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// Peter Ford

‘Dog With Flying Ears’ Limited Edition Print by Michael Ogden

Kit Williams issue

& Gallery

ISSN 2044-2653

Sky Blue Framing

RE RWA

‘Morph’ in extra deep box

// Velázquez // Andrew Wyeth // Edward Lucie-Smith

NATIONAL FRAMING AWARD WINNER

Silk Screen print float mounted in box frame

Oil on panel with shadow gap Ordnance Survey maps in conservation box frame

What sets Sky Blue apart from other framers is our enthusiasm to design creative solutions which both enhance and preserve artworks and 3D objects. • • •

Conservation and museum level mountboards Hand coloured moulding specialist Speciality glass upgrades available including UV Barrier, Water White, Reduced Reflection etc

Kit Williams: a divergent vision

Free advice and friendly prices

// Peter Ford RE RWA

// Velázquez

// Andrew Wyeth

BackChat // Edward Lucie-Smith

Autumn 2012

EASY PARKING NEAR WAITROSE

Our Autumn exhibition in the gallery features brand new Roald Dahl/Quentin Blake limited edition prints, alongside our favourite gallery artists such as John Knapp-Fisher and Susie Brooks. New work by gallery owner Michael Ogden will also be featured, plus a new range of locally-made designer jewellery.

10 Autumn 2012

Sky Blue Framing 27 North View Westbury Park Bristol BS6 7PT Tel: 0117 9733995

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22 October ~ 17 November

continues until

A Bigger Wave

85 x 70 inches 2012

30 November

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Contributors

// Richard Storey took a BA Honours degree in Drama from Bristol University (2006). He worked for the Bristol Evening Post for 12 years and is author of Perfect Persuasion. He is a former Board member of Bristol Arts Centre and Travelling Light Theatre Company.

// Jodie Inkson’s obsession with typography began at school when she painstakingly hand cut every letter of a project. Climbing the design ranks in London, she formed Wire Sky in 2003, winning awards and a position in Who’s Who. She sees her beloved modernist chairs as art, not sure whether she prefers sitting on them or looking at them.

// Mike Whitton taught English, Art and Drama for almost 40 years in secondary schools. Now, in semi-retirement, teaches Psychology to sixth-formers. Hobbies include photography, mountain walking. An ardent defender of the Arts in the school curriculum.

// Simon Baker is an RWA Trustee and a solicitor on the cusp of celebrating 40 years in practice. An avid enthusiast of the visual arts since discovering that books with “pictures and conversations” were the best, he is too much of an impulse buyer to qualify as a collector.

// Jonathan Camp has a degree in the History of Art from Nottingham University. He has worked as an art tour guide in Florence, Rome and Venice and is currently a lecturer in Philosophy at City of Bristol College and a freelance Art History lecturer. Often seen struggling around the Downs, training for a marathon.

// Katharine Cockshaw is an independent visual art producer, curator and art historian based in London. Her professional specialisms include exhibitions management, partnership working and funding for visual arts. Her particular areas of interest are contemporary art, 20th Century art and museology.

// Amy Fielding studied Photography and Video at De Montfort University where she specialised in fashion and documentary image making. Since graduating, she has been travelling, lecturing and following her dream of working with magazines. Amy’s personal work focuses on the exploration of memory through the medium of photography.

// Alice Hendy is an award winning photographer who studied Fine Art at Exeter College, learning to use photography to capture ideas and document her work at Kingston University, where she studied Sculpture. Alice has always loved cameras – her current beau is a Canon 5d mark ii; it makes her heart sing.

// Christine Higgott became manager at Off-Centre Gallery in 1987 after a career in teaching. She has assisted Peter Ford in the planning and organising of more than 40 exhibitions, some touring, and editing catalogue texts and documentation. Earlier enthusiasms include drama and dancing. Currently engaged as a volunteer managing a local Community Centre.

// Mike Jenner while a lecturer at Bath University, joined his one-man architectural practice with Ray Moxley’s to found Moxley, Jenner and Partners, ultimately sixty strong. He has always combined practice with writing on architectural history. He is a compulsive collector of every form of visual art, from 9th Century Tang pots to 21st Century paintings.

// Mike Ogden GCF completed a degree in Illustration at Bristol Polytechnic and then spent 18 successful years as a freelance illustrator. In 1998 he founded Sky Blue Fine Art. In 2006 it moved to larger premises as Sky Blue Framing & Gallery. He won the Fine Art Trade Guild National Framing Award (2009).

// James Pardey followed a degree and PhD at Bristol University with five years as a postdoctoral researcher at Oxford University. He lives in London and divides his time between art-related web design, fine art publishing and riding a motorbike. He has written for a number of magazines and journals including Eye and Creative Review.

// Sam Storey studied Film Production at the Arts University College in Bournemouth. He worked as a freelance television editor for 5 years, working on a number of feature documentaries, and now teaches film and media studies.

// Hannah Stuart-Leach has spent the past five years gallivanting around Asia as a journalist in pursuit of Korean dream-catchers and Sri Lankan jungle artists. Her MA explored Modern European art history and as a painter herself, she is most thrilled when writing about the fantastically eccentric artists she has the good fortune to interview.

// Darren Tanner Manager, Foyles at Cabot Circus has worked as a bookseller in various Bristol bookshops since graduating from Art College in 1999. As a bookseller he has made it his mission to create diverse and interesting art sections wherever he has worked.

So the Olympics have come and gone. Pierre de Coubertin’s Olympic motto, first proposed in 1894, is Citius, Altius, Fortius – Faster, Higher, Stronger. A 21st Century cynic might be tempted to add: Bigger and More Expensive. In the world of Art we have had much of that of late. The desire to be Olympian can at times lead to an unhealthy gigantism – a creative impulse that owes more to the Guinness Book of Records than to aesthetics. In this issue both Peter Ford and Edward Lucie-Smith speak of the joys that can be found in smaller works of art, reminding me of a recent family visit to the Ashmolean, seeking out Samuel Palmer’s oil paintings. We were inspired by Rachel Campbell-Johnston’s outstanding biography, Mysterious Wisdom, but we discovered that most of Palmer’s paintings were out on loan – but all was not lost. An inquiry revealed that we could visit the Print Room where we found the six little gum and sepia drawings known as the Oxford Series. As CampbellJohnston says, Palmer would have known that the black sepia would fade, and that the layer upon layer of varnish would slowly darken to a rich amber tone – ‘He would have foreseen the golden glow that these works now possess …his landscapes are consecrated by a beneficent light.’ To sit in the quiet of the Print Room and contemplate these drawings was a deeply moving experience. They are very, very beautiful ...and small. Palmer was an ardent devotee of Blake, who invited us ‘To see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wild flower.’ More tempting, and far more profound, than Supersize Me.

Mike Whitton Guest Editor

RWA magazine

Autumn 2012

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MG RWA Advert V2.pdf

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19/07/2012

13:25

THE DOBUNNI PAINTERS 21st Sep - 13th Oct

The Radev Collection From Pissarro to Picasso 8 September – 18 November 2012

Valerie Batchelor, Doug Eaton, Robert Goldsmith, Jane Lampard, Andy Le Poidevin and Michael Long from the South West. Predominately landscapes but with interestingly different styles.

THE BEST OF… 20th Oct - 10th Nov

C

Tel 01225 477233 www.victoriagal.org.uk Open Tue-Sat 10.00-5.00 Sun 1.30-5.00 Closed Mondays Free Admission

Victoria Art Gallery By Pulteney Bridge, Bath BA2 4AT

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Amedeo Modigliani ‘Portrait of Soutine’ Pen over pencil and chalk on paper

CM

MY

CY

CMY

K

The Best of… Ben Blethyn, and the late Michael B Edwards. A different take on Urban Art, shown with the master of light, dappled or reflected, usually on, or in combination with water.

WEST CORNWALL REVISITED 17th Nov - 15th Dec Featuring amongst others

TERRY FROST • ROSE HILTON • MARY STORK JOHN WELLS • FRED YATES BARRIE BRAY • ROBERT JONES MYLES OXENFORD • LYNETTE PIERCE

Martin’s Gallery Imperial House Montpellier Parade Cheltenham Gloucestershire GL50 1UA t 01242 526044 ian@martinschelt.co.uk www.martinschelt.co.uk w Open Wednesday – Saturday 11am – 6pm or any other time by arrangement.

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RWA magazine Autumn 2012

Inside ROYAL WEST OF ENGLAND ACADEMY Patron Her Majesty the Queen Board of Trustees Chair Kevin Thompson OBE Honorary Treasurer Bob Barnett Trustees Simon Baker, Elizabeth Boscawen, Jennifer Bryant-Pearson, Michael Clarke, Ned Cussen, Paul Gough PhD MA FRSA RWA, Janette Kerr PRWA, Rachael Nee RWA, Jessica Madge, Lucy Willis RWA, Paul Wilson

features

President Janette Kerr PRWA Academicians’ Council Vice President Peter Ford RE RWA Academician Secretary Rachael Nee RWA Honorary Architectural Advisor Mike Jenner FRIBA FRSA RWA Council Members Louise Balaam RWA, Vera Boele-Keimer RWA, Anne Desmet RA RE RWA, Stephen Jacobson RWA, Rachael Nee RWA, John Palmer RWA Director Trystan Hawkins Assistant Director Alexis Butt Facilities Manager Nick Dixon Events and Income Manager Angharad Redman Exhibitions and Membership Manager Gemma Brace Marketing Manager Lottie Storey Gallery Co-ordinator Tristan Pollard Customer Services Manager Steve Fielding Customer Services team members Beckie Upton, Rosie Dolton Accountants Hollingdale Pooley ART MAGAZINE Publisher RWA (Art Magazine) Ltd Managing Editor Richard Storey Art Director Jodie Inkson – Wire Sky Deputy Editor Mike Whitton Specialist photography Alice Hendy RWA and Academicians’ news Gemma Brace: gemma.brace@rwa.org.uk

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Peter Ford RE RWA Etchings, woodcuts. paintings and paperwork – spontaneity and indirectness merge into images of remarkable beauty.

16

Kit Williams This local treasure continues to create idiosyncratic, erotic and very personal works that combine naturalistic detail with exciting little ‘time bombs’.

22

Velásquez We unravel the mysteries behind Las Meninas: the 17th Century’s most enigmatic painting. A standard Royal portrait or personal manifesto?

26

Oliver Bevan Optical effects created by his abstract geometric kinetic shapes force the brain continuously to make different interpretations from these iconic book illustrations.

29

Andrew Wyeth “The difference between me and a lot of painters is that I have to become enamoured with my models. That’s what happened when I saw Helga.”

33

Victoria Art Gallery Simon Baker celebrates an exhibiting space which “eschews a hierarchical view of the visual arts”. It is a vision to seduce us all.

ADVERTISING Angharad Redman t: 0117 906 7608 e: angharad.redman@rwa.org.uk COPY DEADLINE Winter 2012 issue: 12 October Royal West of England Academy, Queens Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1PX t: 0117 973 5129 General enquiries e: info@rwa.org.uk Magazine e: rwamagazine@gmail.com Registered Charity No 1070163 The opinions in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the Royal West of England Academy. All reasonable attempts have been made to clear copyright before publication.

What’s on at the RWA

4

Diary – events, lectures, workshops, tours

6

RWA news

9

Cabot Circus

37

Inside the artist’s studio: Emma Dibben

40

Reviews

42

Gallery review: The Searchers

44

Academicians’ news

48

Caring for artwork on paper

50

Artful Cuisine: restaurant guide

52

Listings

55

BackChat: Edward Lucie-Smith

56

To read an electronic version of ART, or to visit the RWA online: www.rwa.org.uk. Follow us on Facebook and twitter.com/rwabristol ART is printed by Park Lane Press by waterless process, on fully sustainable FSC certified paper and with vegetable-oil based inks. www.parklanepress.co.uk

Cover: Peter Ford RE RWA Flying Colours, 2012 (detail) watercolour and ink on Chinese paper, 47 x 59 cm RWA magazine

Autumn 2012

3

What’s on at Unnatural – Natural History

Exploring The Lion King: From Inspiration to Realisation

Until 23 September

Unnatural – Natural History is an artistic exploration of an alternative world.

