Best of the West – June 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….


AT THE RWA

Me, Myself, I: Artists’ Self-Portraits and This is Me – until 19 June

Bevan, Tony; Head and Neck; (c) Royal Academy of Arts / Photographer credit: John Hammond

Me, Myself, I: Artists’ Self-Portraits is the RWA’s landmark reopening exhibition following the transformational Light & Inspiration £4.1 million capital project. Opening to the public from 2 May – 19 June 2022, it will take place across all main gallery spaces.

The exhibition includes over 70 works by artists including Sir Joshua Reynolds, Angelica Kauffman and Lucian Freud, alongside contemporary work by Grayson Perry, Gillian Wearing and many more.

Curated by Tessa Jackson OBE, the show provides an illuminating overview and historical context to society’s current interest in self-representation and selfie culture, through an exploration of self-portraiture by artists over the last three hundred years. Full info here.

Also showing in the Kenny Gallery is This is Me – in which Academicians have been invited to show work in any medium that they consider defines them and their practice.


CURRENT EXHIBITIONS

Compiled by Sue Quirk and Laurel Smart

1) MEGAN WAKELAM & EMMA HOUSLEY: TIDES

3-9 JUNE, CENTRESPACE, BRISTOL

New paintings by Megan Wakelam & Emma Housley who are both painters who delight in the natural world, especially the ocean. Both artists use recollected experiences to infuse their work with joy and movement. Emma’s colours are vivid and frenetic, Megan’s work is more meditative and tranquil. Water for both these artists is an important part of their work, allowing the artists to explore emotional states as well as external experiences. The title of the show ’Tides’ can be seen in the literal sense of tides of water, but also as metaphorical tides of emotion. Many of the works are new and being shown for the first time in this exhibition. Megan lives and paints in Bristol, Emma is based in Somerset.

Website.

2) SUSAN EDWARDS: THE POETRY OF PAINTING

UNTIL 6 JUNE, THE BARN GALLERY, HEREFORD

Alongside poetic interpretations of landscapes, figures and seascapes for sale are more traditional and detailed narrative paintings of well-loved views. Each painting has its own unique colour range and there is something to suit everyone’s taste and budget.

 Website.

3) DAVID ABBOTT: ‘A CERTAIN DAY’

10 JUNE – 2 JULY, THAT ART GALLERY, BRISTOL

Recent paint­ings by Bris­tol based artist David Abbott explor­ing ways of remem­ber­ing through the medi­um of land­scape: “The valley sighs like an exhaling lung. Vapours rise and muddle with the humdrum sky. Sounds ascend from the loamsome belly of the earth, deep at first but soon decorated with bell-like melodies that form into words. The valley has learned to sing. The first words are clay, rain, thorn, rock. Then vetch, field maple, beetle, owl, hare, worm, and finally barn, path, gravestone. Some of this song I copy down into my notebook the rest soaks unevenly into the rough hessian of my memory. The song today is strange but brings to mind others. It has borrowed couplets, stolen some motifs, comes attired in a hand-me-down melody. Pedalling my bicycle I whistle it home. I whistle it in the kitchen over coffee, while digging in the garden, walking with the dog, cleaning my brushes. It joins the river of song whose words are people, history, death, climate, ritual, life, each of the seasons. It is the river that pulled me to this place and that carries me on to the next. The valley breathes and sings whether I am there or not.”

Website.

4) CAPTURED BEAUTY: CURATED BY BLACK VOICES CORNWALL

UNTIL 18 JUNE: NEWLYN ART GALLERY, CORNWALL

Forrester, Denzil; Witchdoctor; Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/witchdoctor-63411

An Arts Council Collection National Partners Programme Exhibition, curated by Abi Hutchinson, Artistic Director of Black Voices Cornwall. Captured Beauty features contemporary works of art drawn from the Arts Council Collection, with paintings by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Denzil Forrester, Ryan Mosely, Mowbray Odonkor, and Caroline Walker. Vanley Burke, Tarik Chawdry, and Colin Jones present photographic portraits of Britain in the 70s and 80s, alongside other artists using photography including Sunil Gupta, Ifeoma Onyefulu, Horace Ove, Tetsuya Noda, and Veronica Ryan.

Website.

5) NO WOMAN IS AN ISLAND: SEVEN WOMEN ARTISTS

UNTIL 30 JUNE, VANNER GALLERY, SALISBURY

A curated collection of works by seven award-winning women artists: Cath Bloomfield, Phoebe Cummings, Nicky Knowles RWA, Debbie Lee, Rebecca Newnham FRSS, Sarah Purvey and Patricia Volk RWA FRSS. Curated by Jacquiline Creswell, who was instrumental in developing the visual arts programme at Salisbury Cathedral, the diverse works on show will explore what it means to be a creative woman in the 21st century and the many challenges and opportunities these multifaceted and committed women face. No Woman is an Island sets out to discover their worlds and life experiences.

Website.

6) BATH SOCIETY OF ARTISTS ANNUAL OPEN EXHIBITION

UNTIL 2 JULY, VICTORIA ART GALLERY, BATH

The annual exhibition, open to non-members, is held in the Victoria Art Gallery for five or six weeks usually during the spring and summer. It is the highlight of the Society calendar and a big social event for Bath’s artistic community generally, but the Society also organises receptions, lectures, private views and members’ exhibitions.

Exhibits may be paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints or mixed media.

Website.

7) JANETTE KERR: A THOUSAND KILOMETRES BETWEEN – FROM SHETLAND TO SKAGASTRÖND

UNTIL 2 JULY, SLADERS YARD, WEST BAY, BRIDPORT, DORSET

Solo exhibition. Janette Kerr is an experimental contemporary artist whose work explores the boundaries between what is felt and what is seen in wild windswept places. She paints the weather, sea, light and wind, the more energetic the better, working both outside en plein air and in the studio. Her fascination extends to the people who live and have lived in the places she paints. Moving between abstraction and representation, she carries forward the ideas of the 18th Century Romantic Sublime in paintings that embody terrifying, thrilling confrontations with nature.

Janette Kerr is known for her paintings of the far North and Arctic. She goes regularly to the Shetland Isles to work. As well as Shetland paintings, this exhibition includes works that have resulted from her time at the Nes International Art Residency, Skagaströnd, NW Iceland in 2020. Her numerous collaborative projects with other artists, historians, scientists, and geographers have included time spent studying the unpredictability of waves and wind alongside Norwegian oceanographers at the meteorological Institute in Bergen which had a profound influence on her work.

Website.


LAST CHANCE TO SEE

WATCH OUT FOR…

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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