With many of these shows now planned to run at least in part during the present lockdown, these exhibitions could offer an antidote for – or at least a distraction – the challenges of continuing restrictions.
“I started to paint clouds and skies as a sort of therapeutic activity,” says Swedish-born artist Joakim Allgulander, who splits his time between studios in the UK and Italy. “I didn’t use pre-existing images or paint au plein air, I just painted from my head, using different methods for applying or removing paint from the canvas.”
His series of cloud paintings, all measuring 2ft x 187in (60 x 45cm), are among the offerings at Exile on East Street: Solitude and Escapism, a show dedicated to his recent works at London’s Fiumano Clase gallery. The show opened in the gallery and now runs online. However, its closing date of December 12 could mean there is time to visit the physical show should the current lockdown end after its projected four weeks.
“I felt like I was in a strange but creative exile during this period,” the artist adds, reflecting the mood that many artists seem to have harnessed in the spring.
Swiss artist Conrad Jon Godly used the period to work extensively on large-scale pieces reflecting the power of mountains, a favourite subject of his. Eighteen of his monumental mountain scenes are on offer in the exhibition Nevertheless running at Mayfair’s JD Malat Gallery.
“I made a break and I took time to think deeply about our world, our society, the politicians…how humans destroy our planet. In these difficult times people are longing for real things,” he says.
Even so, the peaks that fill Godly’s works are often partly fanciful. Drawing on memories of the landscapes of his native country as well as lighting effects learned during nearly 20 years’ experience as a photographer, he paints mountains primarily from memory and imagination. Like Allgulander’s cloud paintings, Godly’s mountain pieces are all the same size, 4ft 11in x 4ft 3in (1.5 x 1.3m), offering a potentially meditative experience for the viewer.
Each work is priced from £30,000-40,000 in the show, which is available in the gallery’s online viewing room, on Artnet, Artsy and Artland and via a virtual tour from November 19. It closes on January 9.
Finally, British artist Susie MacMurray responded to feelings of being trapped, helpless and starved of physical human contact in her art during the first lockdown.
A series of sculptures and installations on offer in her show Murmur at Pangolin London in King’s Cross combine velvet with barbed wire – materials she has returned to in reflecting her feelings. The exhibition, which runs until December 22, includes earlier velvet and wire works as well as a series of bronze and silver casts made in the Pangolin Editions foundry.