The presence or absence of Bridget Bardot in 'Contempt' lies at the core of Amie Siegel's dizzying combination of text and film works playing off Goddard's 1963 film and Alberto Moravia's novel 'A Ghost at Noon', 1954, on which it is itself based. Quite possibly the cleverest show currently on view - as I explain more fully in the February issue of Art Monthly.
You don't have to travel so far as Katie Paterson's big show at Margate to get an art-dose of the universe in action (though I recommend it - as here). This combination of Hannah Luxton's cosmically minimal paintings ('Star Stream', 2019 above) with Julie F Hill's entrancing 40 minute film of deep space and cascading sculptures of stars in a river of time will also do the job.
Peter Matthews: The End Is Where They Start From at Beers London to 23 Feb
A thoroughly enjoyable parade of wit over two twenty minute cycles in a recommended viewing of painting, sculpture, performance and film: one in a darkened space with films, one in the light with performances. 'Work No. 2919 Tree of art' 2018 is the most visually minimal in a packed show of 'difficult thoughts' which prove disarmingly simple. It seemed a touching metaphor of creative growth until I started reading it as 'Fart'.
‘Epistemologies (shamed cabinet)’ 2018 sees wounding and liberation – here from the constraints of institutional display – come together in the limping potential escape of a cabinet. What’s more, they’ve found a use for lever arch files, of which a huge pre-digital surplus remains. Darling makes an intriguing job of the ‘Art Now’ room, sparked by the story of St Jerome and the lion, more typically an art historical subject but here the starting point for an epistolary exchange between Darling and a priest who is also transgender, and which leads in to the room’s many and varied works on themes of healing, control and the subjugation of otherness.
Heather Phillipson: My Name is Lettie Eggsyrub at Gloucester Road underground station - throughout 2018.
44 artists contribute small works to the highly entertaining show 'Through the Looking Glass': ideal holiday season fare, but with plenty of yuletide food for thought as well. James Capper, Polly Morgan, Gavin Turk and Paul Benney, with his boldly punning locket and clasp 'Story of the Eye' above, excel. As do two artists invert each other: Nancy Fouts' 'Happy Pills' 2018 are actually ladybirds trapped by a visual pun; whereas there really are pills inside Alice Anderson's worryingly totemic 'Sedatives' 2018.
I took a dozen people – mostly artists – round a dozen West End shows. Everyone agreed the stand-out was Robert Rauschenberg’s ‘Spreads’ 1975-83 - in which all manner of content from his classic combines and solvent transfers are spread onto the toast of the simpler, silken ‘Jammers’ (1975–76) without any of it looking muddled. ‘Rumor (Spread)’ 1980 also benefits from a title pun...
The 'Plastic Fox' is not just a painting's title, but an item Andy tells me he's always wanted but never found. Now he has one!? 'Pocket of Straws' (above) demonstrates his new method - consistent with the natural-artificial mixture of a plastic fox - of puncturing the surface of his vegetational density with what could be computer swatches (but are actually shapes masked out with Frisket Film at the start of the process, then painted as the last step). Plus upstairs, an informal retrospective selection.
Brent Wadden: sympathetic resonance at Pace Gallery to 10 Jan
Hiding in Plain Sight at the Amar Gallery to Dec 13
Ethel Schwabacher's 'Warm Rain' 1959 appears in the Amar Gallery's impressive survey of 11 female abstract expressionists, with top works by the obvious Frankenthaler and de Kooning but also Grace Hartigan, Yvonne Thomas, Amaranth Ehrenhalt... Schwabacher, who was close to Arshile Gorky, is inspired by nature and psychological states - and 'Warm Rain' feels like a relief from traumas, of which she had a few.
Neil Zakiewicz's new 'Clay Work' series achieves casual formalism (or should that be 'formal casualism'?) naturally enough to suggest that is a common combination of attributes. Turd/intestine/pipe forms - fired extrusions of clay - are jauntily balanced on angular hardwood shelves/frames, where they pick up on the domesticity and banisters of the space. Plus there's a selection of Zakiewicz's previous two streams of comparably cunning work: the paintings with hinges and the spray painted carpentry.
Melanie Manchot: 'White Light Black Snow' at Parafin to 17 Nov
This walk-through grid maze is from the series 'Penumbra' 2018 The Bahrain artist Rashid Khalifa's recent series of colourful constructivist riffs on the mashrabiya operate through interpenetrating maximimalist geometries. They're inspired - like rather comparable strands of Rana Begum's work - by the light and colour of walking along the street, and are as good a reason to visit the Saatchi Gallery as the typically patchy main show 'Black Mirror'.
Sue Williams at Skarstedt to 24 Nov
Yelena Popova: Her Name is Prometheus @ l'étrangère
The chance to rearrange an interactive sculpture-come-non-competitive-game (as demonstrated by the artist herself above) epitomises this show of heavy issues presented lightly, as the parts can make up the plutonium atom and the colours are for 'danger'. Likewise a female Prometheus, the great physicist Lise Meitner, synchronised swimming and nuclear fission all feed in to various works..
APT + ONE at the APT Gallery, Deptford to 14 Oct
In which 41 artists from the Art in Perpetuity Trust studios each show alongside an invited artist, throwing up many compelling - and indeed, apt - conjunctions. As illustrated, studio holder David Webb's painting on a game board is paired with his guest Tom Hackney's 3D depiction of the moves in a chess game.
Hugh Mendes: Autorretrato at Charlie Smith to 13 Oct