8 Exhibitions To See In The North East This February

Michael Cook picks out eight must-see exhibitions taking place across the North East…

Art enthusiasts are in for a treat as the North East is home to a number of exquisite exhibitions. Here are eight of our favourites that should be on any culture vulture’s agenda this February…

Katie Cuddon: ‘A is for Alma’

Hatton Gallery

Katie Cuddon is back on the exhibition scene. This is her first exhibit in 15 years after giving birth to her daughter. Cuddon’s work comprises of clay sculptures, with this particular collection exploring the delicate and close-knit relationship between mother and child. 

Her showpiece depicts a handcrafted ceramic alphabet of a rugged nature. Frictions and stresses within the mother and child relationship has been shown through the damaged letters. A clever and beautiful portrayal.


The Bowes Museum

Situated in The Bowes Museum, an iconic piece of peak French chateau design, the Murmuration exhibition is a collection of art dedicated to birds and brings together pieces from different centuries. 

This thought-provoking collection explores the controversial world of taxidermy and its links to colonialism. It also aims to bring attention to real world issues we humans face today. It highlights our connection with birds and the natural world, urging us to treat it with greater care.

Brass Tacks 2: ‘Counterweight’

Newcastle Arts Centre

Immerse yourself in this unique group exhibition exploring ritual, landscape and myth at the freshly renovated Newcastle Arts Centre.

Curated by Jed Buttress, the work consists of textiles, ceramic, and stonework delicately crafted by local artists Sean Alec Auld, Mani Kambe, Laurie Powell and Bethany Stead. The exhibition gives these protégé artists a chance to shine and display their perspective using symbology and structure to present mythology in the North East.

Vince Rea

South Shields Museum and Art Gallery

This collection brings together a selection of work by Vince Rea. The popular local figure was the pioneer behind the Bede Gallery, a transformed Cold War bunker! 

This set contains a carefully chosen collection of Rea’s work including abstract artwork, ceramics, line drawings and photographs of his hometown of Jarrow and the neighbouring South Shields. The power of art is perhaps best summed up by Vince Rea himself who said: “drawing, painting and sculpture deepen our awareness of life, they imbue the world around us with added meaning and give us a sense of ourselves in time and history.”

Marissa Weatherhead: ‘A Table by the Sea’

The Biscuit Factory

Still feeling the winter blues? A trip to The Biscuit Factory could soon solve that. Like most of Marissa Weatherhead’s work, this Picasso and Matisse inspired collection depicts a table by an oceanic, seaside bliss. Each one is packed with an array of fish and fruit painted in a rich colour palette. This still life set invokes a satisfying sense of indulgence and occasion.

Yevonde: Life and Colour

Laing Art Gallery

Yevonde Middleton was a pioneering photographer of the 20th Century. With a career spanning an incredible 60 years, this exhibition presents over 150 works in total with 25 freshly uncovered photographs. Yevonde honed her technique and craft by being one of the first photographers to use colour in her work and saturate her images with vibrancy.

She was a proud suffragette and her inspirational reason for taking up photography was to gain independence and earn money of her own.

Artist Rooms: Viga Celmins

Hatton Gallery

Another piece from Hatton Gallery is a showcase of Viga Celmins’ work. Celmins drawings often look simplistic on the surface but require a huge level of dedication with intricate details added across the whole piece. Her workflow may sound tedious to many as with her most recent ‘Night Sky’ drawing, she had been working three years on and off to complete it. 

Her work consists mainly of natural wonders like fascinating spider webs and ocean waves which all follow a strict colour scheme of whites, greys, and blacks. A beautiful must-see exhibition!

Michael Rakowitz: The Waiting Gardens of the North


An artwork featuring a reconstruction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon through the inquisitive perspective of highly regarded Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz.

When first visiting Newcastle, Rakowitz met with asylum seekers to understand their journey of waiting to be a part of a community. This is represented in his work with an explosive combination of different herbs, spices and food products that stretch from across the world can be found around the gardens.

A unique attribute of this work is that it is a live piece of art with different plants growing at different rates as the exhibition goes on. A BALTIC must-see!