Best of the West July/August 2020 – including RWA Re-Opening

As lockdown eases, the arts world is coming back to life this summer…

Here’s our pick of the best art exhibitions and events happening in and around Bristol and the south west in July and August…

 

 


RWA RE-OPENING

The RWA will be re-opening to the public soon – with a special priority opening exclusively for Friends of the RWA to see the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and the Artists of St Ives exhibition.

As a thank you for their support through these difficult times, Friends of the RWA will be able to book free priority visits to the gallery on 29, 30 and 31 July.

The RWA will then open to the public from 1 August until 19 September – on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays only.

 

Social distancing measures

The gallery has been reconfigured to offer a safe, socially-distanced experience for everyone. Please note that this means some restrictions will be in place, in particular:

  • visits must be pre-booked, so that numbers be controlled and people contacted for coronavirus track-and-trace purposes if necessary. Visits will be bookable on the RWA website from 24 July.
  • visitors will be required to wear face coverings in the galleries, so please bring a mask.

More details to follow, and keep an eye on the RWA website for updates and booking.

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and the Artists of St Ives

‘Inspirational Journeys’ focuses on Barns-Graham, one of Britain’s most significant twentieth-century artists. and her trips to Europe; while ‘Movements in Art and Life’ explores the creative inspiration offered by St Ives,  to a generation of artists whose lives and careers were impacted by mid-twentieth-century conflict. Curated by Rachel Rose Smith, artists include Sandra Blow, Terry Frost, Barbara Hepworth, Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon, Margaret Mellis, Ben Nicholson , Victor Pasmore and more.

During lockdown, the RWA have produced two excellent curator tour videos for the exhibitions, to keep you going while we wait for the re-opening.

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: Inspirational Journeys:

St Ives: Movements in Art and Life:


 

CURRENT EXHIBITIONS

Compiled by Sue Quirk and Laurel Smart

 

1) DAVID INSHAW

FROM 22 JULY to 13 SEPTEMBER – SLADER’S YARD, BRIDPORT

David Inshaw, painter of the English landscape, peopled by dreamlike figures, birds and animals. Called ‘perhaps the greatest living proponent of the English Romantic tradition’ (Spectator), Inshaw invokes the powers of nature, the moon, trees, stars, birds, animals, men, women, ancient landscapes and the sea to create his powerful intensely personal paintings. 

Website.

 

2) GABRIELLE BILL

UNTIL 28 JULY – SHAFTESBURY ARTS CENTRE

Gabrielle is a professionally trained artist, specialising in oil on canvas often at large scale in a traditional way including the figure and botanical images as well as landscape. She loves playing with depth of field, colour and mark making. Using figures hidden in her paintings vibrant with colour is her passion.This show will also be exhibiting her new abstracted landscapes influenced by her recent travels.  Solo shows include Milan, Brussels, Switzerland, France, Marylebone, and a Dorset ‘Pop up Gallery.’ She has also shown regularly at the Mall Galleries in London and elsewhere in group shows.

Website

 

3) ANDREW LITTEN ‘CONCERNING THE FRAGILE’

UNTIL 8 AUGUST – ANIMA MUNDI, ST IVES

‘Concerning The Fragile’ is a solo exhibition of large scale figurative paintings, bronze sculpture and mixed media works on paper by British artist Andrew Litten.

The exhibition reflects the fragility of life with a succinct and inescapable relevance to the recent world crisis, unguardedly exploring complex states of our contemporary condition through a multifaceted body of work. As Litten states “The work itself is intended to be unguarded, full of raw nerves and emotionally varied. I look to create art that speaks of the love, anger, loss, personal growth and the private confusions we all experience in our lives. Where our vulnerability is made apparent, there is then a potential to relate to others. I want this exhibition to nurture a life affirming sense of our shared humanity and encourage wider readings of compassion. Empathy is powerful.”

 Website.

 

 

4) LAND MARKS: PAINTINGS BY PHILIP WINSTONE AND DEBRA SWEENEY

UNTIL 17 AUGUST – GALLERY ON THE SQUARE, DORCHESTER

Philip Winstone is now a Gallery On The Square regular, his distinctive images having won him a substantial following. Debra Sweeney’s sinuous, linear work was exhibited at Gallery On The Square for the first time last year.

Website.

 

5) ANNA GILLESPIE – NEW SCULPTURES

UNTIL 29 AUGUST, BEAUX ARTS, BATH

Over the last 10 years Anna Gillespie has attempted through her work to recapture a feeling of immersion in nature, often employing beech nuts, acorn cups, twigs, galls – with these natural found objects then cast into bronze. Recent visits to Africa and America have somewhat shifted her focus to the way in which humans are influenced by the man-made environment and to the way in which we interact with the planet as a species.In her organic work the individual was subsumed by the experience of melding with nature and in simply being another beautiful product of it.  Her new sculpture deals with the question of what it takes to recognise an individual as an individual, both in terms of being part of a mass of humanity and in the face of passing time.

 Website.

 

6) BRIDGET MCCRUM: THE CONFERENCE OF THE BIRDS

UNTIL 30 AUGUST – MESSUMS WILTSHIRE (MEMBERSHIP REQUIRED)

Bridget McCrum (née Bain) was shipped to the west country from a home in London to avoid the war; there she found horses, landscape, art, and above all, a friendship with a young Elisabeth Frink. This exhibition, which is shown against the backdrop of Elisabeth Frink’s studio in the barn gallery, charts her recent work and also looks back at some of her earlier pieces. It considers life through a shifting between shapes and images and looks at how McCrum (like Frink) found ways to free herself from the restraints of figurative precision.

McCrum’s approach to sculpting is a reductive one, removing mass from a block of stone using carving and sanding tools. Now in her eighties, McCrum’s technical ability has not faded and she arrives at stylised shapes that play with light and weightlessness, as with her many birds which may be taking off, alighting or in flight.

Website.

 

7) COAST 2020

UNTIL 5 SEPTEMBER – PORTHMINSTER GALLERY, ST IVES

A colourful and uplifting exhibition celebrating the unique beauty of the Cornish coast through the varied mediums and creative approaches of selected gallery artists: Andrew Bird, Sara Dudman RWAJenny HirstFreya HorsleyMartyn Perryman and Trevor Price with a new collection of ceramics by Barry Stedman.

Website.


 

WATCH OUT FOR…

 

GRAYSON PERRY, THE PRE-THERAPY YEARS: UNTIL 3 JANUARY 2021 Grayson Perry’s earliest forays into the art world re-introduces the explosive and creative works he made between 1982 and 1994. Holburne Museum, BATH https://www.holburne.org/events/grayson-perry-the-pre-therapy-years/

JACKDAW LINE OUTDOOR EXHIBITION: RICHARD LONG: UNTIL 28 FEBRUARY 2021 Newly installed artwork set in Hestercombe’s Georgian Landscape Garden. Hestercombe, CHEDDON FITZPAINE https://www.hestercombe.com/

 

If you would like an exhibition or artist to be listed please email laurel.smart@blueyonder.co.uk for consideration.

 


 

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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