This week's exhibitions previews

Andrew Bracey | The Rise Of Women Artists | Ctrl.Alt.Shift: Comic Art With A Conscience | Mat Collishaw | Let's Take Back Our Space | Susan Philipsz | Giles Round | David Ward

Andrew Bracey, Manchester

A CCTV camera guards a vacated artist's studio. You see all the preciously accumulated clutter of the lone creative struggle: a scrapbook mosaic of art historical prompts, a reproduction of a Manet painting, a moody mugshot of Johnny Cash, a Roy Lichtenstein shotgun, snaps of zoo animals. Then, just gradually, as if you are half imagining it, one of the pics comes to animated life. The video, titled Studio Monkey, is Andrew Bracey imagining the creative ingredients he has accrued coming to artistic life in his absence. Similar little mischievous conceits of animation enliven all his works here.

Manchester Art Gallery, to 28 Feb

Robert Clark

The Rise Of Women Artists, Liverpool

Most provincial civic galleries couldn't attempt to tackle, entirely by a display of works from their permanent collection, the thorny subject of the rise of women artists from the 16th century to now – but the Walker has a damn good try. Among exhibits by obscure or minor local artists, such as the 16th and 17th-century Italian painters Lavinia Fontana and Elisabetta Sirani and the Pre-Raphaelite Emma Sandys, are those by Louise Bourgeois and Paula Rego – the more renowned names being from the present day. In its modest way, the exhibition touches on the virtual exclusion of women from mainstream cultural possibility through most of modern times.

Walker Art Gallery, to 14 Mar

Robert Clark

Ctrl.Alt.Shift: Comic Art With A Conscience, London

To coincide with Comica 09, the lo-fi annual festival of comic-book publications at the ICA, is Ctrl.Alt.Shift: Comic Art With A Conscience, an exhibition at Lazarides gallery, plus a series of debates at the ICA about how propaganda has been used in cartoons over the years. The exhibition features an illustrious lineup of artists including VV Brown, Dan Goldman and Laura Oldfield Ford, and a collaboration between musician and writer Dev Hynes (aka Lightspeed Champion) and Luke Pearson, all of whom have been specially commissioned to make artworks about corruption. The result is a highly politicised show of paintings, with a nihilistic, apocalyptic feel.

Shop At Lazarides, W1, Fri to 30 Nov

Jessica Lack

Mat Collishaw, London

New work by the enfant terrible Mat Collishaw, one of the original YBAs. Collishaw's art has always been hard-hitting, straddling an uneasy terrain of no-go areas from child prostitution to torture. His work for the Freud Museum is an interesting commission, as he is an artist with a thing for Victoriana and the repressed ideology of the 19th century. In response to a print that hangs over the great psychoanalyst's couch in which a French neurologist is showing his students a woman in a hysterical fit, Collishaw has created a series of ghostly projections based on the photographic case studies.

Freud Museum, NW3, to 13 Dec

Jessica Lack

Let's Take Back Our Space, Southend-on Sea

This show is all about body language, be it Cerith Wyn Evans's excruciating artwork Kim Wilde Audition Tapes, in which male models grind their way through the 80s pop starlet's songs, or the restaging of Robert Morris's extraordinary 1964 performance in which he lip-synched a lecture about the minute differences in the gesture of raising a hat. Its title is taken from the final work by Marianne Wex, who has been cataloguing images of people since the early-70s in terms of their body language to try to understand the differences between men and women.

Focal Point Gallery, to 14 Dec

Jessica Lack

Susan Philipsz, Oxford

Modelled after the Tower of the Winds in Athens, Oxford's Radcliffe Observatory was built in the late-18th century by James Wyatt to capture the Transit of Venus. It provides a perfectly dizzying site for a plaintive sound installation, organised by Modern Art Oxford, by Berlin-based artist Susan Philipsz. While the siting of her works might be meticulously considered and the sound projection perfectly composed, Philipsz's recorded a cappella warblings are deliberately amateurish. Indeed, here is an artist who realises the performance potential of embarrassment, who knows how to interject the precise note of unease to disrupt an apparently proper scenario. Lofty subjects (death, love, loss of love) and lyrical cliches are wielded in the full confidence that they constitute the sentimental common ground of our shared emotional existence. This is clever, sophisticated stuff that disarmingly flaunts its lack of artifice.

Radcliffe Observatory, Green Templeton College, Sat to 3 Dec

Robert Clark

Giles Round, Sheffield

The exhibition title, Living Structures, is artist Giles Round paying due homage to the radical modernist architect and designer Ken Isaacs. The 1950s and 60s work of Isaacs constituted a provocative and often playfully revolutionary pattern for living. Proposing a nomadic lifestyle, free from over-reliance on consumer possessions and mindful of environmental issues, Isaacs came up with flexible, modular and thoroughly green structural living spaces. "I saw and felt the necessity for major simplifications … to release us from the hi-tech maniacs," he wrote in 1974. Here, Round's knowing sculptural minimalism celebrates a figure and a cultural climate in which idealistic modernism still held some degree of credence.

S1 Artspace, to 5 Dec

Robert Clark

David Ward, London

David Ward is a multimedia artist. He studied painting at Winchester Art School in the late-60s, but quickly progressed into making photos, films and performances, inspired by the conceptual experiments of John Cage. Ward has since become best known for his drawings in light, cool, monochrome abstracts of skeletal white lines that cut the space like a lightsaber. He now transforms the P3 gallery into Rink, a vast installation inspired by the spidery marks made by ice skaters. In figures of eight and toe loops, the space becomes alive with a digital light dance.

P3, NW1, Wed to 22 Nov

Jessica Lack

Contributors

Jessica Lack & Robert Clark

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