Best of the West – December 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.

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) EMILY POWELL: GREEN IS ESSENTIAL TO MY HAPPINESS

2 DECEMBER – 8 JANUARY 2022, THE LIVINGSTONE, CLIFTON VILLAGE, BRISTOL

We are pleased to announce the opening of this new gallery in Bristol! Emily’s winter exhibition celebrates colour and how it can make you feel. Featuring an array of wintery animals and bold colours, Emily has created a series of work just right for the darker months.

Website.

2) ANNA GREAR: DIFFRACTIONS — APERTURES TO THE UNCONSCIOUS

3-22 DECEMBER, HOURS, BRISTOL

Anna is deeply drawn to the non-objective and to the idea that reality is emergent, complex, mysterious and dynamic. Her interest in New Materialist thought, her long-standing meditation practice and her passion (as a hypnotherapist) for the communicative unconscious leads her to see each painting as an evolving relationship between paint, materials, tools, moods, ego-states and the quality of the light at the time.

The paintings always surprise her and their ‘finished point’ is just a contingent cut in an ongoing process that could continue into endless diffractions that drift across each other in layers. The paintings hint at this liveliness for the perceiver — new shapes, textures and lines emerge for the viewer as they gaze at the work.

 Website.

3) WINTER OPEN: MIXED EXHIBITION

4 DECEMBER – 9 JANUARY 2022, SOU’-SOU’-WEST GALLERY, SYMONDSBURY

Sou’-Sou’-West Gallery’s annual Winter Open, this year with a focus on smaller pieces of original work, in a variety of media.

Website.

4) ANGIE SPENCER, LUCY GUENOT: RIVER, WOOD AND LEA

14–20 DECEMBER, LANSDOWN GALLERY, STROUD

Working ‘en plein air’ is a vital part of the creative process for Angie Spencer and Lucy Guenot. Angie works outside in oils and also uses plein air drawings to inform studio paintings. For Lucy walking and drawing can stimulate ideas for other projects using print and letterpress. Lucy and Angie are both members of the Walking the Land group of artists, and are also both musicians who play in the Stroud Symphony orchestra.

Website.

5) ROBERT JONES: REMEMBERED PLACES

UNTIL 29 DECEMBER, PENWITH GALLERY, ST IVES

Robert Jones says “In this exhibition I revisit subjects, themes and places that have meaning for me. The sea and weather are constant themes but I also make paintings of trees, birds and animals that have caught my eye in the landscape at home or during travels abroad.

I still live on the north coast of Cornwall where I was born and grew up. When I paint the sea it is the Atlantic; the impressions I’ve had since childhood are part of my life. For me, if paintings are any good they work on many levels. I am conscious of the stuff of paint and the surface of the painting that often results from working and reworking. Of course, there is also the awareness of colour and tone and the moods they evoke.”

Website.

6) JAMES RAVILIOUS: AN ENGLISH EYE

UNTIL 30 DECEMBER, BURTON AT BIDEFORD, DEVON

An English Eye is a collection of photographs by renowned local artist-photographer, James Ravilious. The collection provides an important record of life in North Devon between 1972 and 1997, and also represents the best of James Ravilious’ work as a whole.

James Ravilious is the son of Eric Ravilious (war artist, engraver and designer) and Tirzah Garwood (artist and wood engraver). An English Eye is curated by the artist himself alongside the photographer and writer Peter Hamilton (1996-97), the series of photographs grew out of a monograph of James’ work published by The Royal Photographic Society’s Pictorial Group in 1989. It showcases James’ natural ability to capture the inner narrative of his subjects, and chronicles both the people and the landscape of rural Devon from the 1970s to the late 1990s.

Website.

7)  WINTER SHOW: MIXED EXHIBITION

UNTIL 8 JANUARY 2022, THE PICTURE ROOM, NEWLYN ART GALLERY, CORNWALL

A mixed exhibition of paintings and prints by five Cornish artists, each with a different response to the landscape around them.

RICHARD BALLINGER: Images are often constructed with thickly-impastoed interlocking shapes or blocks of colour. They nod to the symbolic style of post-impressionist painters such as Paul Gauguin.

KERRY HARDING: Landscape paintings that are concerned with experience beyond the ordinary. In her practice she relies entirely on process and the manipulation of paint, working and reworking the canvas.

KITTY HILLIER: Paintings comprising layers of overlapping biomorphic shapes distilled from everyday details, made with a diverse range of materials.

MARIANNE NICHOLLS: A painter of abstract landscapes, her technique reflects a personal response to her environment.

SARAH WOODS: Line etchings that signify something meditative in the landscape. Each print begins with a drawing, which is slowly worked into an etching and printed to a limited edition in the studio.

Website.


LAST CHANCE TO SEE…


WATCH OUT FOR…

  • ELIZABETH FRINK MAN IS AN ANIMAL: UNTIL 16 JANUARY Extensive collection of large-scale sculptures by Dame Elisabeth Frink to be shown in this country since the artist’s death in 1993. MESSUMS WILTSHIRE, TISBURY, WILTSHIRE https://messumswiltshire.com/exhibitions/

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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