What to see this week
Howard Hodgkin: Absent Friends is at the National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London WC2, from March 23 to June 18 (020– 7321 6600; www.npg.org.uk/ hodgkin) This first exhibition of Hodgkin’s portraits is a fitting memorial to the great British painter, who died two weeks ago aged 84. For all their abstract quality, Hodgkin’s works are rooted in their subject. He called himself ‘a representational painter, but not a painter of appearances’ and developed a visual language to convey the emotions associated with a situation or person, to capture memory. The exhibition traces the development of his portraiture from 1949 to his latest paintings, among his subjects Peter Blake, Patrick Caulfield and David Hockney (left: DH in Hollywood, 1980–84).
The Royal Society of British Artists 300th Annual Open Exhibition is at the Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1, until April 1 (www.mallgalleries.org.uk) Selling show of more than 550 paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture sourced from member artists and through open submission. Prices start at £125.
This spring sees two major solo exhibitions dedicated to one of Britain’s most respected abstract artists. at Alan Cristea Gallery, 43, Pall Mall, London SW1, until April 22 (020–7439 1866; www.alancristea.com) features early paintings not seen before alongside new ones and recent woodcut prints. The largest ever show of the 87 year old’s work is at the National Museum, Cardiff, from April 8 to September 3 (www.museum.wales/cardiff). A new monograph, Gillian Ayres, by Martin Gayford and David Cleaton-roberts, is published by Art/books.
Highland—construction of an Identity is at The Fine Art Society in Edinburgh, 6, Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3, until April 15 (0131– 557 4050; www.fasedinburgh.com) Works for sale by acclaimed artists such as Sir D. Y. Cameron and Horatio Mcculloch raise questions of identity and Romanticism through their focus on the physical and cultural landscape of the Highlands.