Best of the West – August 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.

 


 

CURRENT EXHIBITIONS

Compiled by Sue Quirk and Laurel Smart

1) CENTRESPACE, BRISTOL: 3 EXHIBITIONS

JESSIE WOODWARD & SOPHIE ELINOR MARTIN 6-11 AUGUST,
GEOFF OKE – ARTWORK RETROSPECTIVE 13-18 AUGUST,
FACES – SPACES ROSE PETTIT & KELVIN JENKINS 19-25 AUGUST

JESSIE WOODWARD & SOPHIE ELINOR MARTIN: Jessie is an abstract painter and mixed media artist based in Bristol and Sophie is a contemporary artist based in Suffolk. Jessie’s instinctive way of working explores the language of paint and mark making to evoke emotions in the viewer, aiming to communicate how pure abstract work can generate visual energetic joy and pleasure. Incorporating dead bees and most recently butterflies, Sophie’s spray paint and acrylic paintings depict bright and bold fantasy habitats that represent life coming out of a global pandemic.

GEOFF OKE – ARTWORK RETROSPECTIVE: Geoff Oke is a Welsh born painter and graphic artist who grew up in a rural and coastal setting. Land that made an impact on his visual memory and feeds into his work. He tragically died age 40 from a virulent form of cancer in 2019. This show celebrates a legacy of many-faceted styles and the unique creative vigour he pursued throughout his life.

ROSE PETTIT & KELVIN JENKINS – FACES – SPACES: Rose – “I like the process of working with clay, from the wet clay, moulding, carving out and building. I don’t have a particular face in mind when I begin but slowly a face emerges and becomes fixed in time with a story to tell.”
Kelvin – “Pictures of coastlines; pictures of traffic cones; pictures of clothes pegs, pictures that welcome mistakes; pictures of ginger; and pictures that try not to be anything but themselves.”

 Website.

2) MIKE PERRY: LAND/SEA

UNTIL 14 AUGUST, THELMA HULBERT GALLERY, HONITON

A major solo exhibition by Wales-based photographic artist Mike Perry spearheading East Devon’s new Climate campaign – Climate Conversations. This exhibition brings together two recent bodies of work: Wet Deserts and Môr Plastig. Wet Deserts focuses on mundane and typically overlooked locations in Britain, often in places referred to as areas of natural beauty, our national parks, but where there is clear evidence of man’s impact. Môr Plastig (Welsh for ‘plastic sea’), an ongoing body of work that classifies objects washed up by the sea into groupings – Bottles, Shoes, Grids, captures the intriguing surface detail by using a high-resolution camera.

 Website.

3) MUSEUM OF MYSTERY & IMAGINATION: MIXED EXHIBITION

UNTIL 20 AUGUST, BRIDPORT ARTS, DORSET

An exhibition of artworks which is purposely mysterious created from the imagination of artists and aimed to inspire the imagination of the audience.

According to the dictionary definition a museum houses a collection of natural, artistic, historical or scientific objects. To muse is to ponder or consider meditatively. A mystery is something which is obscure or secret, and imagination is the faculty of making images from the mind of things neither present nor real. Therefore an artistic Museum of Mystery and Imagination would be a collection of artworks which appear to be obscure or mysterious and which the artist has used their imagination to create images or objects which in reality do not exist. Allowing visitors to such a museum to meditatively ponder and consider … using their own imaginations to wander and debate what is real and what is not.

Artists taking part in this exhibition are: David Brooke, Tim Carroll, Elaine Dixon, John Hurford, Caroline Ireland, David Lawrence, Debbie Lee, Lisa Lindqvist, Amanda Popham and Suzanne Woodward.

Website.

4) A SPACE TO BREATHE: MIXED EXHIBITION

UNTIL 31 AUGUST, PORTHMINSTER GALLERY, ST IVES

Post-lockdown contemporary paintings and ceramics. This includes the launch of artist and “gallery favourite” Nick Bodimeade’s new series of post-lockdown paintings – ‘A Space to Breathe’. The exhibition also debuts fresh new paintings, and ceramics, made during the year that changed the world, by permanent gallery artists: Joanne Last, Freya Horsley, Barry Stedman, and Geoffrey Swindell. All are united in having found unexpected freedom to explore and redefine their creative practices.

Website.

