Abstracts, designers and war pictures on display

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A major retrospective of one of Britain’s greatest abstract painters, a photographic exhibition marking 100 years since the Battle of the Somme and a showcase of Sheffield designers as part of the Year of Making, are some of what is in store in Sheffield’s galleries next year.

The first exhibition of 2016 at the Millennium Gallery, is In the Making: Ruskin, Creativity and Craftsmanship - opening on January 23.

In the Making takes the ideas of Victorian critic and scholar John Ruskin as a starting point to explore the act of making, and will see paintings, drawings and publications by William Morris, Albrecht Durer and Ruskin himself go on show alongside work by contemporary artists, including Tracey Emin and Grayson Perry.

The exhibition will also include a new commission from Sheffield-based wood craftsman Henk Littlewood- a shelter-like structure exploring Ruskin’s thoughts and contemporary reflections on his ideas.

Bridget Riley is one of Britain’s most important and accomplished abstract painters as a pioneer of Op Art, a style that incorporated optical illusion. A new exhibition at the Graves Gallery will focus on a breakthrough moment in the development of the artist’s work: the introduction of colour.

Following her first major abstract works in the early 1960s, Riley began to incorporate colour into her painting in 1967 by using a limited palette in works such as Rise 1 (1968), a highlight of Sheffield’s collection. The adoption of colour came to inform Riley’s developments throughout her ensuing career, adding a rich new dimension to her investigation of visual contrast and perception.

Bridget Riley: Venice and Beyond Paintings 1967-1872 at the Graves Gallery from February 18 will chronicle this unique moment of change, showcasing a carefully selected group of paintings and studies from 1967–85, which situate Rise 1 within the context of works made during this period.

Opening at Weston Park Museum on April 30, Echoes of the Great War will feature evocative images of the remnants of the Western Front by Scottish photographer Peter Cattrell. Created over 20 years the images depict the area around the village of Serre in Northern France where the Sheffield Battalion was all but destroyed on July 1, 1916, along with shots of Redmires and Hallam Moor where the Battalion trained.

Cattrell’s interest in the Somme was sparked by the discovery of a photograph of his great uncle, William Wyatt Bagshawe, with three of his companions from the Sheffield ‘Pals’ which set him off on a mission in 1989 to find his grave.

The wealth and variety of ceramics being produced in Sheffield today will be celebrated in Shaped from the Earth, an exhibition opening in the Millennium Gallery in June and featuring examples by several city artists.

Opening in the Millennium Gallery on July 23 is Made in Sheffield, part of the Year of Making, and re-visiting the concept of the great Victorian design exhibitions and showcase emerging talent in Sheffield design and production on the world stage.