Coventry and Warwickshire offer the best in big-name art shows

Paula Rego, The Bride’s Secret Diary, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, Rugby Borough Council © Paula Rego
THIS spring the London art world features a host of big-name exhibitions – but you can avoid the crowds and still see some excellent works in the Coventry and Warwickshire area.
In London, you can be sure to be in a big crowd seeing exhibitions of works by David Hockney, Lucian Freud, Damien Hirst, Yayoi Kusama, and shortly the Bauhaus design exhibition.
But at Compton Verney there’s lesser-known Gainsborough landscapes on show, plus in Into the Light great works by Renoir, Cezanne, Sisley, Monet, Whistler, Pisarro and lots more great artists. And although you pay to get in, there’s also the great permanent collection, with the naïve art on the top floor offering lots of treats.
Rugby Art Gallery and Museum has all the fantastic Rugby Collection on show for the first time, 175 items, including a good selection of women artists – Paula Rego, Bridget Riley, Prunella Clough, Maggi Hambling – and other well-known names such as Leon Kossoff, Bryan Wynter, Graham Sutherland and Lucian Freud. It would be mad to miss it. (see a full review in the Coventry Telegraph on May 4)

In Coventry, The Herbert’s watercolours of Coventry and Warwickshire exhibition includes George Shaw and David Cox, plus lots more artists who have painted familiar scenes of the area.
Leamington Art Gallery and Museum’s next show, opening on Thursday, is called New Art for a New Age: Optimism in Post-War British Abstraction and features works by artists including Terry Frost, Barbara Hepworth, Patrick Heron and Eduardo Paolozzi.
The smaller galleries haven’t been quiet either, with Matthew Macaulay’s Pluspace studio open during April highlighting talented artists with local links, and Emma O’Brien’s The Lock opening with an exhibition by Katie O next weekend, and BRINK staging an exhibition by Horace Panter at the Talisman Theatre also from next weekend. Gallery 150 in Leamington continues to be busy, with a photography exhibition by Jane Murray at the moment.
If anyone says you have to go down to London to see big name and interesting art tell them otherwise – Coventry and Warwickshire can offer a lot at the moment.


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