Art & Exhibitions | Living North

What's On - Art & Exhibitions


Backshift: Bob Olley at 80
Until Sunday, May 10, 2020

Bob Olley started work at Whitburn Colliery when he was 17 years old, became an artist 11 years later, and has since captured the heart and humour of the North East in his work. From the Blaydon Races to the devastating miners’ strikes of the 1980s, the mural of the region’s famous faces at Monument Metro Station in Newcastle to the statue of Stan Laurel in Bishop Auckland, Bob’s oil paintings, sculptures and sketches are legendary. This exhibition is a fitting tribute to his talent and influence, celebrating his 80th birthday and his achievements during nearly half a century as a professional artist.

The Mining Art Gallery, Bishop Auckland
Illuminating The Self
Until Saturday, May 9, 2020

This display of new work by artists Susan Aldworth and Andrew Carnie is in response to groundbreaking research led by Newcastle University into developing a new treatment for epilepsy. Using a range of artistic techniques, including large scale video and sculptural installations, to explore the complex scientific, emotional and ethical issues that impact how people live with epilepsy today, both Susan and Andrew investigate the potential impact of technological interventions within the brain – with fascinating consequences.

Hatton Gallery, Newcastle
Chad McCail
Until Sunday, April 19, 2020

Chad McCail has spent three years developing a single, monumental new work for the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art. And here it is: an enormous, three-dimensional cityscape that fills the entire gallery and, like any city, contains all of the institutions we are familiar with: schools, factories, offices, hospitals and military sites. Full of extraordinary detail, Chad’s work transfigures realistic scenes into almost science-fiction scenarios, challenging all we think we know about our world.

Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland
Spring Exhibition
Until Monday, June 8, 2020

The Old School Gallery’s Spring Exhibition this year promises a celebration of all things paint-related: from the geometric-infused landscapes of Deborah Grice to the vibrant minimalism of Heidi Langridge, Cat Moore’s linocut prints to Adam Higton’s more playful paintings.

The Old School Gallery, Alnmouth
Received Wisdom
Until Sunday, May 10, 2020

Challenging the notion that creative radicalism is the preserve of youth, Received Wisdom brings together a vibrant body of work created by older artists. Dynamic, innovative, and wide-ranging, the exhibition challenges our assumptions about ageing and about what is expected of us at the different stages of our lives.  

National Glass Centre, Sunderland
Chasing The Rainbow
Until Saturday, April 18, 2020

They say a picture tells a thousand words, so prepare to be met with fascinating stories at every turn from the South Shields Photographic Society & South Shields Digital Group’s latest exhibition. Chasing The Rainbow brings together more than 200 captivating photographic images on display, ranging from landscape and wildlife to architecture, fashion and personal portraits – so there’s sure to be at least one that piques your interest.

South Shields Museum
Rena Effendi
Until Sunday, April 5, 2020

Bringing together works from three award-winning photographic series – Built on Grass (2014), Chernobyl: Still Life in the Zone (2010) and Khainaliq Village (2006) – this exhibition of photographer Rena Effendi’s images document the back-breaking chores of farmers working the land in traditional, almost medieval, fashion in meadows and hills in Romania, Azerbaijan and Chernobyl.

Side Gallery, Newcastle
Pre-Raphaelite Knights
Until Sunday, May 3, 2020

Explore a world of medieval myths and legends, of tales of heroic deeds and chivalric honour in The Bowes Museum’s newest exhibition. For the most part, the knights depicted by the Pre-Raphaelites in the 19th century were lovers as well as fighters, and world-class artworks by Rossetti, Millais and Burne Jones will help bring these many myths.

The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle
Pushing Paper
Until Sunday, May 17, 2020

Drawing is currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity, with artists increasingly choosing the medium as a means to examine the modern world. Illustrating how artists have experimented with the power of paper to express their ideas, and how they have pushed the medium in new directions over these last 50 years, this touring exhibition highlights the breadth and quality of the British Museum’s collection of modern art, as well as its global scope.

Oriental Museum, Durham
Animalesque / Art Across Species and Beings
Until Sunday, April 19, 2020

Bringing together an outstanding selection of artworks across media – including film and video, drawing and sculpture, installation and sound art – this exhibition invites visitors to rethink the human position in the world, its relationship to all other life forms and to the various complex ecologies that bond beings together.

Bring To Light
Until Sunday, September 6, 2020

Glass and ceramics have long been used as materials to make objects that contain light. These objects are practical – they keep us safe from open flames or they diffuse the glare of electric bulbs – but many artists have also used glass and ceramics to create beautiful light sources that also reflect cultural or religious significance, design styles of a particular time and the skill of mastering different techniques associated with glasswork. The National Glass Centre’s newest exhibition, consisting of works from National Glass Centre’s collection and loans from the V&A, aims to illuminate that lightbulb of an idea in the next generation of designers.

Between Distance and Desire
Until Friday, June 12, 2020

This group exhibition showcases the work of six international artists, who all draw their inspiration from an eclectic mix of sources: employing ideas found in aspects of the Renaissance, the depiction of women in the Pre-Raphaelite movement, the examination of form and structure by colourists such as Mattisse and Hockney, and source material from modern illustration. Blurring the edges of figurative painting while challenging its very tradition, Mark Demsteader, Ron Hicks, Quang Ho, Chris Gambrell, Elizabeth Power and John Smyth confront politics, society, storytelling and gender in this imaginative display.

The Hancock Gallery, Newcastle
Otobong Nkanga
Until Sunday, June 28, 2020

Otobong Nkanga prompts us to think about our relationships to land and the extraction of the world’s natural resources. Her tapestries, drawings, photographs, installations, videos and performances reflect on the environment and global systems of production and consumption, and offer a thought-provoking experience for young and old alike.

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art
William and Evelyn de Morgan
Until Saturday, June 20, 2020

William De Morgan was perhaps the most intriguing ceramic designer of the late Victorian period. He was life-long friends with William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones and created elaborate ceramics to complement their fashionable designs. In 1887, he married professional artist Evelyn Pickering, whose paintings bear the influence of her Pre-Raphaelite contemporaries, yet have a distinctive style and clearly projected her own political concerns. This exhibition explores the exceptional work of these two fascinating artists, described by Sir Edward Poynter, President of the Royal Academy, as ‘two of the rarest spirits of the age’.


The Vikings: Fact and Fiction
Saturday, April 4, 2020 - Sunday, September 6, 2020

Bringing to life the fascinating story of Viking life in Northumberland, this exhibition explores how they lived, how their arrival impacted the way of life on our shores, and what their legacy has been – and promises to impress with a number of original items on display from JORVIK’s unrivalled collection. Plus, there’s the chance for younger visitors to dress up as a bona fide norseman or woman and take part in a number of craft activities.

Bailiffgate Museum, Alnwick
Wednesday, April 29, 2020 - Saturday, June 27, 2020

Spring is a time of rebirth and revival – the perfect time of year to celebrate our local landscapes. And this exhibition at No. 42 promises to showcase some of the finest work inspired by nature from the North East’s most exciting local artists. You never know, you might just discover your new favourite piece.

No. 42, Bishop Auckland

More What's On

Bob Olley
Art & Exhibitions
Sofie Hagen
Events & Sport
L Devine
Music & Dance
Otobong Nkanga
What's On This Week

Follow us on Instagram

Never miss an issue... Subscribe

Social Channels

Follow us on Instagram