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The Guide: exhibitions: Celia Paul London: Robert Therrien Birmingham: Bruce McLean Colchester: Jo Coupe; Cecilia Stenbom Gateshead: Lydia Gifford Gateshead: Trevor Paglen London: Dennis Hopper London: Richard Slee Carlisle

June 21, 2014

Celia Paul's paintings seem to hail from another era. Not the self-conscious 1980s she came of age in, but that of her teacher and lover, Lucian Freud. Like him, her portraits of family and friends a

Victoria Miro, N1, to 2 Aug

Kids play under tables, while adults eat off them and conduct interminable meetings sitting at them. Robert Therrien's No Title (Table And Four Chairs) is simply what it says on the tin, but enlarged to surreal proportions. The table stands at two-and-a-half metres, the chairs at almost three. They are fashioned from aluminium, steel and wood, materials that make up our workaday world. The average sized grown-up fits easily beneath the table and needs a ladder to climb upon a chair. An accompanying pile-up of giant plastic plates (pictured) and a stainless steel oil can look like a model for some modernist tower block. Therrien is a big kid, reliving the primal delight of the world.

robert clark

mac, Sat to 7 Sep

Firstsite, to 21 Sep

Workplace Gallery,

to 19 Jul

For Lydia Gifford the structure behind painting and how it is arranged across the exhibition space seems as important as the painted image itself. While abstract, her paintings are tactile presences, standing their ground as real objects in the real world. She doesn't just hang her paintings in the gallery; she infiltrates it, dividing and subdividing the otherwise empty space with painstakingly placed fragments. Surfaces are distressed, reworked, half-obliterated. Scrawl and scratch motifs escape their frames and start to deface the white cube ambience. It's bold, sensuous and, despite its architectural scale, quite intimately haunting. rc

BALTIC, to 2 Nov

Royal Academy Of Arts At 6 Burlington Gardens, W1, Thu to 19 Oct

One disused platform at the Gloucester Road tube station currently opens to a 62-metre long view of an old stone farmhouse backed by green Yorkshire hills. But this vast photographic panorama, dubbed An English Landscape by its creator, the American artist Trevor Paglen, is not what it seems. The setting is the controversial Menworth Hill, site of a so-called RAF base actually run by the US military. Dotting the landscape, giant white domes, nicknamed "golf balls" by the locals, are used for intelligence gathering. In previous projects Paglen has used satellite photography to reveal secret US military activity across the Earth. While the results typically resemble abstract paintings, here he references English landscape painters such as Constable and Gainsborough, the pleasures of the picturesque those earlier artists produced replaced by sinister mysteries. ss

Gloucester Road Tube Station, SW7, to Jul 2015

Richard Slee may make things out of ceramics, but he is no ceramicist. You'd be hard-pressed to drive any nails into any boards with his set of pot-headed hammers. Of all his craftsperson contemporaries, he is the one, with the notable exception of Grayson Perry, who has most convincingly established himself as a pottery-practising fine artist. This is partly down to the evident uselessness of his products. More, though, it's credit to his peculiarly focused pop-fed vision of play-acting. Slee's toy tanks, trowels and umbrellas are smoothed off, glazed, polished to a kitsch sheen. He comes on like a downmarket British Jeff Koons, entertaining us with immaculately rendered, utterly impractical indulgences. rc

Tullie House, to 14 Sep

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Source: Guardian (UK)

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