Best of the West – September-October 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 September and October – including ‘Last chance to see’ shows and a look ahead to upcoming features….

 


 

AT THE RWA

 

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and the Artists of St Ives – until 19 September

‘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.

Until 19 September. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays only between 11- 3pm (in two sessions a day). Slots must be booked online here before you arrive and social distancing measures apply, including face masks in the galleries.

 

Furious, Wild and Young: The Death of Chatterton – 7-18 October

A free viewing of Henry Wallis’ notorious Chatterton painting (above) that created a sensation when it was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1856, and was described by leading Victorian art critic John Ruskin as ‘faultless and wonderful’.

Details and booking here

There are also special preview viewings for Friends, Patrons and Volunteers on 6 and 13 October – see details here.

 


 

CURRENT EXHIBITIONS

Compiled by Sue Quirk and Laurel Smart

 

1) JULIA COOPER ‘FRAGMENT’

5 – 29 SEPTEMBER: DAVID SIMON CONTEMPORARY ST IVES

Julia Cooper has completed a remarkable series of compositions inspired by the south coast of Cornwall. Whilst drawing on common shapes of harbours, headlands and coves, these paintings are abstracted and semi-figurative. Cooper constantly renders down her familiar visual territory, reducing the landscape to the simplest forms. Much of this is done over a lengthy process of building up layers, obscuring earlier work and an energetic mark-making that gives each work a sense freedom and of history. Flitting between abstract form and physical shapes, the show is interspersed with kitchen still lifes. This exhibition conjures an emotive sense of place and reveals the evolution and diversity of her painting practice.

Website

 

2) RICHARD BALLINGER

UNTIL 12 SEPTEMBER: NEWLYN ART GALLERY

Penzance-based artist Richard Ballinger presents a series of exotically coloured landscape paintings. Drawing from the landscape Ballinger reimagines these scenes in the studio to create works with thickly-impastoed interlocking shapes, or blocks of colour.

 Website.

 

 

3) JENNY GRAHAM: SOMERSET

UNTIL 12 SEPTEMBER, ACE ARTS, SOMERTON

A series of large paintings of the five districts of Somerset created especially for this exhibition space; includes etchings and assemblages relating to the magnificent county of Somerset.

 Website.

 

 

4) HELYNE, TREVOR & ELISE JENNINGS: MIXED MEDIA SHOW

12 SEPTEMBER – 10 OCTOBER, PLOUGH ARTS CENTRE, GREAT TORRINGTON

This is the first time the family trio of artists have exhibited their diverse range of work together. Veterans of national and international exhibitions and commissions, Helyne, mixed media and textile artist, and Trevor Jennings, metal sculptor, will feature work spanning from the RCA in the 80’s to recently completed pieces. Their daughter Elise, creating work from recycled materials and with a love of textiles, will feature her vibrant range of jewellery and multi coloured felt vessels

Website.

 

5) MESSUMS WILTSHIRE: 2 EXHIBITIONS (MEMBERSHIP REQUIRED)

A PLACE APART – ELISABETH FRINK’S STUDIO UNTIL 18 OCTOBER
ALEXANDER LINDSAY: SOUTH AFRICAN LANDSCAPES 19 SEPTEMBER – 18 OCTOBER

ELIZABETH FRINK’S STUDIO recreates the working world of Elisabeth Frink with the resurrection of her Woolland studio in the historic tithe barn. The studio, which Messums rescued from collapse in 2019, has been reconstructed to display a collection of original plasters alongside tools and objects salvaged from Woolland, providing a never seen before insight into one of Britain’s foremost sculptors. Partnering with renowned architects Stiff + Trevillion, the studio has been revived as an exhibition space displaying works from Frink’s studio and elements of her working practice and environment.

