Monday, 21 April 2014

RWA Symposium: British Waters and Beyond

        The Royal West of England Academy in partnership with
          Leeds Metropolitan University and Oxford Brookes University
Symposium: British Waters and Beyond:
The cultural significance of the sea since 1800

Royal West of England Academy, 
Queen’s Road, Bristol, BS8 1PX 
Monday May 12th, 2014

Coinciding with a major exhibition - Power of the Sea (April 5 - July 6th) - the Royal West of England Academy is hosting an interdisciplinary one-day symposium in partnership with Leeds Metropolitan University and Oxford Brookes University.

This symposium aims to explore the conceptualization, and the cultural and political significance of the seas around the British Isles within a broad framework of the arts. It will bring together and create dialogue between practising artists, curators, writers, academics and students from disciplines including visual arts, cultural theory, geography, history and literature, all with shared interests in the many meanings of the sea in the arts and beyond.

The Symposium will cover the following topics: 'Literatures of the Sea', 'Experimental Seascapes', ‘ Maritime Communities’, ‘Contemporary Sea Travel’, 'Theorising Maritime Space', and 'Ships, Art, and Archives'.

Keynote speaker: Professor John Mack (University of East Anglia, author of The Sea: A Cultural History)

Full programme details and registration:
Contact: Tel: +44 (0)117 973 5129 
Joel Edwards, RWA Learning and Resources manager:     

Royal West of England Academy, Queen's Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1PX
Sponsored by NAUTILUS, Oxford Brookes University, and Leeds Metropolitan University

The Power of the Sea exhibition explores the aesthetic sensibilities of the sea, celebrating its qualities through observed, naturally occurring phenomena, as well as drawing upon the rich cultural legacy of narratives, metaphors and allegories with which it is associated. Work by leading
contemporary artists (including Maggi Hambling, Hughie O’Donoghue, Kurt Jackson, and Norman Ackroyd) is shown alongside that of 19th and 20thc century British painters (including Turner, Constable, John Brett and Paul Nash), a fertile period of artistic expression embracing Romanticism, naturalism and abstraction. April 6 - July 4th, Tuesdays - Sundays 10am - 6pm.


Friday, 6 December 2013

Small art works sale

Small artworks by Academicians, are now on show on the walls of the Papadeli café, and available for sale at £300 and below. This is a wonderful opportunity for the public and collectors to buy small and "inexpensive" original pieces by the RWA's Academicians..
All work purchased can be taken away with you off the wall during the Christmas period, making a beautiful and exclusive christmas present for someone special. If you would like to buy one of these exclusive art works please see the front of house staff on the reception desk. It is on for a limited time only, so please support the RWA by visiting this wonderful little exhibition.
Proceeds from the sale will go towards supporting the Royal West of England Academy. We are entirely independent, so our fundraising events are invaluable in enabling us to secure the funds necessary to continue to provide a strong artistic programme and events.
Janette Kerr PRWA, Two dark clouds oil on board

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Fund-raising sale

Exhibition of small works by RWA Academicians.

Small artworks by Academicians, are now on show on the walls of the Papadeli café, and available for sale at special prices of £300 and below. Visitors and collectors can buy small and "inexpensive" original pieces.

All work purchased can be taken away with you off the wall during the Christmas period. They will make wonderful exclusive presents. If you would like to buy one of these exclusive art works please see the front of house staff on the reception desk.

Please support the RWA by visiting this wonderful little exhibition.

Proceeds from the sale will go towards supporting the Royal West of England Academy. We are entirely independent, so our fundraising events are invaluable in enabling us to secure the funds necessary to continue to provide a strong artistic programme and events.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Who decides what makes art good?

Who decides what makes art good?

Grayson Perry, in this year’s 2013 Reith Lectures, raised the issue of quality - one of the most burning issues around art – how do we tell if something is good?

The idea of quality now seems to be contested. It is also complex. There are various criteria by which we judge art and there is no easy answer because many of the methods of judging are very problematic, and many of the criteria used to assess art are conflicting: financial value, popularity, art historical significance, or aesthetic sophistication - might even be just colour and subject matter. There is a tension between the idea of popularity and quality within the art world, and they seem often to be almost at odds with each other. We might say – I like that because it’s really beautiful, but he idea of calling an artwork ‘beautiful’ is also a loaded term: where does our idea of beauty come from? Beauty is constructed concept - by family, friends, education, nationality, race, religion, politics, in fact all of these things.

The cast involved in validation of a work of art includes artists, teachers, dealers, collectors, critics, curators, the media, even the public.

