make them in the round, sort of precise, then I start pushing them and poking them and distorting them and let the movement of the clay give a lot of feeling.”

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