Emma Stibbon – Fire and Ice

There’s a certain cinematic quality to much of Emma Stibbon’s work. Her landscape paintings, prints and drawings that have earned her an international reputation, depict environments in a state of turmoil and flux. Erupting volcanoes and retreating glaciers and ice shelves, are meat and drink to her. Her new solo exhibition, Fire and Ice, conveys a sense of drama, not only with what you see in the pictures themselves but also with the way in which they were made.  Her subjects show that apparent monumental and permanent geological structures can often turn out to be fragile at the hands of nature and mankind.

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Mao Jianhua – The Spirit of the Valley

“When you paint, you should feel empty and calm and the painting will come out automatically, full of energy, full of life.” So says 64-year-old Chinese artist Mao Jianhua whose first UK exhibition, The Spirit of the Valley has opened at London’s Saatchi Gallery.

The exhibition comprises a series of 48 landscapes in ink on paper rooted very much in the ancient Chinese tradition of Shan Shui. They reflect the  philosophy of universal harmony and immortality.  

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Paula Rego – Obedience and Defiance

There’s a scene in her son Nick Willing’s BBC documentary, timed to coincide with the opening of this exhibition, in which Paula Rego tells that the first thing her future husband said to her at a party in the 1950s was to ask her to take her knickers off. She complied. It seemed to encapsulate so much of the essence of this remarkable show at MK Gallery – explicit, sexually charged and compliant.

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Caught in the Net – Erub Arts

You will have to have been stranded on a remote desert island over the past couple of years not to be aware of the danger to our planet and to our wildlife of plastic pollution. TV programmes such as Blue Planet have regaled us with shocking images of how plastic is choking the life out of sea creatures, and the food industry is almost falling over itself now to reduce plastic bags and packaging to help reduce our dependence on the material.

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Lis Rhodes – Dissident Lines

Inequality, social injustice, corruption, statelessness, discrimination, over-surveillance – these are the kind of topics that have consumed Lis Rhodes’s art for five decades. Her passion and conviction shine through in the first-ever major survey exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary. Dissident Lines traces her development from the 1970s to her new work Ambiguous Journeys, created specially for the show. 

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