Until 16 September free exhibition Discover the inspiration behind Disney’s hit stage musical The Lion King in this exciting and explorative exhibition.

It is a world where the dominant species are not human and where natural objects are metamorphosed into unexpected and unnatural forms. A place in which genetic mutations and environmental pressure have altered the natural course of evolution.

You’ll experience up close some of the extraordinary costumes and masks from this groundbreaking production, along with full-scale puppets, original models, costume sketches, behind-thescenes photographs, video and interactive elements.

37 artists from around the world explore the theme of ‘unnatural natural history,’ and the results are diverse and alluring.

Learn how acclaimed director and designer Julie Taymor, along with the show’s creative team, conceived and created this Tony and Olivier Award winning musical.

This exhibition is a blend of innovative art, creative ideas and lateral thinking.

4

© Disney

© Kate MccGwire: Wrest, 2009

Disney’s The Lion King runs at The Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday 17 November.

RWA magazine Autumn 2012

Chance and Choice II Peter Ford RE RWA 12 September – 2 October Extremes of scale typify Peter Ford’s second exhibition under the title Chance and Choice. It includes two spectacular works: Street Language – Things Fall Apart and Head in the Clouds and All at Sea, combining print processes with the artist’s own handmade and recycled paper. In addition there will be recent improvised paintings in ink and watercolour and miniature etchings and bookplate designs, providing a contrast in scale and demonstrating the artist’s versatility. Examples of Peter Ford’s etchings, artists’ books and paper works are represented in nineteen public collections including Tate Britain and The Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, and the Pushkin Museum, Moscow. During the last six years he has won four major prizes in international print competitions and has played a prominent role in developing relationships with artist printmakers, particularly in China and South Korea.

RWA Colour and Texture Martin Bentham RWA 3 – 11 October Bentham began his career as a professional artist painting the subjects that were familiar to him – the landscape and people of the Mendip Hills. An ex-farm labourer, Martin’s initial paintings were accurate studies reliant on expert drawing skills and choice of colour. He soon found that nature changes fleetingly when painting outdoors, colours alter according to light and weather making it difficult to capture these changes. Oil paint, by its very nature, is a tricky medium with which to portray the subtlety of colours and texture inherent within Martin’s chosen scenes. The realisation that his paintings had become somewhat static led Martin radically to change his method of painting, especially the way in which he applies paint to the canvas surface. Using a palette knife to apply unmixed colours, Martin has discovered a new way to recreate natural textures such as rocks, leaves, and grass in a more expressive and exciting manner. These natural characteristics are what inspires Martin to paint and his chosen medium allows him to retain the identity and characteristics of his subjects. Continuing to paint directly in front of his subject allows Martin to capture the true range of natural colours, textures and the unusual shapes that occur – so difficult to create from imagination in the studio.

160th Autumn Exhibition 21 October – 30 December Last year’s Autumn Exhibition featured 508 works by 338 artists, with every piece for sale. Prices starting from just £25 make this annual show an eclectic mix of work by unknown, emerging and established artists to suit all tastes and pockets. Bringing to a close a fantastic year of exhibitions at the RWA, the Autumn Exhibition showcases the cream of painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture and architecture selected and curated by an expert panel from thousands of submitted works. As part of the Autumn Exhibition, we will be opening our Art Clinic – a new service to guide budding collectors in purchasing artwork. Buying a piece of art can be a daunting task when there is so much to choose from so we have teamed up with a number of local art experts to help and advise, ensuring you find the perfect artwork to suit your taste, home and budget. Contact us for more information – www.rwa.org.uk or 0117 973 5129. Promising to be bigger and better than ever before this mixed discipline show attracts art-lovers and art-buyers from far and wide – don’t miss it.

CALL FOR ENTRIES

RWA magazine

Autumn 2012

Entry to the RWA 160th Autumn Exhibition is now open.

5

September // Saturdays 1st September, 6th October, 3 November and 8th December 10.30am – 1.00pm Bristol Drawing School Workshop: Scribble and Sketch Suitable for all ages and abilities Scribble and Sketch offers a morning of fun and informal drawing workshops and exercises for families, led by Bristol Drawing Club founder and artist Anouk Mercier. Designed to ‘loosen the hand’ this session is ideal for anyone wishing to develop their drawing skills in a lively and relaxed environment, or simply take advantage of the materials to get creative. Everyone is welcome. Book in advance or just drop in on the day and join in (space permitting). Free with exhibition entry (children must be accompanied by an adult).

// S  aturday 8th 9.30am – 5.30pm Bristol Doors Open Day 2012 The RWA is taking part in Bristol Doors Open Day – the day when many of Bristol’s significant contemporary and historic buildings open their doors to the general public, free of charge. Make sure we’re on your map for this special occasion, take a break from pounding the city streets in our café, and don’t forget to visit our West End neighbours too – entrance to all venues is free, generous donations gladly received. www.bristoldoorsopenday.org.uk

Max McClure

A concert of Baroque favourites performed by New Bristol Sinfonia, with guest soloists from the Purcell School of Music. Enjoy a glass of Pimms while taking in our current exhibitions before an evening of musical entertainment performed by the string players of New Bristol Sinfonia – joined by highly accomplished young soloists Lavinia Redman (oboe) and Beatrice Marshall (soprano) and conducted by Robert Weaver. The concert aims to raise funds for both the RWA and New Bristol Sinfonia. The perfect occasion for art and music lovers alike. £10 (complimentary Pimms / soft drink included).

If you are new to life drawing, then this workshop will offer the chance to build your skills. We will investigate balance, motion and foreshortening in a variety of media including colour in a professional and supportive environment £35.

Collagraph Printing with Spike Print Studio 2 Day Workshop Paul Thirkell RE

// W  ednesday 12th and Thursday 13th 10am – 4pm

Late Summer Baroque: New Bristol Sinfonia at the RWA

Bristol Drawing School Workshop: Introduction to Life Drawing (Beginners) 1 Day Workshop Angie Kenber

// S  aturday 8th and Sunday 9th Saturday 10am – 4pm Sunday 11am – 4pm

The course introduces an easy but extremely effective approach to collagraph printing that gives you a great deal of freedom and control over the creation of texture and tone in your prints. The process is ideal for combining with other printing techniques such as drypoint to produce beautiful prints through the use of an etching press. Suitable for both beginners and experienced printmakers. £120.

// Sunday 2nd Doors open 6pm Concert begins 7pm

// Saturday 15th 10am – 4pm

Painted Furniture, Vanessa Webb with Farrow and Ball Be inspired by local artist and paint effects expert Vanessa as she teaches you how to create beautiful paint effects using Farrow and Ball unmatched paints. During this two day workshop you will practice different paint effects on wood as well as painting your own mini cabinet, supplied by a local carpenter, so that you can take your finished piece home to show your friends and family your artwork. £175, cabinet and all materials included, booking required, please call 0117 973 3900 to book.

// Saturday 22nd 11am Lecture: Re-imaging Wales: Contemporary Art from Wales – 1900 to Present Day, Iwan Bala In Re-imaging Wales, artist, writer and lecturer Iwan Bala will be challenging preconceptions of the contemporary art world in Wales. Bala starts with the influence of Modernism moving through to recent developments. He challenges the 20th Century assumption that Wales has no visual art culture of merit and sets a context for looking at contemporary practice and the institutions that support it. Bala is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at University of Wales Trinity St David in Carmarthen. He has published several books on contemporary art in Wales, including Certain Welsh Artists; Custodial Aesthetics in Contemporary Welsh Art (1999) and Here + Now (2004). His career as an artist has led him to exhibit widely, including a touring exhibition in China in 2010 and a Residency at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in 1990. His work is in many private collections world-wide and in public collections including The National Museum and Gallery of Wales and the National Library of Wales. £10 / £8 Friends, booking required.

2.30pm Artist Exhibition Tour and Talk Peter Ford RE RWA Artist Peter Ford will be providing a tour of his exhibition discussing selected works and his on-going practice. Free with exhibition entry, no booking required.

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RWA magazine Autumn 2012

// Start week commencing 24th Bristol Drawing School 10 week courses Choose from a selection of 10 week courses including Beginners Drawing and Intermediate Drawing with Ruth Wallace, Landscape Drawing and Printing with Ros Ford, Life Drawing with Movement with Sara Easby, Introduction to Life Drawing with Angie Kenber and Drawing Paint and Colour and Experimental Drawing with Esme Clutterbuck. Half-day courses at £180 and £320 for full days for 10 week courses, or choose from our selection of workshops. As a student at the Bristol Drawing School you will benefit from access to the RWAs facilities including free entrance to exhibitions during courses and workshops, 10% discount in Papadeli’s on-site café, use of our stunning galleries to draw in, and a chance to develop your skills at Bristol’s first art gallery. For more detail about individual courses visit www.drawingschool.org.uk

// Every Wednesday from 26th September to 12th December 6.30 – 8.30pm Bristol Drawing School: Life Drawing Drop-in Anouk Mercier Come and draw in the beautiful surroundings of the RWA’s main galleries. We provide paper and basic materials, a different model each week and a tutor is on hand to offer advice and assistance. An ideal opportunity to practice drawing from a model in a friendly and supportive environment. The drop-in sessions provide a great chance to try out the Drawing School or gain extra practice in addition to scheduled courses, and don’t forget it also provides the perfect opportunity to see our latest exhibitions. Book ahead for all twelve sessions or turn up on the night and pay at the door, no booking required. £10 / £8 Friends.

// Wednesdays 26th September and 3rd October 6.30 – 8.30pm Lecture: New Faces A new series of talks from University of Bristol’s graduating MA History of Art students. Join our ‘new faces’ for an exploration into a diverse range of topics from Renaissance portraiture to a journey from the Gin palaces of the Victorian period to the Festival of Britain’s Pub of The Future Competition. For more information on topics presented at each session please check the RWA website. £5 / £3 students.

2012

Diary // September to December

Events, Lectures Workshops, Tours

October

2 – 3pm

// Throughout October

Exhibition Tour and Talk: Martin Bentham RWA

Big Draw 2012 Bristol Drawing School will be taking part in the Big Draw celebrations in October. Please keep an eye on the website to find out what we have planned.

// 2  1st October – 30th December Autumn Exhibition: Art Clinic We will be offering a new service to guide budding collectors in purchasing artwork during this year’s Autumn Exhibition. We know that buying a piece of art can be a daunting task so to help you decide we have teamed up with a number of local art experts to hold private consultations. We can assist you in finding the perfect artwork that suits your taste, home and budget. Or if you just want some friendly advice on how to develop your collection, then the Art Clinic can also be of service. For further information please check our website.

// 2  1st October – 30th December Autumn Exhibition: Artist tours and talks RWA Academicians will be in and around the building during the annual Autumn Exhibition leading tours, providing talks and working in the galleries. For more information visit our website.

// W  ednesday 3rd 6.30 – 8.30pm Lecture: New Faces See 26th September diary entry.

// S  aturday 6th 10.30am – 1.00pm Bristol Drawing School Workshop: Scribble and Sketch See 1st September diary entry.

Join artist Martin Bentham for a tour of his exhibition and a chance to ask questions about his artistic practice. Free with exhibition entry.

// S  aturday 13th 10am – 4pm Bristol Drawing School Workshop: Introduction to Life Drawing (Intermediate) 1 Day Workshop Angie Kenber If you have some experience of life drawing, then this workshop will offer the scope to extend your skills. We will investigate balance, motion and foreshortening in a variety of media including colour in a professional and supportive environment. £35.

// Monday 29th October to Friday 3rd November 10am – 12.30/1pm WE CAN PRINT! Children’s Half-term Workshops with Spike Print Studio A week of printing taster sessions for children including relief printing, screen printing, printing on fabric and culminating in ‘making your own print book’ where you can either produce new prints on the day or combine your favourite pieces from the week into one multi-coloured keepsake. This week long programme provides an opportunity for children to try their hand at a number of different techniques in a fun and friendly environment, book courses individually or join us for the week. Ages 8 – 11 and 11+, prices range from £10 – £15 a session. Visit the RWA Learning Page for more information www.rwa.org.uk/learning/ childrens-workshops

// S  unday 21st 11am – 4pm

// Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th Saturday 10am – 4pm Sunday 11am – 4pm

Bristol Drawing School Workshop: Life Drawing Un-tutored 1 Day Workshop Model Deb Pearson These all day sessions are aimed at people who want to draw or paint from the model in a peaceful and professional environment. The sessions are run by an experienced model with a bias towards painters or drawers who require longer poses. £28.

