Exhibitions at Westminster Reference Library

All exhibitions are completely free to view.

Exhibition space for hire - Westminster Reference Library has an exhibition space on its first floor. To hire the space please contact Rossella Black via email on rblack1@westminster.gov.uk, or 020 7641 5250 or 07940 146681. View our Facebook for more information

Current exhibitions

The House Where I Was Born 

29 March to 16 April

"Je m’éveillai, c’était la maison natale”
Inspired by ‘The House Where I Was Born’ (La Maison Natale), by poet Yves Bonnefoy (b. 1923), Laura Tynan has created a unique response to key images in the poem. The viewer moves through the house from the monumental exterior to a veiled and increasingly fragmented interior space. The charred, peeling, ephemeral materials offer glimpses of a space on the borders of memory that will ultimately be forgotten.

Laura Tynan (b.1978) is an Irish artist living and working in Stockholm, Sweden and is a member of the Studios Detroit, Stockholm and East London Printmakers (ELP). Recent exhibitions include A New Home, a multimedia exhibition with the ELP in February 2016 and Twin Room, a group show at Detroit Stockholm, April 2015. As a member of ELP Laura has contributed screen prints to the 2012 and 2015 Box Set both of which are in the archive of the V&A Museum. Laura has been invited to represent Detroit, Stockholm at this year’s Supermarket Independent Art Fair which will be held in Stockholm in April.


Forthcoming exhibitions

Re-imagining the laws of England 

18 to 30 April

A Book Arts celebration of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.

Artists from across the UK are participating in the Sidney Nolan Trust’s celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta (1215). 

A set of ‘Halsbury’s Statutes’, the accepted authoritative texts for statute law (Acts of Parliament) of England and Wales, was donated to the Trust by a local court service whose staff now use online reference. The 27 volumes were destined to be pulped had the Trust not taken them. Each volume has been transformed into a work of art exploring themes related to topics covered in the particular volume as well as ideas around legislation and society. The unusual collection includes beautiful works of art, powerful indictments of abuses of human rights and humorous takes on law, power and politics.

Anne Rook took inspiration from the flora and fauna found at the time of King John for her volume. Jane Tudge’s illuminated garden shed is a metaphor for how a nation grows from the foundation of a set of published laws. Sharon Hall Shipp’s paper ribbons references the ‘red tape’ of bureaucracy. Vivienne Sole’s appealing tiny paper shoes that ‘toe the line’ – or don’t – each denote a different aspect of laws that affect children. Linda Toigo cut the pages of her volume into human lungs – every time the book is opened and closed it breathes in and out 800 years of history. Mellie Lane’s birdcage depicts King John as a bird trapped in a cage by his barons. Rachel Rickett’s remarkable Nine O’Clock Horse references folklore around bedtime rules.

Since opening at the Trust's home, The Rodd in the Welsh Marches, in 2015 the exhibition is touring to venues nationally through 2016 and 2017. Further information is available from from Amanda Fitzwilliams: 01544 260149, info@sidneynolantrust.org

Les Carrieres d'Ocre 

3 to 14 May

The ochre quarries of the Roussillon and Rustrel in the Luberon have inspired this exhibition of textiles, photographs, paintings and models by artists Chlebek & Nunes. Situated at the foot of the Monts de Vaucluse, perched high on a hilltop, the village of Roussillon overlooks the red of the cliff faces carved out over two centuries ago. At one time, 17 different ochre tints were quarried in Roussillon. 
For further information, contact Carole Nunes

Carole Nunes

After studying and practicing stained glass, Carole is now a textile artist who explores organic images of the natural world. Currently in London and the south of France, she integrates various disciplines (silk screen, cyanotype, batik, embroidery) in producing textural works, which are inspired by local landscapes such as the Cevennes mountains, the Luberon ochre quarries and old village buildings. 

Jan Chlebek

Chlebek is an Artist/Architect who has studied and exhibited widely in the UK and Europe. On gaining his Master of Arts (Painting) degree, he was the recipient of a British Council Scholarship to study Fine Art at Düsseldorf Academy of Art with Joseph Beuys. After qualification as an Architect, whilst continuing to paint, he held various senior positions with leading international design consultancies, spending much of his time in the emerging Middle East. Having returned to Europe, Jan Chlebek now lives and works in London and the South of France where he concentrates on drawing, painting and photography, both of a figurative and abstract nature, engaging with process and medium to release new meanings in an ongoing investigation into the built environment as an art form.

