The nights may be drawing in but the UK arts scene shows no signs of winding down for the winter. Our pick of the shows this week takes us north for Barnaby Barford’s iconoclastic ceramics, south for an Indian-inspired show in Brighton and to Liverpool, for the re-opening of a photography powerhouse.
Mitch Epstein Open Eye Gallery
Some 34 years after first opening, Open Eye Gallery last week unveiled its brand new gallery space just a stone’s throw from Tate Liverpool. And it’s a humdinger of a comeback show, focussed on Mitch Epstein’s fascinating photographs of small-town America, which explore: “the complex interplay between different forms of power.” Upstairs the gallery archive show features Chris Steele-Perkins’ portraits of England in the 1980s, documenting the social mores of a world that feels so familiar, and yet so foreign. A fine opening salvo in the gallery’s exciting new chapter. The show runs until December 23.
Ragamala Paintings Brighton Museum and Art Gallery
If you like your paintings miniature and Indian, then there is literally no better place to be than Brighton over the next few weeks. Ragamalas, or music-inspired paintings, were a staple of the subcontinent’s culture for four centuries and they are rich with detail, symbolism and intense colour. This exhibition explores their role and the changing fashions in Ragamala paintings over the years. It runs until January 8.
Barnaby Barford The Laing Art Gallery
One of the most perceptive chroniclers of contemporary society, Barnaby Barford is back with The Big Win: A Modern Morality Tale which charts the story of a layabout who wins the lottery. Loosely inspired by Hogarth’s famous Rake’s Progress, it’s a lovingly created homage to a tale with which we’re familiar, complete with Barford’s bitingly prescient social commentary, turned both on the main subject and our own prejudices and preconceptions. Six of the seven sculptures are on display, the final one will be made based on gallery-goers suggestions. It runs until September 2012.