// S  aturdays 27th October, 3rd November and 8th December 10am – 4pm 160th Autumn Exhibition, John Palmer RWA in the Gallery Academician John Palmer will be in the gallery providing an opportunity to watch him at work creating his distinctive drawings that borrow from architectural techniques combined with loose watercolour. Free with exhibition entry.

into the artists practice as he asks the question; ‘What is it I am trying to do with my work?’ £10 / £8 Friends, booking required.

Bristol Drawing School Workshop: Drawing into Monotype Without a Press, 2 Day Workshop, Ros Ford // Saturday 27th 11am Lecture: What is it All About? David Cobley RWA In this illustrated talk Academician David Cobley will address his own search for meaning, and what part painting has played in that search. Cobley is an award-winning portrait and figure painter based in Bath. His portrait commissions include HRH The Princess Royal Princess Anne, and his portraits of Ken Dodd OBE and Nobel Laureate Sir Martin Evans form part of the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery. He has exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and held solo exhibitions at Beaux Arts and the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath, as well as at Messum’s in London. David’s paintings hang in many public and private collections throughout the world. This talk provides a rare insight

Monotypes are one-off prints standing between drawing, painting and printmaking. They have a unique, spontaneous quality and this workshop aims to introduce several different techniques. Those who already have had a taster of monotypes can spend time experimenting and refining the process under the guidance of the tutor. The workshop will offer an opportunity to ‘free up’ experiment and explore – expect the unexpected. The first day of the workshop will focus on developing monochrome mark-making and the second using colour and layers. There will be an opportunity to draw outdoors and indoors utilising the RWA’s stunning galleries and surroundings. £80.

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RWA magazine

Autumn 2012

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November // Saturday 3rd 10am – 4pm 160th Autumn Exhibition, John Palmer RWA in the Gallery See 27th October diary entry.

10.30am – 1.00pm Bristol Drawing School Workshop: Scribble and Sketch

// S  aturday 17th 10am – 4pm Bristol Drawing School Workshop: Life Drawing With Movement 1 Day Workshop Sara Easby This workshop provides an opportunity to study rhythm, line, character and sequence drawing. It will be structured around tutored exercises working with a dancer or performer as model, helping to record movement. A fast, intuitive, energetic approach is encouraged to make these classes a lot of fun for the participants. £40.

2pm

December

160th Autumn Exhibition Gallery Tour with Dr Janette Kerr PRWA

// Saturday 8th 10.30am – 1.00pm

Join RWA President Janette Kerr for a tour of the annual Autumn Exhibition, exploring the diverse mix of media and style on offer. Free with exhibition entry ticket.

See 1st September diary entry.

// Friday 14th, Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th Friday and Saturday 10am – 4pm Sunday 11am – 4pm

See 1st September diary entry.

// Friday 8th Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th Friday and Saturday 10am – 4pm Sunday 11am – 4pm Bristol Drawing School Workshop: The Spirit of Drawing 3 Day Workshop Sara Easby This workshop is designed to explore the nature of creativity and the factors that influence our ability to be creative. Using the process of drawing, the course will look at ways of improving perception, concentration, visualisation and intuition. This is a welcome opportunity for artists and those wishing to discover their creative potential, to spend uninterrupted time to develop their skills with individual tuition and guidance. There will be set exercises and time to work on a personal project derived from the class. £110.

// Friday 16th 7 – 11pm RWA Autumn Art Party Celebrate our 160th Autumn Open Exhibition with artists and artlovers. Enjoy dinner in the RWA’s stunning galleries surrounded by a diverse and exciting array of artwork produced by Academicians and the public. The evening will include; sparkling wine on arrival, dinner and an exclusive sale of miniature artwork by RWA Academicians and Artist Members. Further details to follow, tickets will be available from 1st October 2012.

Bristol Drawing School Workshop: Anatomy Drawing 3 Day Workshop Alan MacGowan

// S  aturday 24th 10am – 4pm Bristol Drawing School Workshop: Borrow, Quote, Transform, Make 1 Day Workshop Ros Cuthbert RWA The RWA’s annual Autumn Exhibition is an eclectic and lively mix of different styles, subjects and methods, representing a variety of art forms from wood engravings to painting. Using the exhibition as a resource for ideas you will be encouraged to make drawings and notes from a number of the artworks on show. From your studies you will put together ideas and imagery to make one or more new paintings. You will be encouraged to borrow, quote, dismantle, rearrange, transform and make. Some experience of drawing and painting recommended. £40.

Bristol Drawing School Workshop: Scribble and Sketch

// Sunday 25th 11am – 4pm Bristol Drawing School Workshop: Life Drawing Un-tutored, 1 Day Workshop Model Deb Pearson These all day sessions are aimed at people who want to draw or paint from the model in a peaceful and professional environment. The sessions are run by an experienced model with a bias towards painters or drawers who require longer poses. £28.

There are many fascinating and interrelated forms within the body; flattened forms, spirals, arches and curves; shifting in characteristic yet always individual ways. We will aim to deepen knowledge of this diversity while maintaining a feeling for the unity of the figure as a whole, and of our response towards it. Demonstration and explanation, will refer to anatomical examples, and an emphasis on drawing from the life model. We will examine the individual elements of anatomy, the main skeletal, muscular and structural forms, whilst being conscious of the overall integrity of the body as a coherent system. While concentrating on anatomy we will also inevitably touch on more general issues involved in drawing the figure, proportion and perspective. £210.

11am Lecture: Works on Paper, Tim Harrisson RWA Academician Tim Harrisson will be discussing his works on paper with particular reference to the physical context of his drawings in the Autumn Exhibition. Harrisson uses both drawing and sculpture to explore the landscape: “An experience of landscape for me is about seeing what I call the root. That is the landscape stripped bare with its essential physical qualities of structure and material revealed.” He has completed a number of series of drawings including The Pitt Rivers Series, 2009, and Drawings for a Geological Room, 2010 and has shown his work at Rabley Drawing Centre, Bournemouth University and New Arts Centre, Roche Court. His work is held in numerous public collections including Leicester University and Christ’s College, Cambridge. £10 / £8 Friends.

Booking To book events, lectures, workshops, and family activities please call 0117 973 5129 unless otherwise stated. Spike Print Studio and the RWA have collaborated to produce a programme of drawing and print workshops. The programme covers a selection of techniques and practices offering opportunities for all ages to make their mark. To book please call 0117 973 5129. To book Bristol Drawing School workshops go online at www.drawingschool.org.uk or call 0117 973 5129.

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// RWA News

RWA announces new Chair appointment Professor Kevin Thompson OBE, Director of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, has been appointed Chair of the RWA Board of Trustees. He succeeds Dr Norman Biddle Hon RWA, who has stepped down after three years in office. Kevin Thompson has previously held the position of Principal of two of the United Kingdom’s most progressive performing arts institutions, the Birmingham Conservatoire with Sir Michael Tippet OM, and Dartington College, designated by Arts Council England in 2003 as a new national centre of excellence. He has been a member of the Prime Minister’s High Level Strategy Group on International Students. He is also a frequent broadcaster and programme host. He was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE)

in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List 2011 for services to the Arts and to UK / Hong Kong cultural exchanges. He is recipient of a number of honorary degrees, fellowships and awards for arts leadership from major academies, and most recently has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE). Speaking of his appointment, Professor Thompson said: ‘I am delighted to have been invited to Chair the RWA, to build upon the achievements of Dr Norman Biddle, its previous distinguished Chair, in re-aligning the Academy, and to be given the opportunity of working with its dedicated Trustees, Academicians and Executive team led by inspiring Director, Trystan Hawkins. The RWA has a rich and much-storied history. Of interest, in particular, will be enabling the RWA to achieve its place in a spectrum of change locally, nationally and internationally. The primary motivation stems from a commitment to the RWA’s values, to inclusive, high quality exhibitions, and from a desire to create the

best possible climate in which this highly distinctive Academy and its collective of Academicians and community of artist members can flourish.’ Kevin Thompson commenced his appointment in July 2012.

Unnatural – Natural History // Sam Storey and Amy Fielding

Here is the essence of Salvador Dalí; very surreal, detailed, clever: created from somewhere else in the minds of its creators. I don’t know if I like them but I really appreciate them. When you look closely you see more, but when you step back you see an even fuller picture. Jamie Seebraun, Store Manager / Stylist

The variety in here is really stunning. Rose Sanderson’s work is gentle and touching. A beautiful use of colour and delicate painting. I really like Geza Szöllősi’s inflated cow heads too – a playful and bizarre take on sculpture. Michelle Townsend, Fine Art Digital Printer

It’s a great eclectic show. I like Sandberg’s Girl with Stripes: it looks like the kind of woman that you’d meet on another planet. Nowadays you get girls with that colour dreads but she seems alien; a good mix of media, colourful, it stands out.

A very mixed show: some works are traditional, some more impressionistic, most have great detail and there is a huge amount of talent. And I really love Kate MccGwire’s Wrest made from pigeon feathers, the colours and textures are amazing.

Rafael Duncan, Graphic Designer and Film Maker

Holly McCormick, Student

I’m quite amazed by the exhibition, there’s some brilliant stuff here. We went to a Coates and Scarry exhibition a while ago and we just had to come back. I just love Come Fly with Me, I just love it. I couldn’t help but stand there and stare at it. Richard Nielson, Licensee

Angela Lizon’s stork with the baby is dark and intriguing but I also saw a bit of humour in there; it was asking questions about whether the baby was being protected or if it had been stolen – who was in charge of the journey that they were on, who was the boss?

It’s quite bright and there’s lots of variety, there are happy things, evil things and sad things. There’s a whale which looked like it was burnt, it was grey and black and not very nice. The inflated cows’ heads are a bit weird, but they’re quite cool. Anya, 11

Nick Waugh, Owner, View Gallery

This is where Modern Art is going. Di Piazza’s Nightwhale has an Armageddon sky and then you’ve got this whale created out of trash floating before you – it’s just beautiful: another crazy subject matter for oils. Alexa MacDermot, Art Gallery Director / Curator

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New

D e si gners

Exhibition

Lime Tree Gallery

2 0 1 2

ʻLittle Blue Jugʼ by Marion Drummond

d i a n a p o r te r co nte m p o ra r y j ewe ll e r y monday - saturday: 10:30am - 6:00pm sunday: 11:30am - 4:30pm 33 park street bristol bs1 5nh t: +44(0)117 909 0225

www.dianaporter.co.uk

NewDesigners2012_RWA_2012.indd 1

23/07/2012 15:49:16

Matti Braun Gost Log Sat 6 Oct 2012–Sun 6 Jan 2013 Open Tuesday–Sunday, 11am–6pm, free admission to exhibition spaces

T: 0117 917 2300 / 01 E: BOXOFFICE@ARNOLFINI.ORG.UK 16 NARROW QUAY, BRISTOL BS1 4QA

WWW.ARNOLFINI.ORG.UK

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RWA magazine Autumn 2012

Matti Braun, The Alien (a theatre play), 2005. Courtesy Project Art Center

All About Light Ceri Auckland Davies Marion Drummond

Lime Tree Gallery 84 Hotwells Road, Bristol, BS8 4UB Tel. 0117 929 2527

Sept 15 - Oct 10

w w w . l i m e t r e e g a l l e r y. c o m

antlersgallery.com info@antlersgallery.com fb.com/antlersgallery (0)7780 503180

Antlers is a gallery nomadic by design/ We represent a select group of artists through exhibitions, art fairs and private sales/Limited edition prints and multiples can be bought through our online shop/ Original artworks can be browsed on our website and viewed by appointment in the gallery/We provide consultancy services to both corporate and private clients aiding and guiding in the selection of new artworks for their home or collection/To stay up to date with future projects join the Antlers newsletter at www.antlersgallery.com, like us on facebook.com/antlersgallery or follow us at twitter.com/antlersgallery.