Tres Riches Heures (Karl Miller Dux Redux & A Pilgrim’s Shell)

16 to 28 May

Books and drawings by Daniel Miller. 
Two books of photographs poems and drawings introduced and signed by the author. Karl Miller:  
Dux Redux: Poems by friends of Karl Miller, photographs and drawings from the life of the writer and editor. Designs and decorations include a painting of the path south from Straiton, in the Scots borders, made by Karl in 1953.  The hills folded, whirring collieries and mute follies.
A Pilgrim’s Shell, is a migration from one home to another.  Sixty drawings in sequence celebrate the progress of a marriage, in scenes. From private to public, In another group of drawings, London Fields, the parish of Dalston is overcome with the stories of incomers.

Miller is a painter who has exhibited in the UK and with recent events he has moved between studios and learnt in the middle of life to work, however responsibly, between stations.


Previous exhibitions

Sonia Martin - Etchings 

1 to 24 March

Painter/printmaker Sonia Martin has put together an exhibition of her prints produced over the last 10 years.

"The beginning of an etching with aquatint can be a word or phrase, something seen or remembered which is then developed through drawings, and sketches from life, into an imaginary composition. This is a guide for the drawing made directly onto the etching plate. The settings – windows, doors, passageways can suggest memory and the past, or escape and freedom.  The figures appear to be at moments of realisation or reflection which adds to the sense of a poetic logic within the work."

All sales contact artist via website: www.soniamartin.co.uk


Trafalgar: Photoseries by Alexander Williamson 

15 to 27 February

"Trafalgar Square is a public space and tourist attraction in central London, built around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. A carefully ordered space frequently disordered by restive forces, Trafalgar Square can be conceived of as what Pierre Nora termed 'lieux de mémoire'.  With its symmetrical construction and imperial origins, it is inextricably connected to Empire and postcolonial British, and indeed global, identity. Its contemporary incarnation as a site of pilgrimage and orientation within the capital arguably make Trafalgar Square a microcosm of global consumer capitalist behaviour. Property of the Crown protected its heritage status; the square is often used for quasi-anarchic political demonstrations and minority community gatherings.
Alexander Williamson's photoseries 'Trafalgar' is an attempt to explore the tension between those competing forces: history's grand narratives, and the role of the individual within them. It also effects a detailed investigation into the behaviour of crowds, and the exchange between the openness of this public space and the private space of the individual's inner life, their unreadable thoughts as they cross the square. Shot every day over the course of 12 months, Trafalgar invites the viewer to look at an instantly recognisable place in an entirely new way."



2 to 12 February

"I like the idea of abstraction being pressurised or pulverised into new forms by worldly 'outside forces'. Collage is like abstract art's naughty little sibling and they have both been around for just over one hundred years in the West. Historically, abstraction has an air of 'higher aims' about it. Collage by contrast has a cheeky, satirical and playful edge (and edges are what my work is all about). Collage allows me to constantly test the limits of what an abstract painting's 'body' can take. I hope to find something like a new hybrid visual grammar in these clashes of materials and forms. By using the most basic materials to hand gleaned from my city streets, I'm destroying and rebuilding paintings as I go. I enjoy forcing the history of abstraction into new and dynamic relationships with life lived."
- John Bunker 2015.

Turning ‘ages

3 December 2015 to 30 January 2016

Turning 'ages is an installation  by Bristol-based manifest artist Elaine Robinson which comments on our connection with the written word and promotes our relationship with books and libraries. The exhibition is currently on a 2-year UK nationwide tour around city libraries. Robinson's stunning artwork captures the importance of ancestry and the connection we have with books and libraries. Visitors to the library will be able to see and interact with Elaine’s artwork during normal library opening hours.

Turning 'ages highlights the intimate and complex relationship between people, books and the ephemera that is picked up and left behind in the course of their everyday lives and then over a period of time, forgotten. The installation sensitively displays these memories and also focuses our attention to the constantly moving moments that we all have, and also those that we have chosen to keep hidden within a book. Writers’ groups have been inspired by the work to organise alternative creative voiced events.

The piece invites comment during this changing and transitional time that the book is undergoing, whilst at the same time our relationship with books and the written word is also being redefined and examined. It beautifully demonstrates the evolving importance of the published written word in a book, which will always be held close to our hearts.

The work has recently evolved as an encapsulated time capsule for all the many library employees as its tours the country, capturing the historical library space changes. As it leaves the library a token of remembrance is placed by the staff representing their particular library which all the staff will sign. Turning 'ages has become a vehicle of connection for all the libraries, a fitting tribute for its powerful comment.

To find out more about Turning ‘ages, see Elaine Robinson's website.

