Art critic Tabish Khan brings you ‘The Top Art Exhibitions to see outside of London, in a new twist to his usual London-centric top 5. Each one comes with a concise review to help you decide whether it’s for you. If you’re looking for a London fix, see the Top exhibitions to see in London before Christmas:
Haroon Mirza: Waves and Forms @ John Hansard Gallery, Southampton
Colours pulse until my eyes aren’t sure what they’re seeing, a clap of my hands reverberates around a space and water appears to flow upwards in strobe lighting. Welcome to Haroon Mirza’s disorienting exhibition where a lot of work deals with a duration of six seconds — the time it’s claimed the average person spends looking at a painting in Le Louvre. Until 11 January.
George Stubbs: ‘all done from nature’ @ MK Gallery, Milton Keynes
Do you love horses? Well Stubbs really did painting them and sure he painted the rider too, but he didn’t really care too much about them. Stubbs is best know for his giant painting Whistlejacket, which is on loan from The National Gallery for this show, but this exhibition shows us his anatomical studies and his paintings of exotic creatures. It’s a fantastic chance to see that Stubbs was much more than a ‘horse painter’. Until 26 January.
The Outside and The Inside & Scottish Colourists: Burning Bright @ The Lightbox, Woking
From anguished screams to a drawing of an asylum, this exhibition looks at art created by those who consider themselves outsiders. The works are from the Ingram collection and the Outside In collection, the latter is a charity that also has an exhibition of outsider artists displayed in King’s Cross until 1 January. Back in Woking the Lightbox is also hosting the Scottish Colourists, who were inspired by the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. I liked F.C.B Cadell’s big bold blocks of colour and SJ Peploe’s still life paintings that clearly owe a debt to Cezanne. Until 5 & 12 January.
Homelands: Art from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh @ Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge
Rocks from a river that divides India and Bangladesh clang together just as cultures clash at borders, the ephemera that Rohingya refugees bring with them when fleeing persecution in Myanmar are displayed, and photographs tells the stories of immigrant families who moved to Cambridge. It’s a political exhibition that can be subtle at times, but it contains some truly moving works. Until 2 February.
The Rising Tide: Women at Cambridge @ Cambridge University Library
Cambridge was the last British university to grant degrees to women – only in 1948, 70 years after the University of London had already done so. This archival exhibition covers the difficult fight for equality, the women who came back in modern times to claim the degrees that were rightfully theirs and a rather strange debate around whether men and women should have access to toilet paper of the same quality. Until 21 March.
All images copyright artist and gallery other than: Haroon Mirza Photo: Peter Wessel, Stubbs photo Andy Keate, Homelands photo courtesy of Sohrab Hura.