Edible plants, the magical capabilities of amber, sculptures from India, videos of the Thames and Arctic stratospheres make for a dizzyingly diverse line-up in Science and Nature this month. We've picked seven to open your mind...
Katie Paterson, Kettle's Yard Gallery and St Peter's Church, Cambridge
© National Museums Scotland
If it’s hard to overegg the scale and ambition of rising star Katie Paterson’s show, perhaps the artist’s work – described by the Guardian as cosmicomical – can be epitomised by the chain of 170 carved beads she’s created, each piece representing part of the 3.5 billion-year timeline of Earth within an ancient church neighbouring Kettle’s Yard. Read our Preview.
Mariele Neudecker – Heterotopias and Other Domestic Landscapes, Regency Town House, Brighton, from May 4
The lead artist for Brighton’s current HOUSE Festival transfers the stratosphere of Greenland, a diptych of vapour-trailed Arctic suns and footage of the South West Indian Ocean’s deep sea space across a historic three-storey building. Read our Preview.
Amazing Amber, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, from May 10
The substance of amber – fossilised tree resin – has a widely varying look and capacity. The examples here are taken from Borneo, the Baltic, Sicily and Scotland, telling stories of magical powers, charms, amulets and sustenance stretching back millions of years.
Tipping Point, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton, from May 11
Exploring climate change, this display is as much about the ways in which artists find their voice. They include a cycling trip on a solar-powered pushbike across France by former Turner Prize winner Simon Starling and, in a specially-commissioned piece informed by a research trip to India with Christian Aid, a set of five sculptures by Gerry Judah reflecting the environmental struggle of communities.
Estuary, Museum of London Docklands, London, from May 17
Marking ten years of the museum’s converted Georgian warehouse home on West India Quay, 12 artists depict the mudflats, saltmarshes, container ports, power stations and seaside resorts of the changing Thames. Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen’s film, commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, is among them.
Antipodes, Spacex, Exeter, from May 18
Dig a hole through the Earth’s core from Bermuda and you’d end up in Perth. Drill long enough from Porto Alegre, Brazil and you’ll arrive near Nagasaki, Japan. Layla Curtis’ bipolar show pairs images from either side of the globe, unearthing surprising affinities between opposite locations.
IncrEdibles – A Voyage Through Surprising Edible Plants, Kew Gardens, London, from May 25
Bompas and Parr turn the Palm House Pond into a giant fruit salad boating lake and participatory artwork. Ninety edible plants form a Kitchen Garden crisscrossing South America, West Asia and Europe. And tea parties, horticultural workshops and tropical paradises also form a herbaceous festival at Kew between now and November.