SOUTH AFRICAN LANDSCAPES is a solo exhibition by photographer Alexander Lindsay whose incredibly detailed panoramic landscapes – described as ‘microcosms in scale’ – aim to allow the viewer to experience a place as he did at the time of being there. To achieve this Alex uses up to 80 photographs of a scene which are digitally stitched together to create large-scale images with a scale and depth of field that is incredibly rich and sharp. The resolution and detail are completely immersive and almost super-real and extraordinarily beautiful.

 Website.

 

6) SEEDS OF HOPE

UNTIL 21 SEPTEMBER, BURTON AT BIDEFORD

This exhibition has been devised in response to the recent unprecedented changes affecting all our lives both positive and tragic. We hope it is a fitting tribute to the resilience and kindness of friends, families and total strangers. Associates Paul Lewin, Taz Pollard, and Paschale Straiton (Red Herring Productions) were tasked with rooting through the collections to curate their own personal choice of works which represent to them hope, growth and optimism (including image above of Gillian Ayres Xanadu Woodcut on Unryu-shi Japanese paper. Alongside this is an exhibition by Freya Gabie in collaboration with Jessica Holtaway – Contagious Image which will showcase drawings and engraved tiles. Freya Gabie investigates concepts of distance, space, movement and disconnection, producing six detailed drawings and a series of rubber tiles in collaboration with writer Jessica Holtaway.

Website.

 

7) NEW LANDSCAPE PAINTINGS

UNTIL 3 OCTOBER, TREMENHEERE SCULPTURE GARDENS PENZANCE

The seven artists within this show have been chosen because they present senses, glimpses, and Romantic notions of landscape, rather than a memetic topography. The landscapes within this show are not real, yet the feelings inspired within the viewer whilst looking at these blurred and imagined spaces are more potent and tangible than when looking at accurate representations. All of the artists are interested in this curiosity, exploring the emotional sensitivity of human gaze within their films and canvases. The space and light exhibited in these artists’ work open up an expanse for the viewer to disappear into transporting them corporeally and temporally, to a realm of delight. New Landscape Paintings features works by Richard Cook, Gareth Edwards, Anthony Garratt, Andrew Hardwick, Marie-Claire Hamon, Michael Porter and Lucy Willow.

Website.


 

LAST CHANCE TO SEE

 

UNTIL 5 SEPTEMBER 2020: COAST 2020 Celebrating the unique beauty of the Cornish coast. PORTHMINSTER GALLERY, ST IVES porthminstergallery.co.uk

UNTIL 6 SEPTEMBER 2020: DON MCCULLIN & SCARCH The Stillness of Life Photography and Not Vital’s conflation of sculpture and architecture. HAUSER & WIRTH SOMERSET https://www.hauserwirth.com/locations/10068-hauser-wirth-somerset

 

 

WATCH OUT FOR…

 

SOMERSET ART WEEKS 19 SEPTEMBER – 4 OCTOBER This autumn, Somerset Open Studios goes online with an exciting new look as well as a special event programme featuring artists’ films, podcasts, interviews and live streaming. https://somersetartworks.org.uk/what-we-do/art-weeks/

THE ARBOREALISTS: UNTIL 10 OCTOBER An exhibition of artworks by The Arborealists exploring Exmoor and Dartmoor National Parks and our connection to the natural world. Museum of Somerset, TAUNTON https://swheritage.org.uk/museum-of-somerset/whats-on/

RICHARD LONG ‘BEING IN THE MOMENT (guided tours only): UNTIL 31 OCTOBER The exhibition features work that spans 40 years of Long’s career from 1966 to 2006, starting with early experiments in the South West. Thelma Hulbert Gallery, HONITON https://www.thelmahulbert.com/?q=exhibitions/artist-rooms-richard-long-being-moment-guided-tours-only

ARTWORKS IN THE SCULPTURE GARDENS: UNTIL 31 OCTOBER Interwoven with the garden planting is an evolving programme of contemporary artwork by internationally renowned artists such as James Turrell, David Nash and Richard Long. Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, PENZANCE https://www.tremenheere.co.uk/

 

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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