Peter Ford

RE RWA:

Spontaneous indirectness Christine Higgott

The recent arrival of two letters reminded Peter Ford of how his long relationship with Poland first started: ‘They were of the ‘good news, bad news’ sort. One told me that my etchings have been turned down by the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition committee. The other invited me to take part in the Kraków International Print Triennial and to be part of the selection and prize-awarding jury. Thumbs down in London, thumbs up in Poland. As Kurt Vonnegut said, “So it goes”. This was almost a re-run of letters received in 1985. That experience was the stimulus for my first visit to Poland, then under martial law, which was the beginning of a relationship with artists and exhibitions in that country which continues to the present day.’

1 Remembering and Forgetting 2005 relief print on handmade paper (printed from cut pencil erasers) 78 x 50cm

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That first visit to Poland in 1985 was to attend the opening of an international exhibition. Eight of Ford’s small etchings and mezzotints were included. He met artists from Poland and from Russia, India and Japan. This led to personal invitations to stay in the homes of artists in Poland and also in other countries. He exchanged artworks with artists in St. Petersburg and Moscow and later in Mumbai, Baroda and Delhi. ‘This gave me material which was used to create small exhibitions at Off-Centre Gallery, an enterprise that I launched in 1987 with my partner Christine. It occupies the top floor of our end-of-terrace house in south Bristol. From its small beginnings Off-Centre Gallery touring exhibitions eventually reached the Shetland Isles, Inverness, Truro, Belfast, Lowestoft, many places in between and even Seattle and Idaho.’ The curious and refined etchings and engravings from places like Lviv, St. Petersburg, Moscow and Kaliningrad

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attracted the interest of the curators of Fine Art at Bristol City Museum. A collaborative project ensued and after two years preparation an exhibition of Russian and Ukrainian prints and artists’ books A Time of Transition opened at the museum in November 1992. Despite the recently introduced museum admission charges and the esoteric theme, A Time of Transition was an outstanding success in the city and for the Museum. ‘All that activity took time away from my own work. I have more time now that we have stopped making new exhibitions and promoting and touring them. I work with many techniques: etching, woodcut, painting and paperworks, and with great contrasts in scale. Shortly after I began etching in 1976 I purchased a small press and this was a natural size restriction. At that time I liked making detailed drawings. Working with magnification on a piece of copper the size of a match box becomes absorbing and the area of the metal seems to expand in relation to the level of

concentration that can be maintained.’ But he discovered that there was another reason to make miniatures. There were exhibitions being organised in locations abroad where a very small image size was set. ‘Packing and posting my etchings to Poland, Seoul, Barcelona or to New York impressed me with the exciting mobility that exists for multiple artworks on paper. Unframed they can go anywhere through the international postal system and for many people these artworks are quite affordable.’ A tiny etching called The Road to Bapaume, the site of a First World War battle, won a prize in New York. ‘The multiple sales matched the cost of a flight to New York for the opening of the show.’ The shift to larger work began in 1994 when Ford received an award which allowed him to work at a printmaking centre in Cumbria. He arrived with the determination to work on a scale larger than was possible with his own press: ‘By this time I had seen enough international exhibitions to know that,

Working with magnification on a piece of copper the size of a match box becomes absorbing...

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in some contexts, size really matters. Also I needed to develop a technique that would help me to move away from etching. I was coping with persistent skin problems which I attributed to acid and solvent fumes. The technique I developed involved very thin plywood which could be printed like a copper plate. The method was not an entirely original invention of mine but it is unusual. Prints from this and similar processes are often called collagraphs.’ In the Kraków Triennial exhibition he had seen very big print works made by joining up modules. ‘For me, this fitted well with papermaking which I began in 1994 under the influence of my friend and inspirational tutor, Maureen Richardson. It is not difficult to make a series of paper sheets where there are variations in colour and texture whilst retaining a uniform size. I discovered that my thick soft paper worked very well as a surface for printing. With practice it is possible to produce an image that flows across a number of sheets to make larger forms which soften

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the rigidity of the rectangular module. One day I asked myself why is paper rectangular? I decided to make a mould which had one short side, like a wedge of cheese with a slice cut off the thin end. I made a quantity of paper in this form and discovered that these sheets fitted together in a rather architectural way and also created an illusion of depth.’ This led Ford to make his largest work so far, Head in the Clouds and all at Sea: ‘One reason for the title is that I unintentionally created a profile head in the curving lines that climb up and down in the design. I attempted to lose that readable human sign but the echo of it remains. Both phrases are about states of mind. There is a contrast between the title, which suggests being lost and mindless amongst the meandering lines, and the formal patterning of the repeated paper shape.’ It was an extraordinary endeavour to print the papers in groups of four, assemble the separate sections on the floor of a room not large enough to 2 (page 12) China Red 2007 woodcut and pastel on handmade paper 37 x 79cm 3 (page 13) Head in the Clouds and All at Sea (detail, central part), 2007 relief print on handmade paper (metal pieces, flattened, surface treated) 161 x 704cm

contain the whole piece but nevertheless to keep the whole thing growing towards a unity. ‘I didn’t see the completed work, seven metres wide, until it was first on public display in a solo exhibition in Cardiff, 2007.’ The chance to exhibit in the spacious RWA galleries had been an important stimulus. In 2005 Ford organised Size Matters. This was an overall title for three exhibitions focusing on large and small artworks on paper: ‘I made Street Language – Things Fall Apart specifically for it. I had previously printed some small pieces using some of my collection of metal scraps which I had begun collecting rather aimlessly. Street Language... brought together all the washers, flattened wire and bits of dismantled gadgets which I had hammered and re-surfaced. These I inked and printed on my own paper, some of which had a brownish red colour made by incorporating sifted Bristol earth. It was an exciting moment when I discovered that amongst the random

4 (page 13) Patterns for Remembering 2011 collagraph, woodcut and etching on handmade paper 138 x 125 5 Street Language – Things Fall Apart (in RWA collection) 2005 relief print on handmade paper (metal pieces, flattened, surface treated) 216 x 356cm 6 Burning Bush 2011 watercolour and ink on Chinese paper 38 x 37cm 6

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shapes I had hammered there were, by chance, some letters of the alphabet. I began to use these to make words. I enjoyed the language play that emerged such as the terse life story, ‘eat, vote, die’ or polarities such as ‘argue, agree’.’ It might be thought that his love of spontaneity, of indirectness, does not lend itself to the creation of art with a ‘message’, but this is not entirely true. ‘Now and again I do make something which is intended to carry an implied meaning. With work of this kind the title may precede the creation. For example in Remembering and Forgetting, with printing from designs cut on pencil erasers, I incorporated references to Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the 9/11 outrage.’ Also a work that he made in response to the theme Clashes between Civilisations for an international competitive exhibition in Warsaw was awarded the main prize and is now in

One day I asked myself why is paper rectangular?

a museum collection there. ‘Very recently I have made some watercolours which are oblique responses to the level-toned radio reporting of terrorist and state-sponsored atrocities. For the listener momentary feelings of horror and compassion are rapidly submerged by sports news and the relatively trivial business of the day.’ He works in diverse styles, and this has continued over the years: ‘What I want to do next often comes out of what I have just been doing. Usually I don’t start with an image but hope to find one as I work. My art seems similar to cooking which is another thing I like to do. Mixing and stirring up. I have an impulse to make something with the materials or ingredients that are there, starting before I have a clear concept of the route or the end point. A more formed idea or inspiration may occur half way through. I have a lot of beginnings that are simmering at an indeterminate stage and some of these will be recycled into new paper. Others are marinating and may have a revival. Rather than ‘artist’ I like the older word ‘artisan’. I like to be free-ranging.’ Peter Ford’s exhibition: Chance and Choice II runs at the RWA 12 September – 2 October.

Kit Williams:

a divergent vision

To the general public Kit Williams is best known for Masquerade, a children’s book of paintings which held clues to the whereabouts of a jewelled golden hare, buried in a secret location. But that was back in the 1970s and in many ways not typical of his work. There have been over 300 paintings since then, avidly collected by those drawn to his idiosyncratic and haunting work. Deputy Editor Mike Whitton and photographer Alice Hendy found Kit in his secret location, a delightful Cotswold cottage where he lives with his wife Eleyne, herself a maker of exquisite jewellery: ‘When I first came here this was a derelict cottage with not much land; I did all of Masquerade and much other work in a four-by-six shed. Then I built this studio, and it’s just perfect. We were in London recently for the first time in two or three years [for the V&A exhibition British Design: 1948 – 2012 which featured Masquerade’s hare], and I thought: God, I couldn’t live there. But it’s just perfect here.’

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‘I am no longer with a gallery and I don’t do commissions; I do what I want. We have a policy of zero publicity. So those who come are people who want to find me and that’s a good position for me to be in. There are enough people wanting to collect my work. When I was showing at Portal and other galleries I never met my buyers; it was as if I was creating paintings and then throwing them into a black hole. The painting you see on my studio wall is of a girl holding an apple and is called Constant Bower, which may seem a strange title. But if you walk almost anywhere in England, though most of what you see is man-made, you can find little pools surrounded by trees that would have been there a thousand, two thousand years ago. So this little bower is constant, and she goes there to dream. The interesting thing about dreams is that if you observe a child or loved one dreaming there’s a poignancy about it because they are so still that you can look at them in detail, yet they in their own minds are somewhere else and you can’t go there. When I paint naturalistic detail this is sometimes created by me going out and photographing; perhaps recording the shapes of leaves and the way frost can define their edges. At other times I will go out and dig a sod of earth and have it in this studio and water it every day. A buttercup might come into flower while the clump of earth is in the studio, or a creature will crawl up one of the stems – either way it’s all just drawing. I can invent and draw as I go along. Once I have got the beginnings of something, I can just keep inventing. We were having a candle-lit dinner and I could see an aura around the candle, and was not able to see beyond it very clearly. But when I put my thumb up to block out the candle’s flame the aura collapsed. The glare of the aura is actually in your eye, not around the flame. That’s interesting. So what I’m trying to do in my current painting is to show the sun hidden behind the ‘thumb’ of a church, and as you get further away from that point the colours become warmer. It has a rather poetic title: On the Finding of a Feather of a Swan. You’re on a walk (the girl in the picture is not real, she’s the spirit of the feather) you pick up the feather and it is the most perfect piece of sculpture – the most perfect thing you’ve ever seen – just discarded from a swan’s breast. That’s how this painting came about. It may be hard to see the effect I’m aiming for at this stage because when I do a painting I paint the whole thing first in opaque colours, all the detail, everything, and it’s at that stage now. Then I paint it all again in transparent colours – it’s glazing; all the early masters used glazing a lot.

Then came the invention of paint in tubes and for over a hundred years artists have been more interested in the surface of the paint, they work alla prima. But to me that surface should be more a window on the soul – I don’t want you to see that painted surface, I want you to go into another world. When I’ve painted the first layer I often see that the arrangement of colour in one area adversely affects a previously painted area, so when I apply the second transparent layer I make adjustments; I aim to make the colours ring like a bell. Because I’ve been painting now for forty years there is a cyclical element to how new ideas relate to previous work. I think all visual artists, or at least those I respect, are somehow revisiting their childhood. When you are very young, before you can verbalise concepts, some very complex things are going into your head through your eyes, and you can mine that later on in adulthood.

