Best of the West – July 2021

The best art exhibitions coming up in Bristol and the Westcountry – 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 the month ahead – including a look ahead to upcoming features….


RWA Pop-Up Exhibition ‘Varekai’

The RWA has closed its doors until February 2022 for the very exciting Light and Inspiration project. But in the meantime there will be plenty of RWA events going on at other venues in the area. Keep an eye on rwa.org.uk for the latest.

One such is the Varekai (‘Anywhere’) Pop-up Exhibition, in which a selection of works from the RWA’s Permanent Collection will be appearing at venues around the city.

To accompany the exhibition, free family art workshops with an artist will run at each venue, using the paintings as inspiration. Booking for these workshops is via each individual venue.

Easton Community Centre: 18 June – 2 Aug (Family workshop 1:30- 3:30pm 31 Jul)

Barton Hill Settlement: 4 Aug – 31 Aug (Family workshop 12 Aug)

BCL South: 1 Sept – 24 Sept (Family workshop 4 Sept 10:30am-12:30pm)

St Paul’s Learning Centre: 25 Sept – 28 Oct (Family workshops, Sat 9 and 23 Oct)

Wellspring Healthy Living Centre: 30 Oct – 26 Nov

Southmead Community Centre: 27 Nov ’21 – 6 Jan ’22 TBC

Find out more about the Varekai events here.


STEWART GEDDES – 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


CURRENT EXHIBITIONS

Compiled by Sue Quirk and Laurel Smart

1) SHÂN ROBERTS: MIXED MEDIA PAINTINGS

UNTIL 5 JULY. VOYAGE ART, TEIGNMOUTH, DEVON

Ascension 2021

Shân has been experimenting with art and craft, and particularly painting, since an early age. Shân began painting seriously when she moved to South Devon, fulfilling a lifelong dream to live near the sea. “Now I find the beauty of my surroundings helps to inspire a wide variety of work, and I am always learning and experimenting with new ideas, processes and media. My main subject matter is landscape, which I increasingly take towards abstraction. Collage plays an important role in some of my painting. I use a variety of mixed media, usually starting with acrylics and adding paper, inks, crayons and pastels. Texture and colour, and sometimes found items, are equally important in creating atmosphere, mood and emotion.”

 Website.

2) URSULA LEACH: FROM WHERE I STAND

UNTIL 10 JULY. THE ART STABLE, BLANDFORD, DORSET

“There are three strands of work in this exhibition. One to do with current agricultural practices on the downs, large areas of one colour denoting monoculture, aridity, erosion. Things placed on the edge of the image indicate possible side-lining, disappearance, fragmentation.

“Recently, now living near to a softer landscape I have become entranced by the abundance of trees and this work has become more celebratory and even more about colour. Placing one colour against another I hope to produce the feeling needed to recreate the intensity of a visual experience. Colour is the main preoccupation as it also is in the third strand of work which is about Greece and its’ seas and mountains.”

 Website.

3) MATTHEW HAYWARD: DAYS OF HOPE

UNTIL 10 JULY. GUGGLETON FARM ARTS, STALBRIDGE, DORSET

This solo show, curated by Deanne Tremlett in the Milking Parlour Gallery, is a collection of the artist’s recent paintings that reflect hope in its broadest sense. Some celebrate great acts of faith, whilst others a need to believe in a brighter future.

Website.

4) ROD ASHMAN: FIRE WATER STONE

UNTIL 17 JULY. ARTIZAN GALLERY, TORQUAY, DEVON

Rod’s interest in fire stems from when he was a young boy watching his grandfather work at his forge, making wonderful metal forms. The image of the red, orange, and white heat, and the sparks flying has stayed with Rod and most likely accounts for his interest in ceramics and the smoke firings that he does. Along with this creative aspect of fire goes the destructive aspect and smoky detritus left behind.

Rod also has an interest in the coast and sea. As with fire, the sea can be benign or aggressive and Rod’s work focuses on those periods when there is an incoming storm, and the rising swell of the water batters the rocks with its power, energy, and sheer relentlessness. The resulting works capture and evoke the drama of the moment.

For the final element in the series Rod draws inspiration from the natural landscape, mainly Dartmoor, with all its natural stone features but also from the urban landscape, old stone buildings and tumbling ruins. Both have surface which have been affected over time by natural forces and it is the weathering, decaying and distressed surfaces that Rod finds visually interesting.

Website.

5) LUCY OWEN: BOATS AND OTHER THINGS

20-25 JULY, 44AD ARTSPACE, BATH, NORTH EAST SOMERSET

This exhibition will feature works by local artist Lucy Owen. On display will be a recent series of semi abstract paintings, which have been created using various media including acrylic, pastels, ink, pen, pencil and collage. Small plaster, papier-mâché and wire sculptures will also be on show.

Website.

6) SPACE FOR CREATIVITY: GROUP EXHIBITION

20-29 JULY (CLOSED SATURDAY AND SUNDAY), CREATE CENTRE, BRISTOL.

This is a vibrant exhibition celebrating paintings produced by a group of 11 women artists working with Laurel Smart from March 2020 to June 2021. Laurel’s large abstracts will also be on show.

Isolated yet together, they met weekly on zoom. They formed a strong connection, shared ideas and thoughts which encouraged their creativity resulting in a wide range of styles and genres. Participating artists: Jane Boot, Di Ward, Jo Hearn, Jan Denton, Kate Howard, Lyn Harradine, Liza Donoghue, Maggie Pearson, Mina Malpass, Stella Berkeley, Susie Harvey, Laurel Smart.

Space for Creativity is a mentoring course run by tutor (and FRWA committee member) Laurel Smart as part of the Bristol Adult Learning Service. Instagram @laurelsmart

Meet the artists event – Thursday July 29 5pm to 8pm

Website.

7) DAVID DAWKINS: TWO SIDES OF A STORY

23-28 JULY. CENTRESPACE, BRISTOL

Each one of David’s sculptures has two sides to them, like a two-page book, and each one has a true story behind them. They are caricatures of various people he has known over the years. “Recently he has been focusing on life, the universe, and everything, political, the news and anything that rattles around inside his head”. The sculptures are mainly ceramic; he also uses gold and silver leaf, liquid gold and silver, resin, paper, and jewellery. His ceramics sculptures have been described as humorous quirky Pop Art, but some are about more serious subjects.

Website.


LAST CHANCE TO SEE…


WATCH OUT FOR…

BILL STEWART LANDMARKS II: UNTIL 17 JULY Unique landscape paintings inspired by memories. PLOUGH ARTS CENTRE, GREAT TORRINGTON https://www.theploughartscentre.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions

A BIOGRAPHY OF YEARLY SELF-PORTRAITS BY RON: UNTIL 18 JULY A selection of self-portraits that artist, Ron, produced over a seven year period of extreme turmoil and challenges. ARNOLFINI, BRISTOL https://arnolfini.org.uk/whatson-category/exhibition/

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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