My quick pick of the summer visual arts exhibitions in the Midlands:—

New Art Gallery Walsall. Opens 17th June 2011.

Leo Fitzmaurice | You Try to Tell Me but I Never Listen.

“Leo Fitzmaurice collects, contains and re-edits the visual noise that forms part and parcel of 21st century life. He will transform the Floor 4 gallery space into a sea of colour through the use of mass produced printed material. By carefully layering the printed matter, Leo will re-animate the abundance of advertising information which we subconsciously register and recognise.”

Bilston Crafts Gallery. Opens 18th June.

Paul Horton | The Feet of the West Midlands.

“Paul Horton’s photographic installation is based on the theme of a shoe shop that portrays people in the local community in a unique way and allows us to have a glimpse into the lives. Juxtaposed images and an unusual perspective illustrate our wide and diverse society.”

Wolverhampton Art Gallery. Opens 18th June.

Chris Coekin | Manufactory.

“A collection of rich and detailed photographs taken in a factory over four years where factory workers are shown in a style referencing original stances from Trade Union banners created in the 19th century.”

Wolverhampton Art Gallery. Opens 18th June.

Various | You Should Be Living – The Visual Language of Heavy Metal.

“Exploring the roots of Heavy Metal music in the Black Country, works feature vintage t-shirts, archival imagery and films.” Paralleled by Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery’s large Home Of Metal show which opens on the same day.

Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent. Until 4th September 2011.

Various | Ceramic Cities – Dialogues in Design

“This new exhibition explores fascinating cultural connections between East Asian and British ceramics. Focusing on the ceramic cities of Jingdezhen [capital of ceramics production in China] and Stoke-on-Trent [capital of ceramic production in Europe], the show covers over a thousand years of ceramic history. Rarely seen pieces from both East and West include the work of Bernard Leach, Rob Kesseler and Hamada Shoji.”

Snap Galleries, Birmingham. On now?

Iain MacMillan | Complete Abbey Road album cover session photographs for the Beatles

Mac arts centre, Birmingham. Until 17th July 2011.

Simon Roberts | We English.

“In August 2008, photographer Simon Roberts set off on a year long journey around England in a motor-home. As he travelled the length and breadth of the country he captured images of the English at leisure in the landscape: scantily clad men and women sunbathe in an leafy park in a rare moment of clement weather, golfers play against a backdrop of power stations, kids race BMXs on a track overlooking the urban sprawl of Bradford. His panoramic landscape photographs, despite their contemporary subject matter, evoke landscape painting traditions of the past and testify to the continuance of ancient and eclectic English past times.”

Light House, Wolverhampton. Opens 1st July 2011.

Martin Parr | Black Country Stories.

“A selection from a 668 image series now held in Sandwell Library’s collection. Parr will give a talk on the exhibition at Light House on 27th July 2011, 6.30pm – 7.30 pm. Tickets are £3 and available from the Box Office.”

Above: copyright Magnum Photos.

The Public, West Bromwich. Opens 6th July 2011.

Frank Wakeman | Town Sparrows.

Town Sparrows is a film of childhood in Oldbury. Made by Frank Wakeman in the 1940s, the film follows a day in the life of a group of Oldbury children, their journey to and from school, time at school, playing after school in Birchley Park and in the canal.” (Along with Allan Ahlberg and The Art of Story on the same theme)

Compton Verney, Warwickshire. Opens 25th June 2011.

Stanley Spencer | Stanley Spencer and the English garden

“Stanley Spencer and the English Garden, will focus on Spencer’s gorgeous garden views and landscapes of the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Spencer’s virtuoso treatment of this highly accessible and enormously attractive subject demonstrates the artist’s immense feeling for, and understanding of, the way the English landscape and the traditional English garden were changing during the twentieth century, and how contemporary building development was redefining or even eradicating familiar environments. They also chart his personal vision of the garden as a ‘private heaven’.”

Above: Stanley Spencer, “Zacharias and Elizabeth”.

Barber Institute, University of Birmingham. Until 18th September 2011.

Court on Canvas – Tennis in Art.

“The main exhibition [of visual arts] will be accompanied by a large display of historic tennis equipment, photographs and memorabilia tracing the origins of the game and the importance of Edgbaston [in Birmingham] as its birthplace.” (Also on at the same venue at the same time is Sacred and Profane: Treasures of Ancient Egypt).

Above: David Inshaw.

Rugby Art Gallery. Opens 6th September 2011.

Various : The 43 Uses of Drawing.

“A revived interest in drawing has brought the discipline to the forefront of contemporary arts. The 43 Uses of Drawing explores the practice of drawing beyond the paper surface, via the work of 43 practitioners working in a number of different areas. […] children’s illustrators, political cartoonists, architects, animators, landscape architects, set designers, tattoo artists, digital renderers and performance artists…”

Above: Brian Fey.

Quad, Derby. Until 31st July 2011.

Various | All that Fits – The Aesthetics of Journalism.

“The exhibition puts forward the idea that art and journalism are not separate forms of communication, but rather two sides of a unique activity; the production and distribution of information.”