Galleries - May 2015

DARK matters CRICKET FINE ART Nikki Stevens ‘ . . . Gone Tomorrow’ 19-30 May 2015 2 Park Walk, Chelsea, London SW10 0AD | | t: 020 7352 2733 Monday - Friday: 10am - 6pm, Saturday: 10am - 5pm Catalogue available and can be seen online: May Morris on a pony, in Iceland 1931 William Morris Gallery North Waltham Library; art, poetry and music commemorating the sinking of the Lusitania at the Merseyside Maritime Museum; and, perhaps most intriguingly, a children’s sleepover night at the William Morris Gallery, titled ‘Expedition to Iceland,’ and promising crafts, a torch lit tour and a dramatisation of ‘Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs’. For a long time in England, being abroad at night was not an activity to be enjoyed. Following William the Conqueror’s introduction of an 8pm curfew bell, both legal and moral codes advised good folk to keep off the streets after the sun set. Still, night scenes have been perennially attractive to painters. A night scene that successfully balances darkness with a realistic light source to illuminate the subject is demonstrable testament to painterly skill. It was particularly during the 18th C., against the backdrop of Running from 13 to 16 May and 30 and 31 October, Museums at Night is a biannual festival organized by Culture24, encouraging visitors to attend a museum, gallery or other heritage organization after dark. Following success in 2014, during which 500 venues across the UK attracted 100,000 visitors, this year’s May festival features events as diverse as traditional Norfolk music performed at the the Enlightenment and industrialisation, that British artists turned to night scenes. William Hogarth exploited the night scene for the power of its social commentary, exploring and critiquing the unsavoury characters that populated London’s streets after dark. Joseph Wright of Derby made night scenes his particular domain showing his figures looming into the glow of enlightenment and throwing anything from ‘An Iron Forge ‘ to his self-portrait illuminated in the darkness. Even, JMW Turner, champion of Romantic feeling over rational thought, used the night, capturing the moon glinting off extensive calms and boats tossed in stormy seas. What better to celebrate one’s own enlightenment of thought or feeling than a trip to this year’s Museums at Night? Frances Allitt MAY 2015 GALLERIES 41