The 5 best painting exhibitions to see in London

Tabish Khan on @LondonArtCritic chooses his best exhibitions to see at the moment, this time the emphasis is on painting. Each comes with a concise review to help you decide if it’s for you. Those looking for more exhibits should check out its Mayfair Exhibits, all of which are still open for viewing..

Richard Estes: Voyages @ Newport Street Gallery
Beautiful landscapes with mountains and busy streets of the city of Manhattan are reflected in the glass facades. It’s shocking to realize that these are not photographs but photorealistic paintings that are so detailed they are breathtaking. Richard Estes is an artist who rose to prominence in the 1960s, but I had never heard of him before, so it’s great to see a collection of his works with a fresh outlook. Until December 12.

Christen Sveaas Art Foundation: This Is The Night Mail @ Whitechapel Gallery
I have always loved the Whitechapel Gallery’s program of having a free exhibition featuring works from an impressive private collection. So it is with this busy salon, all selected from the Christen Sveaas Art Foundation selected by Ida Ekblad around the theme of the night mail – a poem by WH Auden. This is a reason to bring the starry landscape of Harald Sohlberg alongside a first anguished portrait of Munch, among dozens of other artists and their various works. Until January 2.

Rabia Farooqui: two adults and an attachment @ Kristin Hjellegjerde, Wandsworth
There is a narrative in these beautiful figurative paintings that always hovers out of reach. What is the relationship between humans and animals, why don’t the characters have faces and do they each paint multiple scenes? It’s up to us to weave our own stories from these paintings. Until October 9.

Daniel Crews-Chubb: Aftermath of the game @ Wellington Arch
Not many people know that you can get inside Wellington Arch, let alone find contemporary art there. Six large-scale figurative paintings by Daniel Crews-Chubb are based on Rubens’ Consequences of War series – particularly apt given that the arch itself is a monument to military victory. These thick-layered paintings can provide a stark contrast to the architecture of the arch itself, but this is the perfect place to house them, part of a collaboration between English Heritage and Vigo Gallery. Until March 2022.

Fran Giffard: A Valediction @ Northcote Gallery
Bright tropical birds are painted on the pages of Fran Giffard’s diary so that we can see his art, blending in with his personal thoughts. The text can range from something as everyday as a cooking recipe or a to-do list, to a diary entry on a recent vacation. It is a window on his life and of course his love of beautiful birds. Until October 3.

Image from the Whitechapel Gallery courtesy of the Christen Sveaas Art Collection. All other images are copyrighted by the Artist and Courtesy Gallery.


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Tabish khan

Art critic for FAD and Londonist. See as many exhibits as possible and write reviews, opinion pieces and a weekly top 5 for FAD.

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