Best of the West – January 2022

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….


CURRENT EXHIBITIONS

Compiled by Sue Quirk and Laurel Smart

1) LUCY STEIN: WET ROOM

UNTIL 16 JANUARY, SPIKE ISLAND, BRISTOL

This is the first major solo exhibition in the UK by Cornwall-based artist Lucy Stein (b. 1979). Working primarily with painting and drawing, Stein’s show is inspired by the fougou: narrow Neolithic underground passages unique to West Cornwall that lead to womb-like chambers and have become sacred sites of worship. Echoing the ritual rebirthing ceremonies that are believed to have taken place within these uterine caverns, the exhibition centres around an installation comprising a bathtub and sink with running taps, surrounded by tiled walls that have been hand-painted with scenes relating to the artist’s study of western esoteric traditions.

Website.

2) PHILIP SUTTON RA: COLOURS THROUGH LIFE

EXTENDED UNTIL 16 JANUARY, SLADERS YARD, BRIDPORT

A major selling exhibition of over 50 of Philip Sutton RA’s paintings, including his most recent work, plus original copies of posters from his lifetime.

 Website.

3) ELIZABETH FRINK: MAN IS AN ANIMAL

UNTIL 16 JANUARY, MESSUMS WILTSHIRE, TISBURY

This is the most extensive collection of large-scale sculptures by Dame Elisabeth Frink shown in this country since the artist’s death in April 1993. Loaned from various institutions and private collectors, it was first exhibited at the Gerhard Marcks Haus Museum in Bremen, Germany. The exhibition explores axioms of tension, threat, intensity and mankind’s atavistic tendencies within Frink’s figurative representational sculpture. It presages how her work continues to be resonant of her time as well as function as a carapace to our contemporary concerns.

This exhibition allows for a contemporary reflection on the duality of masculinity and the contrasts and conflicts that it entails, whilst also revealing the timelessness of Frink’s expressionist figurative oeuvre. It highlights her almost unique insight – as a female sculptor – into the dichotomy of masculinity and of Man’s capability for cruelty as well as compassion and includes works made from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, when Frink was in the height of her artistic prowess. Sculptures which include her Riace figures, Running Man, Judas and Seated Man, have never before been shown together in this country

Website.

4) STEVE MANNING: BIG SKIES, DISTANT VIEWS

UNTIL 16 JANUARY, LYME REGIS MUSEUM

Steve Manning is an Exeter based printmaker working out of an attic studio that commands fine vistas of clouds and sky. The landscapes of Dorset and Devon have understandably become the subject of much of his work, including this exhibition of lino prints.

“I am particularly interested in the cloudscape and it often informs the overall composition of the completed print,” says Steve. “For me the challenge is to render distant vistas and ethereal skies using a medium—multi-block and reduction printmaking—usually associated with bold blocks of colour. I achieve this by either lightening colours with white or thinning them with extender. The end results are prints that could be described as having a ‘painterly’ quality. I probably should be a watercolourist, but I love the combination of craft and fine art that printmaking offers.”

Website.

5) WINTER GLOW: MIXED EXHIBITION

UNTIL 22 JANUARY, PORTHMINSTER GALLERY, ST IVES

An inspirational and tempting collection of rare, exquisite, and precious treasures, showcasing precious handpicked offerings by guest and gallery artists, including:

Ann Armitage’s rich still life paintings; Michael Thacker’s hand-carved stone sculptures embellished with 24k gold; Sotis Filippides’ ceramic bowls lined with 24k gold, and platinum;  Tony Scrivener’s painterly still lifes; Lara Scobie’s ceramic vessels with 23k gold interiors; Margaret Lovell’s mirror-polished bronze ‘Head’ sculptures; Geoffrey Swindell’s exquisite glazed porcelain vessels; Tommy Rowe’s gleaming mirror-polished bronze sculptures; and Stephen Murfitt’s lustrous glazed high fired earthenware vessels.

Website.

6) LIZZY MOONEY: FRAGILE EARTH

25 JANUARY- 2 FEBRUARY, HARBOUR HOUSE, KINGSBRIDGE, DEVON

Lizzy describes her work as “a collection of interconnecting mobiles created using gilded fallen bark. Movement of people in the space would create a butterfly effect on the piece, illustrating our effect on and the fragility of Earth. I plan to continue making and to install parts of this piece whilst in residence at the gallery.

“I’m inspired by the elements earth, air, fire and water; their interactions with each other, the clashes and collaborations with the manmade world and works are about their role in my exploration of the unity between spirit and matter. In my view everything is connected and I make as an intuitive and spontaneous response to the world around me.”

Website.

7) MIXED WINTER EXHIBITION

UNTIL 29 JANUARY, DAVID SIMON GALLERY, CASTLE CARY

An eclectic feast of new work by gallery artists plus new invited artists which includes paintings, ceramics and bronze sculpture by Daisy Cook; Julia Cooper; Isabel Coulton; Parastoo Ganjei; Andrew Lansley; Peter Lloyd-Jones; Mungo Powney; Yuta Segawa; Mike Service; and Frances Watts.

Website.


WATCH OUT FOR…

  • STEPHEN GILL COMING UP FOR AIR: UNTIL 16 JANUARY Over thirty years of extraordinary practice from Bristol-born photographer, drawing together new previously un-exhibited work, alongside works from other iconic series. ARNOLFINI GALLERY, BRISTOL https://arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/stephen-gill/
  • KIRSTIE MACLEOD THE RED DRESS & ITS SOMERSET ARTISAN: UNTIL 29 JANUARY This exhibition will present the unique garment alongside images and stories of the artisans who helped create her, including the stitched work from 8 local embroiderers who have contributed to the Red Dress. ACEARTS, SOMERTON https://www.acearts.co.uk/2022-2/

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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