Best of the West – Art exhibitions and events in January 2020

The best art exhibitions in Bristol and the Westcountry this month – selected by the Friends of the RWA…

Here’s our pick of the best art exhibitions and events happening in and around Bristol and the south west in January – including ‘Last chance to see’ shows and a look ahead to upcoming features….

Compiled by Sue Quirk and Laurel Smart

 


AT THE RWA

Refuge and Renewal: Migration and British Art / Africa State of Mind until 1 March 2020

Two major exhibitions for the winter, one exploring the impact of artist refugees on art in Britain over the last 150 years, and the other showcasing the work of emergent African photographers. 

 

Small Things Bright and Beautiful  – until 5 January 2020, Academicians’ Gallery

A free exhibition featuring small artworks by RWA Academicians, all for sale and priced under £350. More info here. 

 

Ros Ford VPRWA: A decade of drawing and print – 7 January to 2 February 2020, Academicians’ Gallery

A free exhibition at Bristol’s oldest art gallery, featuring prints and drawings by Academician Vice President Ros Ford. More information here – and read our Q&A with Ros here.

 


 

Laurel Smart – Journeys into Abstraction at Tetbury Goods Shed

8 January to 23 February 2020.

Laurel Smart is a key member of the FRWA Committee, and she has been busy helping to organise the RWA Friends Exhibition at Tetbury Goods Shed Arts Centre. As a result she is fortunate to be the first Friend to be offered a solo show at this superb venue.

Laurel’s large, energetic abstract canvasses celebrate the expressive quality of paint. See more of her work and read a Q&A about her art here.

 

8 January to 23 February 2020. Wednesday to Sunday 11am-3pm, Tetbury Goods Shed Arts Centre

Preview and Meet the Artist: Sunday 12 Jan, 5pm – 7pm. Have a glass of wine, enjoy the paintings and check out this fantastic space! Full details here.

 

 


 

JANUARY EXHIBITIONS

 

1) KURT JACKSON RWA ‘THE FONTHILL BROOK’

11 JANUARY – 16 FEBRUARY

 

For this exhibition – the second of a two-part show that opens at Messums London in December 2019 – Jackson traces the origins of his second river and the northern parts of the Cranborne Chase ecosystem where the River Nadder springs and begins its descent into Salisbury. Following the course of the Fonthill Brook, a mere one-hundred yards from Messums Wiltshire where these paintings will be shown. Jackson’s paintings acknowledge areas of rich biodiversity in an attempt to warrant their preservation. He captures bucolic scenes such as those of the glinting flinty bed of the river, with its flowering flowing crowfoot; the watercress that provides cover for trout and native crayfish; and the caddis flies that dance on the surface of the water. His practice involves both ‘plein air’ painting and studio work and embraces an extensive range of materials and techniques including mixed media, large canvases, printmaking and sculpture.

Messums Wiltshire, Swindon. Website.

 

2) RAMM EXETER: TWO EXHIBITIONS

THE LOST WORDS UNTIL 12 JANUARY & SEA GARDEN UNTIL 26 JANUARY

 

THE LOST WORDS is a unique collaborative project between writer Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris. Taking the form of both an exhibition and a book published by Hamish Hamilton, The Lost Words celebrates the relationship between language and the living world, and of nature’s power to spark the imagination. In response to this widening gulf between childhood and the natural world, The Lost Words seeks to conjure that vanishing wildness back into existence through images and writing.

SEA GARDEN: This vibrant and intriguing contemporary art exhibition explores the female-gendered relationship with the sea and seaweed. ‘Sea Garden’ brings together RAMM’s first South West Commission, a moving-image work by Bryony Gillard, alongside works by internationally-renowned contemporary artists.

Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter Website

 

3) STEVE CLARKSON

UNTIL 12 JANUARY

Steve’s work in printmaking embraces modern technologies and often combines them with historic, analogue techniques. He believes technology enables new marks and languages to present ideas in ways relevant today. Through gum bichromate printing, Steve has been exploring how digitally prepared negatives can be used to generate virtual images. He forms still life images that are composed in Photoshop from a personal database of individual photographs of flowers and bugs. In his Vanitas works, the gum bichromate printing allows control of the colour palette to create the aged look of Old Dutch masters work, imbued with the communication of the Victorian language of flowers. Steve’s current work is focused upon exploring the development of ‘painting’ within fine art practice – How paint can be realised in digital photography works.

The Brook Gallery, Devon. Website.

 

 

4) STRANGE & WONDERFUL BEINGS: THE WORK OF CLIFFORD & ROSEMARY ELLIS

UNTIL 18 JANUARY

 

This exhibition celebrates the work of Clifford and Rosemary Ellis. From tube posters to wartime sketches, explore the artistic output of this fascinating design duo and their legacy at the Bath Academy of Art in Corsham. Displayed alongside these will be works by Howard Hodgkin, William Scott and the other famous lecturers who taught at the school.

Chippenham Town Hall. Website.