How the art we see in museums and in galleries around the world, and in biennales, ends up there - how it gets chosen – may depend upon the selection panel of the day, the policy of a gallery or museum, the taste of the Director… what is considered to be ‘of the moment’… etc etc

In the case of the current RWA 161st Annual Exhibition,  Academicians, artists, an international Art Director/curator, and an independent gallery director have selected it. Each brings their personal experiences, histories, and desires to the process.

Perry suggests that in many ways what it boils down to is seriousness; but then even this can be questioned and contested.

In the end, if enough of the right people think it’s good, that’s perhaps that’s all there is to it. It is, as Perry proposes, our own responsibility to give art a second thought before writing it off as ‘not for me’. Appreciating contemporary art is something that you have to “work at”; you can't just stumble into a gallery and expect to understand or like everything that's being exhibited.

But, as Alan Bennett suggested, when he was a trustee of the National Gallery in London, perhaps we should all put a big sign up outside our galleries saying: “You don’t have to like it all”!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

RWA 161st Annual Exhibition 

November 24th 2013 - January 26th 2014
Private View - November 23rd 2pm-6pm

This year our invited Artist is Aisling Hedgecock

Named The Independent newspaper’s Outstanding Young Artist of the Year, ‘Talent 2007’, Hedgecock was born in Donegal, Republic of Ireland, 1979, and moved to Dorset, United Kingdom, in 1986. After completing an honours degree in Fine Art, Sculpture at Wimbledon School of Art, London, in 2001, she gained a place on the Fine Art, Sculpture MA at the Royal College of Art, London, 2004.

Hedgecock was awarded the Sainsbury Scholarship in Drawing and Sculpture at The British School at Rome, and worked in Italy until 2008. Her most recent solo exhibitions include We Are Stardust at Akershus Kunstsenter, Olso, 2013, and The Third Stellation, at Galerie Gabriel Rolt, in Amsterdam, 2011. Group shows include On Becoming a Gallery Part 3 at Angus-Hughes, London, New London School, Galerie Schuster, Berlin, and On Time, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London. Hedgecock is currently based in Dorset and Spain. 

Her work will be shown in the galleries as part of the RWA 161st Annual Exhibition. Hedgecock also joined us on this year’s selection panel.

See interview with Aisling by Fiona Robinson in May's Evolver art magazine and on Fiona Robinson's  webiste:

Friday, 15 November 2013

RWA Selection Day

Selection day at the RWA 161st Annual Exhibition

Photographs by Neil McCoubrey

Jaimie Beynon has created a superb time-lapse video of Selection Day for our 161st Open Exhibition: please do watch it - it's brilliant!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

161st RWA Annual Open Exhibition

161st RWA Annual Open Exhibition

24 November 2013 – 26 2014 January (Main Galleries)

Annual Open Exhibition Private View 2-6pm 

For all exhibiting artists:
Saturday 23 November, 11.30am – 1.30pm
Lunch served at approximately 12.30pm

Tickets for lunch will be £7.50 per head for artists and Academicians. A second ticket can be bought for a guest. Tickets can be purchased by calling the RWA on 0117 973 5129, deadline for purchasing these will be midday on Thursday 21st November.
The price includes a light lunch, tea and coffee. There will also be a donations bar.
This afternoon is a fantastic opportunity to view the exhibition before the ever popular evening Private View. We hope you will be able to join us to celebrate the 161st Annual Open, the first with our new Director, Alison Bevan

Academicians news
‘Coffee in the Khan, Aleppo, Syria’ Lucy Willis RWA
Lucy Willis RWA went to Syria in 2010 to paint, a year before the outbreak of war. 10 of the resulting watercolours are now being sold as limited edition, signed reproductions by Oxfam to raise money for the Syrian Crisis Appeal. They are £25 each and all money goes to Oxfam.

‘It’s full of stars’ Chris Dunseath RWA FRBS
Chris Dunseath RWA, FRBS Chris Dunseath's sculpture 'It's Full of Stars' was awarded third prize at Wells Art Contemporary exhibition held at Wells Museum from 11-19th October. The judges were Bruce McLean, Dan Hays, Prof. Richard Wentworth CBE & Roy Ackerman CBE.
‘Stones and moss’ Martin Bentham RWA
Martin Bentham RWA is showing work at The Richard Hagen Gallery : Autumn Exhibition : 26th October - 9th November 'Stephen Mangan and Others', Stable Lodge, 55/ 57 High St, Broadway, Worcestershire WR12 7DP, Tel : +44 (0) 1386853624,

