Best of the West – June-July 2021

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

The vaccines are going in and the galleries are opening up! Here’s our pick of the best art exhibitions and events happening in and around Bristol and the south west in June and July – including a look ahead to upcoming features….


AT THE RWA

The RWA has closed its doors until February 2022 for the very exciting Light and Inspiration project. However, over the next 10 months or so there will be plenty of RWA events going on at other venues in the area. Watch this space – and keep an eye on rwa.org.uk for the latest.


CURRENT EXHIBITIONS

Compiled by Sue Quirk and Laurel Smart

1) STEWART GEDDES PPRWA – UN-SEEKING THE CAPTIVE

26 JUNE – 11 JULY, ANDELLI ART, WELLS

Stewart Geddes is a former President of the RWA and an Honorary life member of FRWA. This new solo exhibition is Stewart’s second exhibition with the gallery and will feature paintings created over the last 15 months in his expressive, energetic and vibrant style. “Each painting invariably goes through several permutations before resolution is attained. Ultimately, resolution is found through a process of negotiation between the proposition for each painting, and the ‘live’ sensation and experience of making.”

Website

2) PHIL BOOTH: ENCOUNTERS AT THE INTERFACE

UNTIL 12 JUNE, TREMENHEERE SCULPTURE GARDENS, PENZANCE

A solo exhibition of new work: making wall mounted and free-standing constructions, box works, art medals and works on paper. “Underpinning much of the work are critical questions about the many-layered and often dysfunctional relationship between ourselves and the natural world. Challenging, for instance, the dualistic notion of an inevitable divide between humankind and nature.”

Much of the work in this exhibition originates in reactions to encounters with the landscape, usually through drawing. An extensive development process brings together this material and other sources that can be entirely invented, revealing and enlarging new dynamics and discoveries.

 Website.

3) ARNOLFINI BRISTOL: TWO EXHIBITIONS

JO SPENCE: FROM FAIRY TALES TO PHOTOTHERAPY – UNTIL 20 JUNE
A PICTURE OF HEALTH WOMEN PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE HYMAN COLLECTION – UNTIL 13 JUNE

JO SPENCE: Drawn from one of the most comprehensive collections of Jo Spence’s works in the world, From Fairy Tales to Phototherapy focuses on the intersection between arts, health and wellbeing, celebrating her work as a photo therapist in which she used photography as a medium to address personal trauma, reflecting on key moments in her past.
A PICTURE of HEALTH: A group exhibition of contemporary women photographers featuring autobiographical perspectives and social commentaries on the wider society, that aims to de-stigmatise subjects around mental health and create an environment in which people can have open conversations about their wellbeing. A Picture of Health includes work by Heather Agyepong, Sonia Boyce, Eliza Hatch, Susan Hiller, Rose Finn-Kelcey, Anna Fox, Rosy Martin, Polly Penrose, Jo Spence, and Paloma Tendero.

 Website.

4) JACK MCGARRITY, EMERGING TALENTS

18 JUNE – 11 JULY, MESSUMS, WILTSHIRE

Jack McGarrity’s works on paper are a hybrid of painting, drawing and collage of small everyday moments mixed with the high drama of cinema and the ambiguity of memory.

At the root of Jack’s practice is observational drawing. “I think I’m usually just interested in things that look just a fraction out of place. Kind of the ‘uncanny valley’ idea. I’m drawn to quite mundane things even in quite fantastical films. I’m becoming more and more interested in the power objects have to represent human experience”. Back in the studio he picks out promising sketches to develop it into larger works. His methods of making are as various as his sources, working with gouache, pastel, oils, coloured pencils and collage.

Website.

5) BRISTOL FACES #3

25-27 JUNE, HOURS GALLERY, BRISTOL

A collaboration between painter Varosha and sculptor Sophie Howard. Sophie and Varosha are passionate about the city of Bristol. Their latest exhibition of portraits at HOURS depicts some of the people that give Bristol its unique identity, spirit and soul.
Bristol gets its reputation as a vibrant, creative and political city because of the people that make it so. Sophie and Varosha approached people for the project, seeking to meet, paint and sculpt a really wide range of well known and some of the less famous Bristol residents. All of them are people they admire.
It has been a huge privilege for Sophie and Varosha to spend time with the people who are the subjects of the exhibition, talking about their work and their passions.

Website.

6) FRANK HARWOOD: MEMORIES

UNTIL 28 JUNE, HEART OF THE TRIBE, GLASTONBURY

Frank Harwood has a unique and distinctive style which is instantly recognisable, his work has a quintessential English oddness with a human touch. Both his use of colour and brushstrokes are bold and playful. Inspired by source images that inspire a collective nostalgia, his paintings hint at a larger and often humorous narrative. Some are reminiscent of Mad Magazine, conveying a lovely innocence, while others are more unsettled and layered, almost as if a German Expressionist made Pop Art.

Frank describes his work as using “a simple comic style,” with bold lines, repeated patterns, flat space and vibrant colours. None of Frank’s paintings are autobiographical, but they do explore his past and memories. They are reflections on personal experiences using a variety of contemporary cultural references. Clearly shared cultural images have a deep resonance across all social and age groups.

Website.

7) THE SEA, THE SEA

UNTIL 10 JULY, SLADERS YARD, BRIDPORT

Recent paintings by Anthony Garratt, Frances Hatch, Janette Kerr HRSA PPRWA (above), & Nicholas Jones. In all its many moods, the sea holds an extraordinary fascination. With a respectful nod to Iris Murdoch’s borrowed title The Sea, The Sea brings together the work of four leading contemporary landscape artists all of whom are inescapably drawn to the sea. From the ferocious storm-torn Shetland seas that energise Janette Kerr’s work to the silent luminous expanses of Nicholas Jones’s Arctic paintings, from the earthy in-the-moment Dorset paintings of Frances Hatch to Anthony Garratt’s dynamic imaginative leaps, each explores and expresses in their work the passions, and the release of passions, that the sea represents for so many of us. All four are brave exploratory ambitious painters, highly regarded for the eloquence of their work.

Website.


WATCH OUT FOR…

IN PURSUIT OF SPRING: UNTIL 27 JUNE around 50 Somerset Art Works members have created artwork inspired by poet Edward Thomas’ account of his journey by bicycle between London and Somerset to meet the arrival of spring in 1913. BLACK SWAN ARTS, FROME www.blackswanarts.org.uk

OPEN-UP OUTDOOR EXHIBITION: UNTIL 30 JUNE a brand new series of outdoor artworks commissioned in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. HESTERCOMBE GALLERY, TAUNTON https://www.hestercombe.com/

LISA WATTS & DAD MY CRAZY FAMILY GOLF: UNTIL 10 JULY A participative project using a series of crazy golf holes, each including audio recordings of the family made during Dad’s years of caring for Lisa’s Mum. JOHN HANSARD GALLERY, SOUTHAMPTON https://jhg.art/whats-on/

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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