Best of the West – December 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

169 Annual Open Exhibition – until 8 January 23

The RWA’s renowned Annual Open Exhibition returns for its 169th year with a stunning variety of work from emerging and established artists. More info here.

Photo: Alice Hendy


 

CURRENT EXHIBITIONS

Compiled by Sue Quirk and Laurel Smart

 

1) RADICAL TERRAINS: GROUP EXHIBITION

2-7 DECEMBER, CENTRESPACE, BRISTOL

A collaborative exhibition by a group of south-west artists; focused on showing works in varying stages of development, celebrating the rebellious act of creation and sharing the journey untethered from a prescribed destination.

Encompassing a desire to understand the spaces we inhabit and how we interpret these landscapes we create. A dance cast free from acts to enclose it, as we surrender but try to capture, to share as we explore. Featured artists are Elliot Coffin, Emma Housley, Georgie Barns, Sarah Gay, Libby Bove.

Website

 

2) THE BIGGER PICTURE: CHRISTMAS MIXED EXHIBITION

9-17 DECEMBER, HERITAGE COURTYARD GALLERY AND STUDIOS, WELLS

This exhibition opens with a beautiful and intriguing collection of paintings, sculpture, photography, ceramics, textiles, jewellery and prints. All selected by Mary Nice and Annie Menter. With a wealth of experience in the arts Annie and Mary bring their discerning eye to this show. Large scale, small scale and something in between, artists and makers have invested their creative spirit in this eclectic assemblage.

 Website.

 

3) ANNUAL CHRISTMAS OPEN: GROUP EXHIBITION

UNTIL 23 DECEMBER, BURTON ART GALLERY, BIDEFORD, DEVON

Organised as a fundraising event by the Friends of The Burton, the Annual Open exhibition offers an opportunity for local artists, both amateur and professional, to exhibit alongside each other. With no set brief, the Annual Open places no restrictions on content or choice of medium, and artists are encouraged to submit for selection work that best reflects their current artistic practice.

Website.

 

4) A VISIBLE THREAD: SEAM COLLECTIVE

UNTIL 24 DECEMBER, ACEARTS, SOMERTON, SOMERSET

This exhibition aims to encourage viewers to rethink their relationship to thread, be aware of its materiality, its sustainability, its possibilities, and limitations. Thread, as cloth, is woven through our lives. It surrounds us like a second skin. Precisely because of these close connections, it becomes almost invisible to us.

Website.

 

5) HAUSER & WIRTH, BRUTON, SOMERSET: 2 EXHIBITIONS

LOUISE BOURGEOIS: DRAWING INTIMACY 1939-2010; FABIAN PEAKE: AN EYE EITHER SIDEUNTIL 2 JANUARY

Louise Bourgeois is one of the most important and influential artists of the 20th Century. This exhibition shares with the viewer an extraordinary grouping of works from the artist’s private collection. Exhibited publicly for the first time, the paintings, sculpture and works on paper reflect Bourgeois’s multiplicity of mind and material.

Fabian Peake emerged as a painter in the London art scene of the late 1960s. In the decades since, he has expanded his practice including several dramatic stylistic leaps, each time mastering a new visual language and exploring its capacity for image making. While he started out as a painter, Peake’s later work broadened to incorporate tailored textile wall pieces, cut-out reliefs, sculpture, drawing, photography, writing and poetry, with each informing one another.

Website.

 

6) RIPPON: MAKE SOUTHWEST

UNTIL 7 JANUARY: RIVERSIDE MILL, BOVEY TRACEY, DEVON

Rippon is a multidisciplinary collaboration between MAKE Southwest maker-members Kate Lyons-Miller and Anita Reynolds, in which they share place, practice, and materials. Scorched gorse, moon jars, vessels textured and coloured with Dartmoor clays and minerals, and 365 abstracted landscape monoprints are among this body of work that inspires deeper consideration for the natural and human history of Dartmoor.

Website.

 

7) ELIZABETH FRINK: STRENGTH & SENSUALITY

UNTIL 8 JANUARY: HOLBURNE MUSEUM, BATH

In 2019 the Holburne received a bequest of 35 objects from the estate of sculptor Dame Elisabeth Frink (1930–1993). The artworks included sculptures, drawings, etchings, and screen prints. A new exhibition will celebrate this important acquisition by showcasing a selection of the works.

Featuring themes such as storytelling, animals, humour and violence, Elisabeth Frink: Strength & Sensuality is the Holburne’s first opportunity to show a selection of Dame Elisabeth Frink’s bronzes and works on paper. The 11 works included depict her unique take on some of the most loved and well-known tales from Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and classical Greek mythology, in her Children of the Gods series of etchings. Together, they examine an almost unknown, or indeed forgotten, but important aspect of Frink’s career, as a storyteller and printmaker. Visitors will also be able to see a number of Frink’s best-known motifs, winged figures, male torsos and horses.

Website.


 

LAST CHANCE TO SEE

WATCH OUT FOR


 
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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