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Culture Vulture

Art shows to see in the city by Emma Beatty

Rebecca Crow of Jack House Gallery and Derek Boshier

If you haven’t been to Portsmouth City Museum for a while, pop in; there’s a new room of the Sherlock Holmes display (useful if you’re interested in trends in graphic design). Upstairs in the art gallery, there’s a display of prints, drawings and sculpture by members of the Royal Academy to celebrate its 250th anniversary. There are about 90 works, all from the city’s own collection, by the likes of David Hockney, Henry Moore, Elizabeth Blackadder, Elisabeth Frink and Lynn Chadwick. Until 24 February next year.

Aspex in Gunwharf has new work by the artist Will Cruickshank. He makes fascinating hybrids of weaving and sculpture – sometimes mixing coloured threads in with plaster to create strangely beautiful new forms: fluorescent pink and moss green threads poke out of plaster cylinders, like the hairs on a plant or animal. Sizeable carved plaster and carved wood pieces dot the gallery’s floor space, with intricate weavings hanging on the walls. It’s a strange mix of the delicate and the hefty.

Cruickshank’s studio in Essex is in three converted grain silos where he experiments with improvised lathes, makeshift weaving machines and printing presses to make works from timber, concrete, plaster, wool, thread and paint. Look on his Instagram account to see some of the weird and wonderful contraptions at work. The show is sponsored by the Henry Moore Foundation and Knauf (one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of plaster, plasterboard). Until 16 September.

Inspired by Cruickshank’s zany creations, Aspex has organised its own tribute in The Inventors. It will commission three artists to explore new ways of making through a series of workshops, exhibitions and artist residencies across the city, from Gunwharf Quays to Buckland Activity Playground culminating at the Victorious Festival. They’re working with the Makers Guild too – the artist space in the Guildhall.

Jack House Gallery on Portsmouth High Street has become a beacon of quality art exhibitions. Its latest brings works by Portsmouth-born Derek Boshier, a key figure in the British Pop Art movement who designed The Clash’s album covers, and worked closely with David Bowie. He now lives in Los Angeles but knows gallery-owner Rebecca Crow so has lent works for this show 7 September-13 October. He’s a prolific painter and film maker, and never stops drawing. There will be a lot of drawings in the show: some funny, and some quite political. He’s also produced a series for the gallery called ‘Ghosts of Portsmouth’, a collection of famous people and fictional characters from Portsmouth.

Also on show will be large paintings of David Bowie as well as the original drawings for The Clash Songbook 2 series from 1979. Boshier used to teach Clash frontman Joe Strummer at the Central School of Art and Design in London, where Strummer briefly flirted with the idea of becoming a professional cartoonist, and completed a one-year foundation course. The two remained friends; hence Strummer commissioned him to design the band’s album cover. Likewise, Boshier was friends with Bowie until his death, and collaborated with him several times. There’ll be an evening of Boshier’s films hosted by the artist on 26 September and an opening talk by the art historian Marco Livingstone, a friend of Boshier, on the opening night.

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