Visually, I am a completely different species. You’ve got hunter’s, carnivore’s vision; I’ve got herbivore vision. I look in two different directions. 4

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A lot of what goes into your eyes at that time is mysterious, somehow wonderful and untouchable. Later on things are less so, but you can get that feeling back. You are rediscovering the mystery, and that can be very powerful. Indulgences relates to childhood memories. At the age of seven Catholic children take their first Communion, before which they are required to make their first confession. I was raised a Catholic and the thought of entering a dark box to be confronted by the disembodied voice of an old man behind a screen terrified me. Thankfully, Deliverance came in the school playground: ‘Make up sins! Tell him you watched your sister undressing

or some such! Lie!’ So in my painting, to save the children compounding their sins the young lady sits in a small booth with a tiny door opening onto the street. The children knock on the door and pass through some little object precious to them. In return, they are rewarded with a ‘real’ sin that they can confess, thus satisfying all parties. My paintings have ‘time bombs’, details with meanings that might not reveal themselves for some time. For example, in Salome you will see that the only thing that has really lost its head is the white rose reflected in the mirror. This is because in Wilde’s play he likens Salome to ‘a white rose reflected in a mirror of silver.’ Teenage daughters demand their father’s head on a RWA magazine

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1 (page 16) Experiment with a Gilded Lamp 2 (page 18) Indulgences 3 (page 18) Salome 4 (page 19) Hunter’s Moon B 5 (page 19) Kit with dinner plates and Constant Bower 6 Salome and the Dance of the Double Helix

plate, but this father is one step ahead – the table and plate have been cut in two to create the ‘Great Illusion’. For that painting I made a table in two halves and got my model to sit in there. He’s a local chap and I asked him if he would pose for me. When we had done the painting I asked him if his wife would like to see it. He went off, but he didn’t come back. A couple of weeks later I ran into him and he explained that his wife hadn’t come because she didn’t want to see her husband’s head on another woman’s plate. I’ve got what is called a divergent squint, which I have always had. In normal people’s vision, what you see as a resolved area is very small, as if you were holding out a dinner plate at arm’s length. Visually, I am a completely different species. You’ve got hunter’s, carnivore’s vision; I’ve got herbivore vision. I look in two different directions. Your brain takes the slightly different images, puts them together

and creates three-dimensionality, which I’ve never seen. My vision is 45 degrees divergent, so picture two dinner plates, held at 45 degrees. For me, detailed vision goes right out to the edges, but my brain has to ‘fill in’ the gap in the middle. I am consequently very interested in eyes, and how we see. For example, I see that in recent articles in ART both Dame Joan Bakewell and Sister Wendy Becket have mentioned Las Meninas. I’ve been looking at it recently, too. If you follow the lines of perspective, and there aren’t many, they end up at the daughter’s face. That gives us the horizon. You can’t see the horizon at a child’s height without getting down to that level. It could be that he has painted the work from the young daughter’s perspective, as though she could be in two places at the same time, both in the painting, as it were, and outside of it. It’s a fascinating construct. I never went to art college – I’m entirely self-taught. I could always draw at school, but I had a succession of bad art teachers who I didn’t get on with, so I didn’t pursue it. The crafts I like using, such as marquetry and painting, are ones where I can be entirely in control, when it’s all eye, hand and brain. I am then prepared to spend as much time as it takes to get it right. Crafts like ceramics and etching, which I have on occasion done, are ones where you can do a lot of work and then you put it into a kiln or put it in acid and you hand it over to God, and nine times out of ten he sods it all up, so I much prefer to do it all myself. For me, to paint accurately, to use one’s knowledge of materials and to use one’s skills is not an affectation; purposely not to do so is an affectation.’

For me, to paint accurately, to use one’s knowledge of materials and to use one’s skills is not an affectation; purposely not to do so is an affectation.

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AUREA AUREA

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EXHIBITION

VINTAGE BLAKE 14th - 30th September

Ben Kelly

8 – 30 September

Exhibition to celebrate Sir Peter Blake’s 80th Birthday Year Late October/November Paintings by CARL MELEGARI 7a Boyces Avenue, Clifton, Bristol BS8 4AA Tel 0117 973 2614 www.innocentfineart.co.uk Email enquiries@innocentfineart.co.uk

Bath Contemporary

35 Gay Street, Bath BA1 2NT t 01225 461230 www.bathcontemporary.com

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Las Meninas: Jonathan Camp

the Mona Lisa of group portraits

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At first glance Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez could be just another dark oil painting: a bunch of spoilt Royals in a gloomy room. Indeed for a hundred and fifty years it hung neglected in the King’s private chambers, virtually unknown to the outside world. Even today Velázquez is an obscure figure, lurking mysteriously in 17th Century Spain, much less well known than many Italian or French artists of lesser talent. So why is Las Meninas now regarded as the greatest work in the Prado, admired by people as varied as Pablo Picasso (who famously painted fifty-eight versions) and the French philosopher Michel Foucault? In a word, mystery: Las Meninas is one of the most enigmatic canvases ever painted; it is the Mona Lisa of group portraits. The first mystery: Velázquez himself. An alert figure, he stands on the left behind his canvas, assuredly meeting our gaze, right hand primed, impatient to continue painting; he looks about forty and in good health. The truth was otherwise: when he painted Las Meninas Velázquez was 57, his health fading from excessive foreign travel as aposentador mayor to Philip IV, his career stifled by Hapsburg bureaucracy. He was to die in 1660, in only four years time. The self-portrait reveals his ideal: an air-brushed vision of an urbane artist at the height of his powers, exuding pride in his profession. From a lowly family in Seville, he rose to become easily the most prominent Spanish painter of the 17th Century. Inspired by the careers of Titian in Italy and his friend Rubens in Flanders, he realised that international fame was predicated on Hapsburg patronage; first working for Philip in 1627, he became the quintessential court painter: Las Meninas is an assertion of Velázquez’s pride and right of place in the royal hierarchy. An elaborate red cross decorates his jacket – the emblem of the Order of Santiago, the highest honour for a commoner, and bestowed only by the King. Velázquez, to his great delight, was awarded this in November 1659, three years after finishing Las Meninas. No-one knows who added this telling detail: was it requested posthumously on the orders of a grieving monarch, or more intriguingly by Velázquez himself, making a bold statement of his fame, just before his death?

A second mystery surrounds the title: why on earth does Velázquez name his painting after ‘Maids of Honour’ or ‘Meninas’? Surely ‘The Infanta Margarita, and her Servants’ would be more appropriate, after the king’s precocious five year old daughter who takes centre stage. Why are King Philip IV and Queen Maria-Anna, Hapsburg rulers of the largest empire in the world, relegated to indistinct reflections in a hazy mirror? It is too simplistic to see Las Meninas as a prototype democratic work: Velázquez painted Philip and the Infanta numerous times, portraits which hang, relatively ignored, next to Las Meninas in the Prado. Instead the title reflects Velázquez’s esteem in the eyes of the King, for he is clearly able to choose his subject – quotidian life in the palace. Maria Agustina Sarmiento offers the Infanta a goblet of water, while Isabel de Velasco curtsies shyly. Even more surprising to modern eyes are the dwarves who share the front row with royalty, but in the Hapsburg court they were familiar companions. Maribarbola echoes the Infanta, goofily holding our gaze whilst Nicolasito Pertusato, a seven year old Italian, playfully kicks the snoozy dog; what a contrast with the Infanta Margarita, a five year old who poses with deadened regal assurance, her role in life already learnt, her childhood perhaps already over. An intriguing aside: Nicolasito will easily outlive Margarita, becoming a great favourite of the Hapsburg court, to die as late as 1706. The Infanta, married off to Leopold of Austria, dies aged only twenty-one, her body exhausted by seven pregnancies in a typically unseemly rush for imperial succession. And why is the Hapsburg entourage paraded in this gloomy room? Surely there were more glamorous locations in the Royal Palace? Again Velázquez’s esteem provides the answer, for the King has allowed his favoured painter to paint royalty in the artist’s own studio. But there is melancholic family symbolism here too: this room was the private chamber of Prince Baltasar Carlos, much-loved son from Philip’s previous marriage and the Hapsburg heir, famously painted as a child on horseback by Velázquez in 1635. When he died suddenly in 1646 the monarchy was plunged into terrible grief. The search for male succession was still unresolved when Las Meninas was painted. Indeed, resonant with Spain’s current economic woes, in 1656 the Hapsburg empire is in crisis. Its many dominions, principally in South America, are increasingly ungovernable, a drain on Spanish coffers. Philip IV’s reign has been politically disastrous: Portugal gained independence in 1640, Flanders and Holland followed eight years later. Philip’s court is paralysed by archaic protocol and stifling bureaucracy; the Royal family are increasingly impecunious, traders refusing to do business with them until huge debts are paid; a lack of firewood may even explain the chilly look of the painter’s studio. Las Meninas may be seen as Velázquez’s attempt to help Philip to retreat from political trouble into the security of intimate family life.

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Look closely at any detail of Las Meninas and you will see that nothing is quite what it seems. Velázquez’s artistic talent with a brush is consummate, the equal of any. He was a huge admirer of the verve of Rubens, one of whose canvases, The Judgement of Paris hangs on the back wall. On a recent visit to Italy (1649 – 51) he had absorbed the loose, expressionistic brush strokes of the great Venetians Titian and Tintoretto. Las Meninas was painted rapidly, alla prima onto the huge canvas, without preliminary drawing. Thin, lively brush strokes create a certain impeccable imprecision: Velázquez’s right hand appears to quiver as if in the motion of painting – a trick Manet would plunder in masterpieces such as Music in the Tuileries (1862). The dog, emblematic of Hapsburg slumber, is a ravishing tour de force, as we seem to see individual hairs and lustrous fur at the same time. Colours too create illusion: we think we see vermilion on the Infanta’s ribbon – it’s actually a much duller red ochre pigment seemingly brilliant by contrast with the cool greys that surround it. The Impressionists admired Velázquez’s depiction of space. Foreground and background are imperceptively fused; Velázquez does for interiors what Claude does for landscape: both 2 are ‘painters of the air’. We’re drawn in as if by magnetic force, less by traditional perspectival line than by tensions between two rectangles at the centre of the back wall: the servant José de Nieto presents a dark figure against a light doorway; juxtaposed to the left we see the light half-figures of the King and Queen in the dark mirror.

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So to the biggest mystery of all: what does Las Meninas mean? Foucault famously sees the painting as one of the earliest modern works, where Velázquez deliberately obfuscates meaning, subverting our visual expectations: ‘the reciprocal visibility embraces a complex network of uncertainties, exchanges and feints’. Five of the nine people in the canvas are looking directly at us; we assume that we must be standing in the Royal couple’s place. But look again – surely the Royal reflection in the back mirror means they must stand to the left of everyone’s gaze? If so, that means people in the painting must be staring at us: ‘Who on earth are these shabbily dressed ruffians intruding into our private world?’ But is that really a mirror? Perhaps it’s merely an old painting, lit by a sunburst from the window to the right? If it is a mirror it could be old and warped, or perhaps it reflects a regal portrait behind us. We’re drawn into Velázquez’s web: nothing is certain. Could the mirror reflect part of the canvas he is working on? But surely that’s not the right angle or size. If Velázquez is painting the King and Queen his canvas seems far too large for a portrait. The neatest theory is the best: Velázquez is painting the very painting we are looking at. It certainly seems the right size to be his masterpiece: Las Meninas. Great art attempts to resolve, in some measure, the problem of existence. Bristol’s Sir Thomas Lawrence famously described Las Meninas as ‘the Philosophy of Art’, Schopenhauer argued 3 that ‘Every genuine and successful work of art answers the question ‘What is Life?’ in its own way’; Kant proposed that we can only experience the world as it appears a priori to human sensibilities. We see the phenomenal world as it appears to our senses, the noumenal or ‘real’ world is, by definition, unknowable. We are mistaken if we think that the world around us is real. Las Meninas suggests that art is an illusion, that we should not trust what we think we see: the same is true of life. 1 The Artist’s hand quivering and the emblem of the Order of Santiago 2 King and Queen in mirror? 3 Dwarf kicking dog 4 The Infanta

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1 (this page) Both Ways 1 1965 Acrylic on canvas 150 x 230 cm 2 Connections 1969 Painted blocks with countersunk magnets, shown here in three configurations 3 The covers of the first ten Fontana Modern Masters in 1970 – 71 4 A point in time of a kinetic painting

Oliver Bevan has been a successful figurative painter for over thirty years so a retrospective of his earlier work from the 1960s and 1970s comes as a surprise. James Pardey looks back at the artist’s optical, geometric and kinetic art.