‘Foreshore’ Nigel Casseldine RWA
Nigel Casseldine RWA will be showing at Buckenham House Gallery, Southwold Suffolk, with an exhibition entitled ' Draw, Draw, Paint.' from the week beginning 11th November until January 2014. The exhibition is concerned with the value of drawing as a language which allows the artist to visualize their imagination even in the most free and fluid painting. Details;

‘Birth of Galaxies’ Ione Parkin RWA
Ione Parkin RWA is showing new work in a one-person show, Primal Matter, at Victoria Art Gallery, Bath, from 23rd November-2nd February 2014. Ione creates abstract paintings which celebrate the beauty of the raw elements of nature. She references micrographic sources, satellite macro-imagery of Earth’s surface and radio-telescopic images of deep space. Ione presents a new body of intricately balanced work, rich in colour and texture – from the dynamically dramatic to the lyrically luminous.

‘Porsche 924’ Rebecca Cains RWA
Rebecca Cains RWA will be exhibiting at the View Art Gallery, 159-161 Hotwell Road, Bristol BS8 4RY, 05603 116753, form 21st November to 5th Jan 2014.
“Organic against mechanic, natural versus artificial; the fraught relationship between man and nature provides the inspiration for the ‘Altered States’ exhibition.”

‘Silver and Green the young Thames’ Kurt Jackson RWA
Kurt Jackson RWA Kurt’s solo exhibition at The Redfern Gallery, The Thames Revisited, runs from 20th November 2013 – 23rd January 2014. In this exhibition, Jackson continues his study of the Thames, exploring the river from source to sea. Known for his large-scale and atmospheric paintings, Jackson’s work reflects a concern with natural history, ecology and the environment. The work represents a culmination of several years spent visiting and recording the iconic watercourse, capturing its atmosphere, spirit, and changing moods. Jackson uses a variety of media to realise his subject – painting, sculpture, work on paper, ceramics, and jewellery. Kurt’s exhibition is featured in the latest issue of the Guardian as well the front page of Guardian online:
To accompany this exhibition, a fully illustrated book is available with an introductory essay by Will Self and selected poems by the artist. The Redfern Gallery, 20 Cork Street London W1S 3HL
t. 020 7734 1732/0578 e.

Professor Paul Gough RWA, FRSA acted as Adjudicator for the Royal Ulster Academy’s 132nd Annual Exhibition at the Ulster Museum (18th October 2013 – 5th January 2014). From a total of 239 works shown 14 prizes were awarded, including the Young Artist Prize, Portrait Prize, Paul Henry Landscape Prize and the RUA President’s Prize. The exhibition is again sponsored by KPMG, the leading Accounting and Professional Advisory firm.

Gareth Edwards RWA will be exhibiting at the Newlyn Art Gallery from 7th December – 18th January. Gareth Edwards’ sculptural installation, Cloud is part of an ongoing project, Natural Capital. The found branches are from fallen trees, carved back to bone white and reconstructed with steel supports. Each tree touches another tree in an oval formation, an artificial copse in the centre of the gallery, forming a ‘cloud’ of natural materials, rebuilt by man. Edwards is a painter and sculptor based in Lamorna, near Penzance.

Janette Kerr PRWA

Janette Kerr PRWA, Alfred Stockham RWA, and Simon Garden RWA have work in the Sladers Yard Gallery Winter Show, Bridport: An all-star rolling exhibition of recent paintings by well-established West Country landscape painters. Saturday 23 Nov – Sunday 23 Feb 2014. Open Mon to Sat: 10 – 5pm, Sun: 12 – 5pm

Peter Ford RE, RWA has received an invitation to be artist-in-residence for a period of two months at Ningbo Art Museum, East China. Ningbo is an ancient port city with about five million inhabitants, south of Shanghai. The museum houses a collection of historical and contemporary Chinese and international art. The dates of the residency are to be confirmed. 

Diana Armfield RWA NEAC, Louise Balaam RWA NEAC, June Berry RWA NEAC, Bernard Dunstan RWA NEAC, Rebecca Cains RWA, David Carpanini RWA NEAC, Tom Coates RWA NEAC, Ken Howard RWA NEAC and Dawn Sidoli RWA NEAC are all showing work in the New English Art Club Annual Exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London SW1, from Friday 29th November-Sunday 8th

‘Steps to the Beach, Algarve, Portugal’ Tom Coates RWA NEAC
‘The Open Window’ June Berry RWA NEAC
‘Mountain of Angels, bright cloud’ Louise Balaam RWA NEAC
'1960’s Lorry’ Rebecca Cains RWA