Serious start to new year with Coventry and Warwickshire exhibitions

begging near covent garden car park (2)
Begging near Covent Garden car park in Leamington by Josh King

For those prone to a bout of post-Christmas depression, the subject matter of several new exhibitions in Coventry and Warwickshire may not seem like the best antidote. However don’t be put off – the standard of work on show might actually cheer you up.

In Coventry, the Herbert is offering Caught in the Crossfire, which ‘explores how artists grapple with both the brutality of war and the desire for peace’.
It’s a large exhibition including works by a huge variety of artists from early last century to the present day. Some works will impress you more than others, but it’s well put together with some informative, intelligent and well-written extended captions to go with the artworks.
After the busy launch last week I’m planning a second visit as there’s so much to take in – a proper review will follow in the Friday art column in the Coventry Telegraph soon.
The Leamington Art Gallery & Museum is staging the first retrospective for sculptor John Bridgeman, who lived in or near Leamington for 40 years. Bridgeman, Head of Sculpture at Birmingham School of Art for 26 years, turned down an offer to be Henry Moore’s studio assistant, and was a conscientious objector in the Second World War.
One of his largest works here is Torture Wall, lots of individual models of victim or aggressor, and there are other pieces looking at the plight of refugees and war victims.
However he also made lots of wonderful pieces for children’s playgrounds, and it’s a shame many have since been lost for use. Again, a full review will follow in a Friday column.
At Gallery 150 in Leamington, photographer Josh King has taken homeless people in the town as his subject, and Iris Berger paints refugees, and the horrors of Anne Frank and the concentration camps.
Both are talented and don’t treat their subject matter lightly. A review of this exhibition should appear in the column this Friday, 1 February.
Josh will also be giving a talk about his work at the gallery in Regent Court Shopping Centre, Livery Street, tomorrow (Tuesday January 29) from 7 pm.


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