Best of the West – November 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….


The RWA Collection – Our Heritage, Our Future

Until 27 Nov 2021 – Victoria Methodist Church, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 1NU

The RWA galleries may be closed temporarily for the transformational NLHF-funded Light and Inspiration Project, but the exhibitions programme continues as the RWA, with the support of the Victoria Methodist Church next door on Whiteladies Road, displays a selection of works from the RWA Permanent Collection in the wonderful open space of the church.

Joining two recent acquisitions by Albert Irvin, the exhibition includes historic works by many of the RWA’s well-known members, such as Mary Fedden, Julian Trevelyan, Anne Redpath, David Inshaw and Dame Elisabeth Frink, as well as contemporary works by recent members such as Adelaide Damoah, Paul Thirkell and Leslie Glenn Damhus. Many of the historic works, still as fresh and interesting as when they were first produced, will receive their first showing in many years, in the largest exhibition of the collection in recent times.

More info here.

Image above: Vivienne Baker (b.1965), Opaline, 2000, oil on canvas, 162 x 187.5cm © the artist. RWA Collection. Photo © RWA

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.

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) DAVID SHILLINGLAW: CROSS POLLINATION

4-26 NOVEMBER, THAT ART GALLERY, BRISTOL

Cross Pollination is an idea that helps me to understand the process by which I make art. There is a conscious and unconscious back and forth that is integral to my practice, somewhere between a design and a dream. I love the thought that bees don’t know that they are pollinating plants and that the flowers don’t know they are making honey.’

This exhibition gathers together works which demonstrate a shape shifting practice which celebrates the importance of play and constant change. David explores analogue possibilities, translating ideas and motifs into whatever materials or techniques are available. Everything is connected, each idea feeds and fertilises the next. Paintings, drawings and collages, works on canvas, paper, ceramics and recent experiments with metal.

Website.

2) PAULA DOWNING, ANTONY HOSKING, LYNN SIMMS: CONJUNCTION

UNTIL 13 NOVEMBER, PENWITH GALLERY, ST IVES, CORNWALL

Ceramicist Paula Downing, photographer Anthony Hosking and printmaker Lynn Simms come together for this joint exhibition.

‘Although each of us work with different materials and processes, we have a common link. Hence the title ‘Conjunction’ which means ‘a coming together’ and the common denominator here is to do with abstracting ideas, layering of colour and texture, creating depth and sometimes, intricate detail. Each of us try to achieve this in our own way and so invite you to explore beneath the surface and search for the less obvious but nonetheless interesting hidden gems.’

 Website.

3) BRISTOL CLAY

13 – 23 NOVEMBER, CENTRESPACE, BRISTOL

‘Bristol Clay’ is an exciting new group of women ceramic artists and makers showing at Centrespace in their first exhibition together. Coming from different starting points and experiences, all share a passion for exploring the limitless possibilities of clay.

Each artist has their own individual approach to ceramics and this exhibition demonstrates the versatility of the medium. From vessels thrown on the potter’s wheel, to hand built sculpture, from earthenware to stoneware and raku – every piece of work is unique and has its place in the maker’s artistic journey.

Website.

4) PATRICK JONES AND NIGEL MOORES: LANGUAGE OF COLOUR

13 – 28 NOVEMBER, SOU’-SOU’-WEST GALLERY, SYMONDSBURY

The show celebrates colour as an entity, with its own ‘logic’, that can express all of our emotions and responses to life.  Abstract Devon-based painters Patrick Jones and Nigel Moores share the belief that the language of colour is open to us all and rather like music, all we need to do is to experience it. True, there is a subjective response which is unique to each of us but at its deepest level, it can communicate, move us and transcend words.  Therefore, the title chosen for this marvellous exhibition is very apt.  It reflects both sides of the coin: ‘Colour’, which gives pleasure, and ‘Language’ which refers to using abstraction as a reference point.

Website.

5) PENWITH RHYTHMS: ANCIENT AND SACRED LANDSCAPE: GROUP EXHIBITION

UNTIL 27 NOVEMBER, PORTHMINSTER GALLERY, ST IVES

The dramatic landscape of west Cornwall has captured the imagination of writers and artists for three centuries, and now this ancient and sacred landscape is explored and celebrated anew in this thoughtfully curated show of artworks by guest artists, featuring Sam Boughton; Melvyn Evans; Lisa Pettibone; Tommy Rowe; and Charlotte Jones.

For five thousand years in West Penwith, Cornwall – where the dark volcanic rock meets saltwater at the shape-shifting margin twixt land and sea, the granite moors and clifftops have stood sentinel to the many ancient and sacred sites that huddle in this atmospheric and mysterious land at the very end of Britain.  A magical and transmutative landscape of stone circles, standing stones, settlements, quoits, and tombs, where worlds collide and spawn a rich folklore of mermaids, giants, spriggans, knockers, piskies, and changelings.

Website.

6) BRIDGET McCRUM: SELECTED WORKS

UNTIL 28 NOVEMBER, MESSUMS WILTSHIRE, TISBURY

McCrum’s work is a potent fusion of the ancient with the modern. She works primarily in stone, from which some pieces are also cast in bronze. Initially influenced by archaeological finds and by the work of Brancusi, Hepworth and Moore, her sculpture also contains oblique references to the landscape and fauna around her homes in Devon and Gozo. The basis of her work is a lyrical abstraction of living forms, a process after which only the primary elements of her animals and birds remain identifiable

Website.

7) ANNIE WARD: WHERE THE MIST RISES

UNTIL 5 DECEMBER, LYME BAY ARTS, BRIDPORT, DORSET

Based on Lyme Bay Artist Annie Ward’s research into satellite photographs and historic maps of the Dorset coastline, these abstract works explore the changeable spaces where the land meets the sea. Annie begins with detailed drawings on canvas that she scrubs over with layers of paint allowing shapes to be defined, buried and rediscovered in an editing process that reflects the ever-changing nature of coastal margins.

Website.


LAST CHANCE TO SEE…

  • UNTIL 7 NOVEMBER: NAOMI FREARS: MEN FALLING A solo exhibition which includes newly commissioned and other recent works spanning film, painting and print. EXETER PHOENIX, EXETER https://exeterphoenix.org.uk/

WATCH OUT FOR…

TWO DAY EVENT

  • 6-7 NOVEMBER 11-4pm Cam Valley Art Trail In village halls and studios across the Cam Valley (BANES) 10 miles south of Bristol & Bath. https://www.camvalleyartstrail.co.uk/
  • 27-28 NOVEMBER 10-6pm North Bristol Arts Trail A walking trail of 55 Venues, with art displayed in a window, or indoors. Also an online virtual gallery, where visitors can enjoy and buy the art from their own homes. https://northbristolartists.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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