 

5) DRAWN TO CRAFT

UNTIL 18 JANUARY

 

The winter exhibition will seek inspiration from drawing and will reflect on the drawn line. It will be an opportunity to see and to buy work from some of the top contemporary British craft practitioners, including Sarah Young (print), Jennifer Hall (ceramics), Jennie Gilbert (ceramics), Francesca Mclean (illustration), Louise Brown (baskets), Colin Chetwood (lamps), Sheila Herring (ceramics), Bronwen Gwillim (jewellery) and Bridget Timoney (ceramics).

Salisbury Arts Centre. Website.

 

6) SUBLIME SYMMETRY: THE MATHEMATICS BEHIND DE MORGAN’S CERAMIC DESIGNS

UNTIL 2 FEBRUARY

 

William De Morgan revolutionized ceramic design in the late-Victorian period. From his fantastical beasts which wrap themselves around his ceramic vases, to his fanciful flora which meander across tiles, his designs fascinated his contemporaries and continue to captivate today. However, behind his beautiful designs was an extraordinary understanding of mathematical principles. Through this exhibition discover De Morgan as a natural mathematician and talented draughtsman. This exhibition features stunning tiles, plates and vases by the Victorian ceramics designer William De Morgan (1839 -1917) which are on loan from the De Morgan Foundation.

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth. Website.

 

7) VICTORIA ART GALLERY – PETER BROWN and SALLY MUIR

PETER BROWN: BATH IS IT UNTIL 2 FEBRUARY & SALLY MUIR: THE DOG SHOW UNTIL 9 FEBRUARY

PETER BROWN: BATH IS IT – This exhibition features over 100 new oil paintings and drawings by the ever popular Bath-based artist ‘Pete the Street’. The exhibits celebrate the streets and green places of Bath as well as far-flung places where his easel has taken him. Having exhibited at the Gallery on a number of occasions we are delighted to welcome the return of this much-loved local artist.

SALLY MUIR: THE DOG SHOW – Sally Muir has had dogs all her life and, for nearly as long, has drawn and painted them. Some years ago she began a Facebook project, posting her dog art daily. As people became interested she became more adventurous in her materials, combining wire drawings, lithography, paper cuts, pen and ink and potato prints.

Victoria Art Gallery, Bath. Website.


 

LAST CHANCE TO SEE…

UNTIL 4 JANUARY 2020: A TALE OF MOTHER’S BONES The remarkable story of a unique artistic and personal collaboration between Dr Grace Pailthorpe and Reuben Mednikoff. NEWLYN ART GALLERY, NEWLYN https://newlynartgallery.co.uk/

UNTIL 4 JANUARY 2020: ANN-MARIE JAMES – ALCHEMY: ARTEFACTS REIMAGINED New exhibition inspired by objects from four museums. THE SALISBURY MUSEUM, SALISBURY www.salisburymuseum.org.uk

UNTIL 5 JANUARY 2020: DAVID SMITH. FIELD WORK Debut solo exhibition by the eminent American artist. HAUSER & WIRTH, BRUTON https://www.hauserwirth.com/hauser-wirth-exhibitions/25223-david-smith-field-work

UNTIL 5 JANUARY 2020: CANDACE BAHOUTH’S BOX OF DELIGHTS; MATISSE MASTER OF LINE; REMBRANDT IN PRINT 3 Exhibitions. THE HOLBURNE MUSEUM, BATH https://www.holburne.org/


 

WATCH OUT FOR…

 

JOURNEYS INTO ABSTRACTION: 8 JANUARY-23 FEBRUARY Large, colourful, energetic, canvasses celebrate the expressive quality of paint. Tetbury Goods Shed, TETBURY www.shed-arts.co.uk

 

SOUTH WEST ACADEMY EXHIBITION: 11 JANUARY- 8 FEBRUARY The start of the 20th Anniversary celebrations in 2020 with this Winter Exhibition. Thelma Hulbert Gallery, HONITON https://www.thelmahulbert.com/?q=exhibitions/south-west-academy-exhibition-2

 

GLYNN UZZELL, 1930-2014: A RETROSPECTIVE  21 JANUARY-7 MARCH This brings together a selection of Uzzell’s vibrant and lyrical paintings and prints showcasing his talent and range as an artist.  Swindon Museum & Art Gallery, SWINDON https://swindonmuseumandartgallery.org.uk/

 

ANGELA CHILUFYA: part of me 31 JANUARY-28 MARCH The exhibition proposes an investigation into the relationships formed by the artist believed to have formed her identity. Hours, BRISTOL http://www.hours-space.com

 

If you would like an exhibition or artist to be listed please email laurel.smart@blueyonder.co.uk and we will consider it for inclusion.

 


 

The Friends of the RWA is an independent charity that supports the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol’s first art gallery. 
For just £35 a year Friends can make unlimited visits to RWA exhibitions and enjoy a host of other benefits, as well as making an important contribution to the arts in Bristol and the South West. Find out more and join up here.

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