Talent on display in new year; Great artists living and dead will feature in the Laing Art Gallery's programme for 2018. DAVID WHETSTONE looks at what's coming our way.
tHE new year is coming in with a colourful splash at the Laing Art Gallery with big name artists such as Claude Monet, William Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and David Bomberg are to feature in major exhibitions.
We are also urged to look out for portraits of famous sitters including Naomi Campbell, Germaine Greer, John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
The Laing, run by Tyne and Wear Museums and Archives and located on New Bridge Street, has a wellearned reputation for great exhibitions and perhaps the good news is that there is still time, as 2017 gives way to 2018, to catch the splendid and inspiring Paul Nash exhibition.
It runs until January 14. It's one of those exhibitions with an admission charge but it's worth it.
Nash was a British Surrealist but also one of the most powerful chroniclers of the two world wars, capturing the bleak horror of the trenches and the beguiling vapour trails of Battle of Britain aerial dog fights.
The Laing advise that anyone who buys a ticket to see the exhibition in December will be entered into a prize draw to win an exhibition guidebook worth PS24.99. There's still time.
But to look ahead into the new year...
A major retrospective of the work of Sean Scully, renowned artist (twice nominated for the Turner Prize) and graduate of Newcastle University, is to open on February 10, spreading across the Laing and Hatton galleries. Born in Dublin but brought up in London, Scully is an abstract painter known for his stripes - a legacy, he has said, of his early years in Ireland when everything, the fields and even the people, appeared to be chequered.
The exhibition, running from February 10 to May 28, will feature paintings and drawings from 1968 to 1974. Scully, who is 72, is represented in most of the world's public collections.
Overlapping with the Scully exhibition will be another showing the work of David Bomberg (1890 to 1957), an artist, like Nash, who was profoundly affected by the First World War.
Born in Birmingham, he served on the Western Front, an experience which steered him away from the machine age influences of his early years.
According to the Laing, he endured 'scandalous critical neglect' during his lifetime but is now recognised as one of the leading British artists of the 20th century.
The exhibition, running from February 17 to May 28, will cover the major phases of his life and feature more than 60 works of art.
It's another of those exhibitions - vital in this time of austerity - when an admission charge will apply.
The Laing has also revealed its contribution to the Great Exhibition of the North, a rehang of its painting collection by Glenn Brown, the Hexham-born artist, alongside a new exhibition of his work.
A work by Brown was gifted to the gallery which was the first beneficiary of the Contemporary Art Society's Great Works scheme.
That exhibition will run at the Laing from June 16 to October 21 - for the duration of the Great Exhibition.
Stanley Spencer is always a popular attraction and his 1934 painting, The Dustman or The Lovers, will feature in the exhibition The Enchanted Garden, running at the Laing from June 23 until October 7.
Bound to be a blockbuster (admission charges will apply), it will feature major works by artists who used the garden as the setting for, as the Laing puts it, 'the extraordinary, the magical, the atmospheric and the nostalgic'.
Look out for those mentioned in the first paragraph of this article along with Edward Burne-Jones, Beatrix Potter, Pierre Bonnard, Lucien Pissarro, Patrick Heron, Francis Bacon, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.
The autumn of 2018 - it seems like a long way off but time flies - brings the portraits and two exhibitions which have the ring of popularity about them.
Exposed: The Naked Portrait will look at depictions of the unclad human figure from prehistory to the present day.
According to the Laing, which is curating the exhibition with the National Portrait Gallery, the exhibition will raise questions 'about identity and gender, the real and the ideal'.
It will run from October 27 until March 3, 2019.
Overlapping with it, running from November 10 until September 2019, will be Dressed to Impress, showcasing a wide range of portraits of clothed sitters from the collections of the Laing and Hatton galleries and also that of the Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead.
There will be an admission charge for the former but the latter will be free with donations welcome.
Check the Laing website - www.
laingartgallery.org.uk - for more details and updates.
The Dustmen or The Lovers by Stanley Spencer
In the end we all succumb to the pull of the molten core by Glenn Brown
Landscape from a Dream by Paul Nash