​The Cycle - Atom

18 to 30 January with private view and dance performance on 22 January

“My work is a kind of autobiographical fiction which explores the themes of mind, body and spirit and their transformation in space and time. I paint my dreams as well as real events that changed me and made me be what I am now. We all experience similar emotions and feelings and my way of connecting and sharing me with the world is done through the creation of my paintings and my performances. My work is about Everything and Nothing. It is about Love, Pain, Sorrow and Depression, Happiness and Rebirth, Reincarnation and the everlasting cycle of Life.” - Yuliya V Krylova, London, January 2016

A Late Splurge - an exhibition of paintings by Philip Stones 

4 to 16 January

“My pictures date from 1973, when I came down to London to receive psychotherapy.  This carried on for many years.  Psychotherapy provided the stimulus to my imagination and enabled me to illustrate my psychological problems in a light-hearted way. Most of my pictures are the product of my imagination and many were started during my course at City Lit so I would like to thank Clare Barton Harvey, Amanda Knight and Luke Jones in particular and all my tutors at City Lit for their support and advice.

My influences are many from the art of the Northern Renaissance to the early work of David Hockney. I am aware that when exploring images for my pictures my mind has a tendency to choose Christian themes, reflecting my religious upbringing. The pictures are about narrative, time and place and illustration rather than abstraction and ideas. I am not consciously exploring any grand themes here, rather just developing my craft as a painter, however it is difficult to put into words ideas that seem to flow naturally in paint.

I hope you all enjoy the exhibition”

- Philip Stones, London, 2016

Find out more at  Artrabbit

Amelia Critchlow and Evy Jokhova

9 December 2015 to 2 January 2016

‘Mimesis' – from the Greek 'mimos' imitator or actor. This exhibition operates within a palpable impasse between an absorbing narrative of books and generations of stored knowledge and the ordered, timeless quality of a public library.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication ‘Mimesis’, co-written by Critchlow and Jokhova, with a commissioned text by Becky Huff Hunter

Alternative Gravities 
Jonathan Ridge - Recent Paintings 

23 November to 5 December

“Alternative Gravities” refers to a method Jonathan Ridge sometimes uses, of tilting, tipping and turning the surface of a painting to determine the direction of the paint, effectively using gravity as a tool. In these paintings that tease with glimpses of the tangible, an assumed worldly orientation of up and down is sometimes in question and because of the abstract territory,  often arbitrary.

Cherry picking elements of eclectic visual influence, everything from Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Romanticism, even snatches from Urban Art and digital media, Ridge’s layered paintings owe as much to the advent of the layer function in Photoshop as a rich historical tradition in painting. These Postmodernist arrangements of visual ‘noise’ describe busy environments, with the different references and paint effects competing for our attention. Elements fire off one another from edge to edge and front to back, as many layers of paint are employed in the spirit of experimentation, central to Ridge’s work. The resultant rich palette of incidents and effects gives the viewer of these turbulent, but highly controlled compositions a great deal with which to actively engage.

The Zoom! @ Westminster Reference Library

9 to 21 November

Westminster Reference Library presents a solo exhibition of original artwork by Zoom Rockman. The 15-year old Londoner, described by the Daily Telegraph as a “young comic genius”, has been writing, drawing and publishing his own award-winning comic The Zoom!, feted by The Independent as “detailed, witty, exuberant and packed with larger-than-life characters”, since he was 8. Zoom started working for The Beano! when he was 12 with a regular monthly strip since, featuring his character, ‘Skanky Pigeon’.

THE FALL - New Paintings by Michele Del Campo 

26 October to 7 November

Michele Del Campo: In my project, I introduce a series of random people from different walks of life who after a fall of no major consequences find themselves briefly suspended in time. Their fall may be caused by a slight distraction, by rushing around or other mundane circumstance, but the sudden shock to their system this causes, and consequent interruption of routine activity, prompt these individuals to reassess matters and might even reveal deeper truths about their own lives.

Paradise Jerk Centre 

7 to 24 October

The sculptures, starkly iconographic constructions assembled from a wide range of contrasting materials unified through the figures’ cast-like metallic finish, draw upon the High Modernist aesthetics of Picasso, Miró, Ernst and others, realigning aspects of early Modernism with several present-day concerns. Not least amongst these is the artist’s critical recognition of the now ubiquitous language of advertising and management-speak, a powerfully influential force within our increasingly dehumanising, money-driven culture.
To find out more visit  www.sohrab.co.uk

NIHIL or The Nothingness of our Existence 

15 September to 6 October

In her new solo show at Westminster Reference Library, Clementine McGaw questions and explores the potentiality of our own existence through paint.  The paintings are treated as sacred human and non-human objects through which the artist relates to flesh and its nothingness. The series of works is inspired by the writings of Julia Kristeva, Darian Leader and by Giorgio Agamben’s theory of potentiality.

‘... the painful realisation that the object already contains the possibility of its non-existence.  A nothingness is created’
- Darian Leader

Last updated: 12 April 2016
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