Oliver Bevan: in search of Utopia Students forty years ago did not have Wikipedia to mug up on Camus, McLuhan, Wittgenstein or Chomsky. Books were the thing back then, and for many students the books of choice were the Fontana Modern Masters, a groundbreaking series of pocket guides on the thinkers and theorists whose ideas had shaped the 20th Century. Today, however, the books are remembered not for their contents but their eye-catching covers, which featured brightly coloured abstract art by a young English artist named Oliver Bevan. The series was launched in 1970 although its cover story starts in the early sixties, when Bevan himself was a student at the Royal College of Art and struggling to find a direction. It was, he says, ‘a period of coffee breaks and confusion’ that lasted until he attended a lecture on Victor Vasarely. Vasarely wanted to democratise art and make it accessible to everyone irrespective of background or education. For him this meant art based purely on vision and his abstract geometric paintings made extensive use of optical effects, where the brain alternates between different interpretations of an image. This ‘Op Art’ struck a chord

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James Pardey

with Bevan, as he later explained: ‘I had felt uncomfortable that many people didn’t understand contemporary art and thought it needed to be more accessible. In Vasarely’s own terms, geometry is accessible, and the day after the lecture I threw myself into it. I did hundreds of drawings and gouaches and occasionally produced a certain kind of visual ambiguity which I turned into a painting’. The paintings in his first solo exhibition at the Grabowski Gallery, London, in 1965 were based on interlocking geometric shapes and played on the viewer’s visual perception through tonal flicker, ambiguous perspective and figureground reversals. The exhibition attracted favourable reviews, with the critic Norbert Lynton writing that Bevan’s art ‘achieves its aim of intensifying our awareness of our perceptual processes, which implies our awareness of the visible world’. A second exhibition at the Grabowski in 1967 featured shaped paintings based on isometric projections of a cube and a larger colour palette which Bevan said was ‘intended to provoke the viewer into an active relationship with the work’. His interest in colour was influenced by Josef Albers, whose Homages to the Square and

Interaction of Color showed how colours seen separately appear to change when juxtaposed. Albers had called this ‘the discrepancy between physical fact and psychic effect’ and as Bevan’s fascination with colour grew so his paintings became less optical. The use of numerical sequences in his next two series of paintings led to the idea of incorporating time into his work, and one way to do this was by extending the concept of viewer participation from seeing to doing. This was made tangible in a third Grabowski exhibition in 1969 which included a tabletop piece of sixteen square tiles which were each divided diagonally into two of four colours. The tiles could be rearranged to create different combinations of figure and ground, as visitors to the gallery were soon discovering. The viewer thus became an active participant in creating the artwork on display which, being rearrangeable, changed over time. Bevan then developed the idea further, using magnetic tiles on a square steel sheet covered with black canvas. Connections used six such tiles which were painted with yellow triangles, emerald green stripes, and orange and dark blue

parallelograms. Like his earlier tabletop piece, the tiles could be arranged to create larger tessellating patterns and shapes, only now it could be hung like a painting. Connections was shown at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1969 – 70 as part of Play Orbit, an exhibition of artworks that visitors could interact or ‘play’ with in the manner of toys and games. Meanwhile Vasarely had started selling boxed kits of rearrangeable tiles for people to create their own Op Art. The tiles were pieces of his ‘plastic alphabet’ and consisted of coloured squares on which a smaller geometric shape was superimposed in a different colour. The pieces were magnetic and came with a frame which could be hung on a wall, although the similarity with Bevan’s work did not end there. Vasarely’s kits moved away from traditional art markets, where one-of-a-kind originals were the luxury of a privileged few, towards massproduced affordable art available to all. Bevan shared this desire to democratise art and his next project achieved it in an entirely original and unexpected way. For it was around this time that John Constable, Art Director at Fontana Books, was looking for a cover concept for the Fontana Modern Masters, and on seeing Bevan’s rearrangeable tiles Constable commissioned him to create the cover art. The covers of the first ten books were based on isometric cubes and coloured in vibrant patterns of orange, yellow and emerald green, with vertical stripes

in a fourth colour that amplified the optical flickering effect. The books were published in 1970 – 71 with a statement on the back revealing they were tiles for a larger painting: ‘The cover of this book is one of a set of ten, comprising the covers of the first ten titles of the Modern Masters series. The set combines to form the whole painting, and can be arranged in an unlimited number of different patterns.’ This incentive for people to collect all ten books and make their own Op Art was taken up by booksellers who mounted spectacular cascading window displays, and the cover concept was repeated for a second set of Modern Masters in 1971 – 73. The books sold extremely well and Bevan recalls seeing people with them on the London Underground. ‘My democratic urge was well satisfied,’ he said, ‘because everyone could have an inexpensive piece of my work’. During this time Bevan also collaborated with the composer Brian Dennis on a production at London’s Cockpit Theatre of Z’Noc, an experimental piece in which the musicians take their cues from coloured lights projected onto three large mobiles. This led Bevan to experiment with light as a medium for other types of kinetic art and in 1973 he produced the first of his lightboxes. These used polarised light and opticallyactive materials such as Cellophane and Sellotape to create a mesmerising cycle of changing colours and shifting shapes.

For Bevan the lightboxes were a breakthrough. The problem of incorporating time in his paintings – which he had first explored with rearrangeable tiles – was, he felt, finally solved. He had created a ‘canvas’ for ‘kinetic paintings’ that selected colours ‘in time as well as space’. A kinetic painting, Pyramid, was used to produce the covers for a third set of Fontana Modern Masters in 1973 – 74. The lightboxes were exhibited in London, Europe and North America, with pieces such as Turning World and Crescendo winning plaudits from the art historian Ernst Gombrich. Bevan found a backer for the lightboxes and oversaw the production of editioned multiples. These sold well, and as Bevan recalls, ‘they became a sort of cottage industry. But there were a lot of technical difficulties. I was solving problems and wasn’t actually being very creative any more’. Eventually he began to feel his kinetic work had run its course and in 1977 he accepted an offer of a two-year teaching post at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. This proved to be a turning point and by the time he returned to London he had abandoned kinetic art in favour of figurative painting. Oliver Bevan’s retrospective was at the Médiathèque d’Uzès in France. A limited edition signed print of Bevan’s Cascade of Fontana Modern Masters covers is available from wire-frame.net/fineart.html.

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Hands On Terence Coventry Three decades of Sculpture & Drawings

15th October - 23rd November

Tree of Jackdaws

A new, fully-illustrated book with text by Tom Flynn will be published to accompany the exhibition.

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5 September - 5 October

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RWA magazine Autumn 2012

Andrew Wyeth: a secret love Greg Reitschlin

Andrew Newell Wyeth (1917 – 2009) was one of America’s best known and best loved painters of the latter half of the 20th Century. Schooled at home by his celebrated artist / illustrator father, N.C. Wyeth, Andrew was raised in a cloistered environment, learning to love at an early age the works of Robert Frost, Goethe, Tolstoy, Henry Thoreau, and the paintings of Winslow Homer – all the while becoming more and more obsessively focused. The only art lessons

the young Wyeth ever received were from his father from whom he learned figure study, landscape and watercolour and, eventually, his preferred medium of egg tempera. But it was not until 1986, when his mysterious Helga Collection was revealed, that Wyeth became internationally known. Greg Reitschlin takes up the story: While much of Wyeth’s work is technically flawless, many find it repetitious and formulaic, an uneasy mix of saccharin sweetness and coldly clinical illustrative skill. The art historian Robert Rosenblum was once asked to identify the most

overrated and the most underrated artist of the 20th Century. He replied: “Andrew Wyeth – both categories.” However, Wyeth’s most famous painting, Christina’s World (1948), rapidly gained iconic status, depicting in clear detail a neighbour with a degenerative neuro-muscular disorder, who spent hours crawling around the fields that bordered her home. Writers and film-makers reference it, the public love it, and in the 50s and 60s a reproduction would hang on every self-respecting American student’s wall. Like most iconic paintings it elicits a powerful emotional attraction as viewers ponder what narrative might lie behind the image. The painting epitomises Wyeth’s obsession with melancholia: the faceless, lonely, unmarried Christina leans forward as if straining to complete her uphill struggle towards the farmhouse on the horizon, and a normal life. RWA magazine

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So, was Wyeth an artist or merely, as often accused, an accomplished illustrator? The epithet ‘illustrator’ is of course meant to be an insult but Daumier, Doré, Dürer and van Gogh were pretty good illustrators. Either way, exact realism was Wyeth’s aim. Not photorealism, but a style more Pre-Raphaelite, with its explicit and heightened detail. “I really like tempera,” Wyeth once said, “it has a cocoon-like feeling of grey lostness. What I seek in my paintings is a sense of permanence, captured both by the distillation of imagery, and the hardness of the medium.”

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British art critic Tom Lubbock took the view: “Andrew is the only Wyeth worth looking at. His father and his son are catastrophically vulgar …but people love Andrew’s work – why should we critics mind? I can’t see how anyone could hate this work. But he is an operator, and rigidly humourless.” The argument continues. Either way, Andrew Wyeth, as a modern practitioner of the medium of tempera was unsurpassed. He was also, in his own way, an historian; an avid and accurate chronicler of the everyday lives of his neighbours – the archetypal regionalist painter, or so it seemed. But Andrew Wyeth had a secret. The landscape that proved to be the focus of his greatest obsession was the neighbouring Kuerner farm. The Kuerners were German, immigrants who came to the US after WW1, and Wyeth painted over one thousand works depicting the family members and their farm, interior and

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exterior, chronicling their lives for over twenty years. But in 1970, Karl Kuerner was dying and needed help. The Prussian-born 38 year-old Helga Testorf had been called in to aid the ailing Karl. Wyeth, by now a family friend of the Kuerners, and with free run of the house, was immediately attracted by the ripe and inviting sexuality of the new girl, who at the same time maintained a reserved and detached air. She was carrying a vacuum cleaner on first meeting the famous painter, but nevertheless commenced a seduction on a grand scale. Wyeth, then aged 53, began painting Helga in 1971 without Helga’s husband being aware of it. Helga had no modelling experience but felt quite comfortable in allowing the artist to study her for extended periods of time. He produced a series of meticulous portraits throughout a clandestine liaison that continued for a further fifteen years. Wyeth’s wife did not have the slightest

inkling that her husband was spending long hours in Helga’s company. The result was hundreds of paintings, stashed by Wyeth in an unheated attic room at the Kuerners’ house. Explaining the series Wyeth said, with disarming frankness, “The difference between me and a lot of painters is that I have to have a personal contact with my models. I have to become enamoured. Smitten. That’s what happened when I saw Helga.” Of On Her Knees: “Helga was the perfect model. This is of course a passionate picture. You can feel the sexual passion …it was painted with deep emotion; it’s not a studio concept. I think one’s art goes as far and as deep as one’s love goes. After this I’m not going to paint any more nudes. I’ve shot my wad.” Sir Kenneth Clark noted in his 1981 essay The Artist Grows Old, said of the great intellectual and artistic productivity of

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men in late adulthood that it: “…produces their most impressive work in the last ten or fifteen years of fairly long lives.” Shortly after Wyeth had revealed his secret to the world – and Mrs. Wyeth – Leonard E.B. Andrews, publisher and sometime collector of Wyeth’s work, was granted access to the Helga Collection, as it had now become known. Wyeth called him up, saying: “I want you to take a look at a large, private collection I have here at Chadds Ford.” Intrigued, Andrews drove over that weekend and soon found himself standing, alone, on the second floor of an old mill on Wyeth’s estate. Andrews recalls: “Sixty seven framed paintings and drawings were hanging, or leaning at random against the walls …the other walls were filled with watercolour, dry brush and pencil drawings. On two tables were stacks of unframed …preliminary sketches, studies and finished works in pencil and mixed media.”

Andrews spent two hours alone with the collection of 240 works before returning to the main house, where he told the startled Wyeths: “I want every one”. Seven days and $6 million later the Helga Collection was his. When the Leonard E.B. Andrews Foundation eventually sold them at a profit of perhaps 600 percent, Andrews poured the money into his brainchild, The National Arts Program, formed six years earlier with the aim of helping municipal employees and other amateurs exhibit their art. This now has 85 shows in 44 states across the USA. Although the Helga Collection is now dispersed, the unresolved mystery of the Helga paintings still intrigues: were Wyeth and Helga actual lovers, or simply artist and model? How much did Wyeth’s wife know of the relationship, if anything? Was the whole thing a wonderful way of shifting $6 million

worth of work without having to fall back on the whims, moods and commission demands of agent or gallery (see Damien Hirst’s recent and similar coup)? Whatever the answer, the Helga Collection revealed a different Wyeth, one less encumbered by the precise and meticulous observation of trivia; an artist able finally to eliminate all reference to specific place, creating classic and timeless work. At last, the master of his art.

