Art preview for 2017

ART AND SOUL:  David Hockney who will have a gallery dedicated to his life and work.
ART AND SOUL: David Hockney who will have a gallery dedicated to his life and work.
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2016 was a memorable year for the visual arts in Yorkshire and this year looks set to be another. Yvette Huddleston takes a looks at just some of the highlights.

Last year was another outstanding year for the visual arts in Yorkshire with a number of venues offering memorable, world-class exhibitions – and 2017 looks as though it could be of a similar vintage.

The Hepworth Wakefield continues to distinguish itself as one of the finest contemporary art spaces not only in the region, but the whole of the UK with artists from all over the world lining up to exhibit there. The national and international spotlight landed on the gallery in 2016 when it hosted both the largest Stanley Spencer retrospective for 15 years and initiated the Hepworth Prize, the UK’s first ever prize for sculpture.

This year their programme includes Approaching Thunder: British Prints and Drawings 1939-50 which opens in February and will feature work from leading modern British artists including Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland, John Piper and William Scott. Major new exhibitions include Disobedient Bodies, a response by one of the world’s most acclaimed contemporary fashion designers J W Anderson to Wakefield’s impressive collection of modern British art.

Leeds Art Gallery is scheduled to reopen on October 13 – and have programmed an Artist Rooms exhibition about German-born 20th century conceptual artist Joseph Beuys and an extensive redisplay of their collection in the newly restored spaces. In the meantime, elsewhere in Leeds the Tetley continues to programme interesting, challenging exhibitions in the attractive former brewery building and the hidden gem that is the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery within the University of Leeds consistently punches above its weight and the Henry Moore Institute will be showcasing the work of pioneering British artist Roy Ascott from January 25 to April 23.

Over in York, in April the Art Gallery will be presenting the first solo exhibiton of York-born artist Alber Moore since his death in 1893 and Bradford’s Cartwright Hall will be helping David Hockney to celebrate his 80th birthday this year by opening a new permanent gallery dedicated to his life and work in July.

Mercer Gallery curator Jane Sellars continues to champion women artists – this month a new exhibition opens at the Harrogate gallery showcasing the work of artist and illustrator Isabel Alexander. Described by admirers as ‘the English Georgia O’Keefe’, Alexander, who died in 1996, trained at the Slade School of Art in London in the 1930s.

Sheffield Museums have a diverse programme across their galleries. As a taster – in the Millennium Gallery from February to May What Can Be Seen is a new exhibition by international artists Tim Ethells and Vlatka Horvat who will be reimagining Sheffield’s collections. The show will explore how we attempt to understand the world through history science, art, story and the act of collecting itself. In the Graves Gallery from March to July An Earthly Paradise: Gardens in Art looks at the different ways in which artists have captured gardens in their work from humble back yards to grand public spaces.

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park has its 40th anniversary this year and to celebrate they have some pretty special exhibitions lined up including the biggest UK show to date by leading sculptor Tony Cragg.

So whatever your taste, there’s plenty to look forward to.