 

5) HEATHER WALLACE & REBECCA BARNARD: INSIDE OUT

UNTIL 4 SEPTEMBER, HERITAGE COURTYARD GALLERY & STUDIOS, WELLS

Rebecca Barnard – Lounger I

A creative dialogue between two women artists. Heather Wallace and Rebecca Barnard showcase a series of new works, both in collaboration and as individual responses to their world. “The Creative process is all about allowing yourself to play. By playing and laughing, great ideas can come to the fore and develop un-inhibited.”

Heather Wallace and Rebecca Barnard have worked in neighbouring studios for almost five years. Through their continuing conversations about art, the artists who inspire them and their individual working practices, they have inspired and influenced each other in many ways.
INSIDE OUT is the culmination of two artists’ journey through an unfathomable period in all our lifetimes. It is an unashamed homage to the joy of sharing the creative process, as well as unwittingly becoming an unconscious record of negotiation, their humour, of testing and respecting their creative boundaries.

See our interview with Rebecca Barnard here.

Website.

6) KITTY HILLIER: FACING THE SUN

UNTIL 4 SEPTEMBER, NEWLYN ART GALLERY (THE PICTURE ROOM), PENZANCE

An immersive installation of new paintings, clay and fabric works. Kitty Hillier’s work is rooted in what’s above and below the surface, with a belief that all things are connected. Her paintings and groupings of objects comprise layers of overlapping biomorphic shapes distilled from everyday details, made with a diverse range of materials and often painstaking processes of hand-construction that reflect patterns found in nature and the slow formation of structures over time.

Kitty is using her time in The Picture Room to experiment with creating a multi-sensory experience that sparks curiosity in the living earth, particularly what is unseen and inaudible.

Website.

7) VERONICA RYAN: ALONG A SPECTRUM

UNTIL 5 SEPTEMBER, SPIKE ISLAND, BRISTOL

Ryan is best known for her sculpture that is evocative of shapes, forms and objects from the natural world. Over the years, she has experimented with scale, material and technique while remaining focused on the interplay between conflicting opposites: revelation and concealment, container and contained, absence and presence. Her work sits at the intersection between materiality and idea, and enquires into the processes by which objects carry and construct meaning.

Made during an extended residency at Spike Island in Bristol, the works in Along a Spectrum examine environmental and socio-political concerns, personal narratives, history and displacement, as well as the wider psychological implications of the current pandemic. New works include cast forms in clay and bronze; sewn and tea-stained fabrics; and bright neon crocheted fishing line pouches filled with a variety of seeds, fruit stones and skins.

Website.

 


LAST CHANCE TO SEE…

  • UNTIL 31 JULY: ENDANGERED A new collection of abstract paintings overlaid with intricate illustrations of various endangered species. ACEARTS, SOMERTON www.acearts.co.uk
  • UNTIL 7 AUGUST: PHILIP ELEY COASTAL VILLAGES Philip Eley is a naive artist living in Paignton, Devon. ARTIZAN GALLERY, TORBAY
    https://www.art-hub.co.uk/ex/eley21

WATCH OUT FOR…

CORRINA COOPER & ANDY ROLLO THREE MILES SQUARE AND A WINDOWSILL: UNTIL 8 AUGUST All the work being exhibited was produced during the pandemic and consequently reflects the restrictions of movement and confinement within small spaces. SOU’-SOU’-WEST GALLERY, SYMONDSBURY https://sousouwest.co.uk/

COASTAL ODYSSEY: HELEN PETIT: 17-22 AUGUST A body of experimental work in oils, pastels, watercolour, mixed media and ink. HARBOUR HOUSE, KINGSBRIDGE DEVON www.harbourhouse.org.uk

KURT JACKSON CLAY COUNTRY: UNTIL 5 SEPTEMBER Work fuelled by a long standing interest in Cornwall’s extractive industry and its role in shaping the physical landscape, culture and heritage of Cornwall. WHEAL MARTYN CLAY WORKS, ST AUSTELL https://www.wheal-martyn.com/kurt-jackson-clay-country

2 EXHIBITIONS – JESSIE EDWARDS THOMAS GREY AREAS: UNTIL 5 SEPTEMBER A photographic dialogue with five individuals with complex needs who have past or present experience of being homeless in Bristol FRANK BOWLING LAND OF MANY WATERS: UNTIL 26 SEPTEMBER New and previously unseen work. ARNOLFINI, BRISTOL https://arnolfini.org.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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