1 (page 29) Barracoon

4 On Her Knees

2 Christina’s World

5 Helga 1

3 Lovers RWA magazine

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Classical Music Live at St George’s September – December 2012

World class music at the heart of the city The world’s most celebrated soloists and ensembles grace the stage this autumn. Whether intense, passionate outpourings or lighter, uplifting moments, listening to the finest classical music in the superb acoustic and intimate setting of St George’s is a truly extraordinary and life affirming experience.

September

November

Sat 22 Treorchy Male Choir

Fri 9

“The master choir of them all.” SIR ANTHONY HOPKINS

Fri 28

Paul Lewis plays Schubert

Tue 2

The English Concert / Carolyn Sampson soprano ‘Trailblazers in baroque period instrument playing.’ DAILY TELEGRAPH

Sat 6

Bristol Classical Players / Stephen Hough piano

Tue 20 Rush Hour Classics Daniel Tong piano ‘Cultured pianism ... unqualified pleasure.’ GRAMOPHONE

Fri 23

Fri 19

Mandolinquents

Lucy Parham / Brendan Coyle Rêverie: The Life of Debussy ‘A lovely entertainment, flawlessly performed.’ THE INDEPENDENT

Wed 28 Brothers Grimm Three Snake Leaves Fairy tales for Grown-ups ‘The country’s most highly regarded storytellers.’ THE TIMES

Fri 30

Paul Lewis / Imogen Cooper play Schubert

December

Angela Hewitt plays Bach

Fri 7

Mon 22 Viktoria Mullova plays Bach ‘The most elegant and sweetly expressive violinist on the planet.’ CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Tue 23 Rush Hour Classics Matthew Barley / Reinis Zarins ‘Matthew Barley is the world’s most adventurous cellist!’ GLASGOW HERALD

Children’s and Family Concerts: with a unique mix of creativity and interactivity, St George’s puts children at the heart of its magical, kidfriendly family shows. Folk Jazz World Gigs: a spectacular line-up of ambitious, critically acclaimed, truly international contemporary music. For further information visit stgeorgesbristol.co.uk

Elias Quartet Beethoven String Quartet Cycle I ‘The Elias is a quite exceptional quartet.’ GRAMOPHONE

Wed 12 Tallis Scholars ‘The rock stars of Renaissance sacred vocal music.’ NEW YORK TIMES

Tue 18 Michael Morpurgo The Best Christmas Present In The World ‘A captivating tale, weaving Morpurgo’s evocative readings with compelling music.’ THE GUARDIAN

Thu 20 La Serenissima Venice by Night ‘Gorgeous, gorgeous playing by this crack period instrument ensemble.’ CLASSIC FM

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THE SUNDAY TIMES

‘A witty, sparklingly eclectic mandolin quartet.’ BBC RADIO 2

‘The pre-eminent Bach pianist of our time.’ THE GUARDIAN

Plus

‘Imogen Cooper is one of the great Schubertians.’

‘The most perfect piano playing conceivable.’ THE GUARDIAN

Sun 7

La Nuova Musica Acis and Galatea ‘The most exciting consort in the Early Music field.’ BBC RADIO 3

‘The finest Schubert pianist of his generation.’ GRAMOPHONE

October

Tickets from £10

“A stunning place, a perfect sound.” ANDREW KIRKBY, AUDIENCE MEMBER

Putting the pieces of the jigsaw back together again 2

Victoria Art Gallery, Bath:

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Simon Baker 3

highlight: Thomas Jones Barker’s The Bride in Death acclaimed in France where it belonged to the King. Nearby is Bath’s most popular picture: The Watersplash (1900). As we approach the jewels of the modern collection Benington points out a recent, unexpected and important acquisition, Paul Klee’s Small Harbour Scene. Despite its undoubted and fascinating provenance this picture had

... eschews a hierarchical view of the visual arts and doesn’t seek to elevate painting above pottery or sculpture above textiles.

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I am in Bath, at the Victoria Art Gallery outside visiting hours, where Jon Benington, Manager and Curator, engaging and enthusiastic, greets me to take me behind the scenes. I glimpse in the picture store a fine Sandra Blow, Two Figures, which he tells me, fell out of favour with the artist as “too figurative”. The treasures of the drawings store are pointed out. We visit Benington’s office where a library of the Gallery’s connections is forming. The charismatic Clifford Ellis of Bath Academy of Art and Rosemary, his wife, feature here. Upstairs the main gallery, magnificent, top-lit with coved ceiling its frieze given by the building’s architect in 1900. Eighty works, highlights celebrating this rich collection, are displayed on walls newly decorated in the Aesthetic Movement’s

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peacock blue, green tinged, suiting the 19th Century era of many of the works. Benington takes me to the 15th Century Flemish Adoration of the Magi, the Gallery’s oldest painting, recently reframed to reveal an additional figure; a glorious technical tour de force by the circle of Hugo van der Goes. An up and coming art critic wrote that this picture should be exhibited in London, too good for a provincial gallery. His name? Richard Cork. Now we are in the 18th Century. Here in the Assembly Rooms following restoration, is Gainsborough’s William Wade, the splendour of the colour intimately revealed. Gainsborough’s contemporary, Zoffanny, is represented by two superb portraits of Charles Dumergue, Royal dentist, and his daughter Sophia in resplendent headdress. I admire sea and landscapes by Loutherbourg and David Cox. Benington stops me in front of a 19th Century

to be authenticated, a meticulous process which took Benington from Bath to Berne. Other great stars are Matthew Smith’s Roses in Blue Bowl and William Roberts’ wonderfully animated The Dressmaker complemented by an elegant landscape of Michael Ayrton. The emphasis in Benington’s collecting for the Gallery is on artists associated with Bath Academy of Art: Sickert, William Scott, Robyn Denny, Peter Lanyon, Kenneth Armitage, Gillian Ayres and Howard Hodgkin whose Silence was acquired in 2007 after heroic fund-raising.

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of the contribution made by Bath artists, the artists who have lived here, have grown up here and the itinerant painters who left a foot print. Aware not just of the Georgian City but the City of innovation, art and design. It has to be acknowledged that because rich people came here it was an incentive for artists to come too.” Benington’s vision is compelling. The museum site is squeezed but there is potential to expand into the adjoining Guildhall. Benington wants more education and display space and ground floor area for shop and café to flourish. He wants to tell the story of art and design in Bath and of the Bath Academy of Art. “It is a multi-disciplinary story. From John Wood to Clifford Ellis to James Dyson. And the designs of Stoddard & Pitt’s cranes, exported across the world. Ellis was a visionary; his ideas far reaching. The Bauhaus his model; literature, poetry and puppetry grist to

his mill. Corsham was a hot bed of the avant-garde.” Inspired by Ellis, Benington wants to achieve exhibiting space which “eschews a hierarchical view of the visual arts and doesn’t seek to elevate painting above pottery or sculpture above textiles.” It is a vision to seduce and embrace us all.

1 (page 33) Adoration of the Magi Hugo van der Goes (circle) (about 1420 – 82) 2 (page 33) The Dressmaker William Roberts (1895 – 1980) Estate of John David Roberts By permission of the William Roberts Society

4 Sophia Dumergue Johann Zoffanny (1733 – 1810) 5 Charles Dumergue Johann Zoffanny (1733 – 1810) 6 Roses in Blue Bowl Matthew Smith (1879 – 1959) 7 Small Harbour Scene Paul Klee (1879 – 1940)

3 The Watersplash Henry Herbert La Thangue (1858 – 1929)

Benington explains the history. When the Gallery opened in 1900, Bath School of Art and Design “was next door”; a library and print room were on the ground floor. “In this cultural quarter students were in direct contact with fine paintings, prints and books.” The School moved out in the 1930s under Clifford Ellis. It was bombed in the Bath blitz of 1942, memorialised in Ellis and Rosemary’s watercolour Devastation of Lansdown Place, and was reincarnated as the Bath Academy of Art in Corsham in 1946. Benington inherited a legacy of a gallery run for most of its history by a librarian curator. Pictures were lent as freely as books. “I’ll send the boys round with a cart,” wrote one Headmaster, intent on borrowing pictures for his school. “I have been putting many pieces of the jigsaw back together again” says Benington. The library eventually moved out in 1989. The ground floor was converted to temporary exhibition space. Benington has been mounting increasingly ambitious exhibitions. “Our success has been heartening and delightful to see visitor numbers picking up.” He is determined to rotate the collection and to bring in temporary loans of stellar items making the difference between people seeing and not seeing the first floor displays. David Inshaw’s Badminton Game and William Powell Frith’s Paddington Station are coming from the Tate. Exhibitions to look forward to are The Radev Collection: Modigliani to Picasso in September, a William Scott Centenary show in 2013 and Matisse, Picasso, Dali and Warhol in Print in 2014. “With our collecting policy and exhibitions,” Benington declares, “I am fighting a campaign to make people aware

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19 Church Street Monmouth NP25 3BX

TOM DEWHURST PainTingS

“Busking” 102cm x 74cm

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RWA magazine Autumn 2012

Cabot Circus: a bold and imaginative dream Mike Jenner

Photography Oliver VallĂŠ

Cabot Circus encourages me to think that I can claim to be a prophet. In about 1970 Bristol City Council decided, against great opposition from the traders, to pedestrianise the Broadmead shopping area, and in 1972 they commissioned me to make plans for doing it. I proposed that after the removal of the traffic the streets should be put under cover and Quakers’ Friars, then a car park, should be turned back-tofront so that instead of the ugly backs of shops and the rows of dustbins facing wedding parties leaving the Register Office, the newly paved space would be surrounded by shop fronts and cafés, and filled with people eating and drinking in the sun.

‘People like shopping out of doors’ they said, ‘and eating in the open is unthinkable in Britain’s climate.’ So the plan was killed, helped by the fact that the political make-up of the City Council had recently changed and Sir Gervase had been replaced by a lesser man who, I came to the conclusion, was only too happy to reverse what his predecessor and political opponent had supported. All we managed to do was remove the traffic, pave the streets and plant a couple of trees. Since then developments throughout the country have shown how blind the traders were.

– extend the circuit of the ring road onto the cheaper land to the east. That was easy to say, but very hard to do. Moving a multi-lane highway of this sort is extremely expensive, requiring the move not only of the road and its junctions, but the diversion of the services which run beneath it, while at the same time keeping the traffic, the huge foul and storm water sewers, the water mains, the great gas pipes and multitude of cables all operating smoothly. They managed to do it without any mishaps. It took a long time but it was triumphantly achieved.

It so happens that the best of these new developments is Cabot Circus. Its conception was extraordinarily bold and imaginative – how times in Bristol had changed. By the 1990s Broadmead had become increasingly sad; the multi-storey car parks were unpleasant, insufficient and out of date and the range of shops and stores could not compete with what was on offer at Cribbs Causeway, outside the city. The obvious solution was to extend Broadmead, but it was tightly enclosed by apparently insuperable obstacles: the high land values and listed buildings on its west, Castle Park raised on its mound to the south and the Inner Circuit Road curving round its north and east. Some bold thinker found the solution

The new centre opened in 2008 to the design of Chapman Taylor Architects, specialists in large shopping and urban redevelopments. What they produced is an enormous multi-storey hub with three roads curving off it to connect with the old Broadmead. The whole complex is traffic-free and beautifully glass roofed by an immense fan-shaped torus over the hub, and ten shells dipping and curving over the streets, overlapping each other to provide spaces to allow smoke to escape in the event of fire. They were designed by the installation artist Nayan Kulkarni. I have to confess that when I first saw the development I wrote that, much as I admired the rest of the interior, I disliked the illogicality of the shells over the

My ideas were strongly supported by two outstanding men, the chairman of the Planning Committee, Sir Gervase Walker, and the City Valuer, ‘Bunny’ Moore. When we presented the plan to the traders (almost all of them national multiples) to a man they and their expert advisors rejected it: one after another standing up to say that removing traffic would harm trade, and covering the streets would totally kill it.

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streets. I now realise that I was wrong and have come to admire them. Their swooping and twisting wilfulness adds greatly to the visual excitement of this stunning interior. One of Cabot Circus’s most fascinating aspects is the way it realises what the Italian Futurists advocated but were never able to build. It opened exactly a century after Marinetti issued his manifesto in 1908. Here, great movements of people flow across the floors, move diagonally up and down the escalators and go over the great void on transparent glass bridges, all this

Their swooping and twisting wilfulness adds greatly to the visual excitement of this stunning interior... This is one of the most exciting interiors in Britain.

