The start of the year can feel sluggish or chaotic for many, but thankfully we have visual arts to keep us grounded. The world of exhibitions never quite stops so even at this slower time, we have lots of new shows to look forward to.
The Whitworth invites us to look at queer art with new eyes in the brand new exhibition (Un)Defining Queer – a major display examining history, language and the existing narratives to reveal the complexity of what ‘queer’ really means today. The show features fantastic artists from Derek Jarman and Wolfgang Tilman to Maggi Hambling.
Visit Thackray Museum of Medicine to see Private Parts (don’t worry, not quite that literally!) – an exhibition all about bodily taboos, sexual health and gender identities, explored with humour, ease and empathy. This one’s recommended for visitors aged 16+.
While there’s no leading motif for this month’s new openings, Kathryn Maple’s show at The Walker and the Hepworth Wakefield’s Magic in this Country: Hepworth, Moore and the Land share a fascination with that most universal of subjects – landscape. Maple focuses on extreme weather phenomena with the use of distinctive mark-making, while the sculpture display examines how the land influenced the two- and three-dimensional output of some of the most famous British sculptors.
Moving on, we have Williamson Gallery’s display of work by textile artist Michael Brennand-Wood and his hyper-focused research on lace. His work is varied, unexpected and will certainly change the viewers’ perception of the seemingly delicate material.
In Leeds, we have The Tetley’s new poetic offering with Samra Mayanya’s in-depth exploration of ‘lostness’, based on a 1902 text from a secretary-scribe Ham Mukasa from Buganda (present-day Uganda). Back in Manchester, El Morgan weaves her personal experience with her signature playfulness to create Tale of the Frozen Bits, a show all about the history of fertility drugs and the surrounding medical structures.
You can still catch First Breath, an installation of vertical beams of light that visualises the moment that a child takes their first gasp of air, located at the site of Factory International.
Here are our picks
The colourful display ranges from personal stories of individual journeys of people discovering their gender identities to discussions of pleasure and sexual health. Private Parts a safe space for visitors to learn and discuss the complexities of these traditionally taboo topics.
Brennand-Wood’s work is ambitious, experimental and often large-scale. None of these are usually associated with lace yet the artist’s work is inspired by in-depth research on exactly this material and a fearless desire to push his mediums as far as possible.
Visit the Portico Library as it’s about to embark on an exciting new chapter in its journey, and learn more about its plans for the future and the inspirations behind the original building.
Liam Spencer has spent a lot of time with the River Irwell and the results of this relationship can be seen in the Whitaker’s new exhibition, one that is visually beautiful and carries a hopeful message about the natural world.
Starkey’s powerful compositions take centre stage in this thorough survey of the photographer’s oeuvre, from the moment of her graduation 20 years ago where she was first noticed, until now as she continues to produce images that focus on women.
Admire Rachel Goodyear’s skilful drawings peppered with symbolism and mythological references at her ‘homecoming’ home this summer, on display at Salford Museum & Art Gallery.
Bury Art Shop, Bury Art Museum, Moss Street, Bury, Greater Manchester, BL9 0DR - Visit now
The perfect place to find gifts, stationery, cards, children’s books and, most importantly, museum souvenirs if you want to take home a little reminder of your visit and the gallery’s wonderful collections.
Experience YBA artist Damien Hirst’s towering and provocative outdoor sculptures at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Stop and spend an hour or two with this special creation, nestled within a stand of birch trees beside Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s Upper Lake.
The Pankhurst Centre’s new permanent exhibition offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of the people behind the iconic Pankhurst name.
Whether you have never put pencil to paper or have been honing your artistic skills for years, Bee Creative studio runs life drawing sessions for people of all abilities.
MOSTYN is currently hosting a major solo show by Wales’ most internationally recognised artist Cerith Wyn Evans with a show entitled ‘….)(‘.
Prepare to get hands-on, with your ears and hearts open, at a new major exhibition exploring the science of music’s mysterious hold over us and how it drives us to create, perform, feel and share.
‘Pure Brilliance: The Boodles Story’ takes viewers on a journey full of sparkle, glamour and some of the finest jewels you’ll see, on the Lady Lever Art Gallery’s 100th anniversary year.
Visit the BALTIC to experience Jala Wahid’s ‘inferno’, an exploration of Kurdish identity, Britishness and diaspora through the lens of oil.