Watercolour is enormously versatile, lending itself to recording and describing a landscape or scene, or capturing ephemeral effects of light and weather. Liquid Light: Painting in Watercolours will celebrate the rich quality and variety of the Laing Art Gallery’s watercolour collection, highlighting artists from the ‘Golden Age’ of watercolours such as Joseph Mallord William Turner, John Sell Cotman and Thomas Girtin, alongside 20th- and 21st-century artists. Many of the paintings selected for the exhibition are rarely seen due to the light-sensitive nature of the medium.
The exhibition will also highlight works by women artists, including Dame Ethel Walker, Anne Redpath, Nerys Ann Johnson, Helen Allingham, Marie Spartali-Stillman, plus many others.
Works from the Laing’s collection will be complemented by loans from Tate and Arts Council England, including 19th-century artists Edward Burne-Jones and Arthur Melville, as well as contemporary artists Tracey Emin, David Hockney, Bridget Riley, Edward Burra, and Jennifer Durrant.
Portable and quick to dry, watercolour has been the choice of many artists to quickly capture the moment they are experiencing, both by the amateur and professional painter. Liquid Light will explore the dichotomy between watercolourists’ drive to record and describe subjects and the growing desire of many artists to capture ephemeral effects of light and weather, as well as the emotional power of landscape. Featuring approximately 200 works from more than 170 artists, the exhibition will highlight how artists have explored the expressive potential of the medium itself.