It was an appallingly difficult problem and it defeated them. They tried to give it interest by using dozens of different materials and textures, and by setting some lengths of wall at different angles to the others. It hasn’t worked. Nonetheless the boring exterior is a small price to pay for the stunning interior.

constant movement crossing at different angles and levels. I think it is unlikely that the now little-known drawings of such Futurist architects as Sant Elia influenced this work, but English picturesque theory almost certainly did, if not consciously then unconsciously, so deeply embedded is it in our minds. The three side roads go off from the hub at different levels and at different angles, and each of them curves, making it impossible to see their ends, enticing us to explore, just as the Georgian landscape architects enticed visitors to explore their gardens. At Cabot Circus, wherever we look, our eyes take us on journeys through its immensely complex space. This is one of the most exciting interiors in Britain.

Unlike the scruffy Broadmead, with its clutter of stalls selling cheap takeaways and its littered and grease-stained pavements, at Cabot Circus the glass roofshells are always immaculately clean, and the spotless malls and huge multi-storey car park are discreetly supervised by security personnel day and night. The exterior, however, is dreadful. Stores don’t want windows because they need the walls for display, and they only want shop fronts if enough window-shoppers pass by to make them worthwhile. Here there are scarcely any people passing on foot but thousands driving heedlessly past in their cars. So the architects had to design a quarter of a mile of four-storey blank wall.

At the same time as all this was going on, the Bristol firm of Alec French Architects had to re-design Quakers’ Friars. They retained the beautiful old buildings in the centre and the single magnificent plane tree, they converted the old Friends’ Meeting House into a restaurant, and they replaced the rubbishy buildings around them with shops and cafés with flats above. This dreadful old car park has become what many people consider to be the most enjoyable urban space in the city. So, as I said unavailingly 40 years ago, people do prefer shopping under cover, and they do love eating and drinking in the sun.

RWA magazine

Autumn 2012

39

Inside the artist’s studio There is a sense of quiet euphoria when I arrive at Emma Dibben’s breezy studio on a grey Tuesday morning. A resident Jamaica Street Artist, she has been flat out for weeks preparing for the Stokes Croft collective’s annual Open Studios. All smiles after another successful event, the Bristol-based illustrator is now looking forward to a relaxing summer in an open-air studio: her friend’s farm in Spain.

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RWA magazine Autumn 2012

Emma Dibben “I can imagine in the midday heat just picking a few things and having a few hours drawing,” says Emma, glowing expectantly at the thought. This sabbatical will see her and her boyfriend WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) in Portugal before spending a few months farm-sitting in Spain. Since leaving Falmouth College of Art in 2004, Emma has barely stopped. Just six months after graduating, she got her first commission from Waitrose – working first for their Food Illustrated magazine, before moving on to design packaging for the Waitrose Essentials range. You may recognise her inky gouache renderings of fruit and vegetables from your breakfast juice carton. “It’s funny on a recycling day, to see your work lying in the gutter… that always makes me laugh.” Emma, a nature-lover and keen experimental cook, has since built an enviable client portfolio, including commissions for The Guardian, Condé Nast Traveller and BBC’s CountryFile. But, she tells me, decisions about which work to take up are carefully considered. “Clients are important to me, I think about their ethics; there are people I wouldn’t work with.”

Emma’s studio is rather like a country kitchen with the earthy tones of its decor and charming, higgledy-piggledy arrangement of its overflowing storage. Although on the second floor of the four-storey building, it is away from the main thoroughfare, “I like my space because it’s tucked away, so you can have a little bit of quiet.” While she works, she sometimes likes to listen to music or Gardener’s Question Time. But what is it like working among the 42 other resident artists? “JSA totally changed things for me,” says Emma. “You see people joining the studios and their careers just taking off, it really does help massively. People informally mentor each other. It’s great to have so many people around that I can get advice from”. Before being accepted, she was illustrating from her bedroom in between two bar jobs. So she’s especially grateful for where she now finds herself – a beautiful room with a wide-open view looking out toward Cotham. She remembers, “It can be really isolating if you have to just work from home on your own, unless you’ve got a good studio set up that’s quite removed from your living space”. When she tells me about her allotment, which she lovingly

tends to in any free time she gets I imagine Emma being very at home with Peter Rabbit in the pages of a Beatrix Potter book: “We have a little garden, a garden of our own. And every day we water there the seeds that we have sown.” It was a gift from friends when she moved to Bristol to help her settle into city life. “When I came here I was really missing Cornwall and being by the sea, and just trying to readjust to being back in a city. Then my friends gave me this as a birthday present, and it just spiralled from there.” Somewhat surprisingly though, Emma, who strikes me as a very peaceful soul, is actually a city girl, hailing from Sheffield. “Rather than having a rural background it’s more about being out in nature,” she explains, telling me how her parents used to take the family on long walks in the nearby countryside of the Peak District. “It’s one of my favourite, favourite places.” But Emma is quite smitten by the West Country and Dorset too, and hopes to enjoy a gentler pace of life there one day. “I do always think I’d like to get some land somewhere and move to the countryside. I think this summer will be good – just spending a month in the middle of nowhere, living off the land

and drawing. I think it will be a good test to see if I’d really like to do that.” Although Emma’s art is not restricted to food – it has ranged from French street scenes to scientific imaginings of sea creatures – it is a theme she’d like to continue while travelling. “But,” she adds, “I’m thinking I’ll concentrate on more work that I’d like to exhibit,” explaining that there’s a big difference between that and work she is commissioned to do. Although often still inspired by the natural world, she likes to use totally different mediums, particularly oils and mixed media. She is delighted by the varieties of plants she grows on her allotment as she enjoys drawing fruits and vegetables best when they’re in season. Recently, she’s been nurturing chioggia, an Italian beetroot made of concentric red and white rings which are believed to be formed each full moon. Happily, she now has the opportunity to go in search of even more exotic roots. “For the first time, because I’ve normally always had regular commissions, I’m just really free to do whatever, which is really nice and I’m quite enjoying it… it’s really exciting.” For more on Emma Dibben, her illustrations and flourishing allotment, visit www.emmadibben.com To read about Jamaica Street Artists, see www. jamaicastreetartists.co.uk

RWA magazine

Autumn 2012

41

TOP

art b ooks

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Having indulged the guilty pleasure of PostSecret.com for several years – a community art project allowing people to anonymously share secrets on a postcard – I was thrilled to receive this glorious hardback. Professional artists, it seems, have been doing something

similar since the early 1900s. Only in the last 20 years though, despite the abundance of electronic communication options, has it become so popular. Exploring mostly contemporary postcards and their bewildering array of uses from aesthetic collage to confessional to advertising, the book reveals as much about the time they were made as the artists who created them. As well as being a gorgeous collection of postcards, this compendium offers up plenty of controversy. There is sex, manipulation and overt political agenda on show – Robert Richardson’s The Tory Answer is No (1986) postcard would be tough to misconstrue. Others, meanwhile, make a play of social commentary. Michael Leigh’s Wanted and Swaps (2004) for instance, hashes up a rainbow of classified

ads to humorous effect. The most powerful however are bare statements of image. Photographer Wolfgang Tillmans’ Victoria Line (2000) is a stunning example – he captures mood immaculately with his image of a downcast man clinging to the handrail of a packed Tube train. Jeremy Cooper, at one point relays young London artist Andy Parker’s musings on the appeal of the postcard: “By accepting the postcard as a creative ground, I am liberated to use it how I wish. That is perhaps why I find them so enjoyable to work with, and refer to them in my head as ‘sketchbook works’ – not because they are unimportant but because they have a freedom to them.” This book, in any case, is bound to liberate your notions of picture postcard clichés. Hannah Stuart-Leach

// BOOK

// BOOK

// BOOK

50 American Artists You Should Know Debra N. Mancoff

Turner Monet Twombly Jeremy Lewison

Fra Angelico Laurence Kanter

It is fascinating, through this book, to be able to trace the evolution of painterly language from the early 19th Century through to the earliest 21st Century. Turner burst through a defined model of representation, exploring the possibility of paint to convey the power of light. Monet pushed deep into the chromatic and gestural variety which Impressionism offered. Finally Twombly engaged in an art of painterly expression exploiting the freedoms of Modernism. Darren Tanner

A crucial element in the genius of Fra Angelico’s work is that he managed to combine the earthy vitality of his great innovative contemporary Masaccio with the sense of transcendence which was inherent in earlier forms of Christian art. His work glows with the inner light equivalent to a Byzantine mosaic yet is contrasted with a firm grasp of the material world. DT

Foyles at Cabot Circus

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Banksy Myths and Legends Marc Leverton

2 Banksy The Bristol Legacy Paul Gough

Freud: 3 Lucian Painting People Martin Gayford

Da Vinci 4 Leonardo Frank Zollner Yorkshire 5 ASketchbook

// BOOK Artist’s Postcards: A Compendium Jeremy Cooper

344pp: Reaktion Books Ltd., 2012 ISBN 978 1 861 898 524

David Hockney

Things to 6 101 Learn in Art School Kit White

Da Vinci 7 Leonardo Anatomist Martin Clayton and Ron Philo

Blackadder 8 Elizabeth Phil Long Prints 9 Picasso Vollard Suite

Stephen Coppel

10 Russian Revolutionary Posters David King

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RWA magazine Autumn 2012

157pp: Prestel Publishing Ltd., 2010 ISBN 978 3 791 344 119

For anyone who saw Bristol City Museum’s Raw Materials: Four American Artists: 1972 to 2007, this book is a timely follow-up. None of the featured artists is actually in it, but it makes an accessible handbook to the US art scene since the 18th Century. What the title lacks in cutting-edge design, it makes up in readability. To accompany the succinct introductions to each artist – who range from king of quiet urbanity, Edward Hopper to mistress of disguise, Cindy Sherman – there is a biography and a timeline to place their work in historical context. HS-L

272pp: Tate Publishing, 2012 ISBN13 978 1 849 760 126

288pp: Yale University Press, 2005 ISBN 978 0 300 111 408

// Reviews

// BOOK Laura Knight: in the open air Elizabeth Knowles 128pp: Sansom & Co Ltd., 2012 ISBN 978 1 906 593 650

Dame Laura Knight was a great celebrity in her time and she remains among the best-loved of British plein air landscape painters. Interest in her work is now gaining momentum and this newly published book offers an exciting prelude to the forthcoming 2015

retrospective, planned for the Dulwich Art Gallery. Her long exhibiting career included a number of prestigious commissions as well as painting the defendants in the Nuremberg war trials. But it was the beautiful panoramas of English farmland in the Malverns which inspired her golden years. This lavishly illustrated book beautifully depicts those blue remembered hills and includes paintings made in her early days at Staithes on the Yorkshire coast, at Laren in rural Holland, and in the far west of Cornwall. The wide range of her oeuvre is also illustrated with examples from the theatre, ballet and the circus. Greg Reitschlin

// BOOK The Survival of an Artist: Alex Williams Liz Hodgkinson 176pp: Quartet Books Limited, 2012 ISBN 978 0 704 372 634

Alex Williams has achieved that rare accolade of a painter whose commercial success has not interfered with his reputation as one of this country’s most significant modern artists. Williams’ work is bought by private collectors, public galleries, while his cards

and pottery reproductions have made him one of the top-selling graphic artists at National Trust outlets throughout the UK. Despite his success and fame, his personal story remains a fascinating tale of struggle, heartbreak and amazing risks. With the artist’s full cooperation, Daily Mail journalist Liz Hodgkinson has penned a startlingly fresh and candid text – unusual for a profusely illustrated art book. The real story of the origins of the Hay Festival (Williams was the creator of Hay on Wye’s insignia) is finally told and is worth the purchase price alone. GR

// BOOK

// BOOK

// BOOK

// BOOK

Interviews with Artists 1966-2012 Michael Peppiatt

Mary Fedden Christopher Andreae

Herbert Brandl Florian Steininger, and Ingried Brugger (eds.)

Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye Angela Lampe, Clement Cheroux (eds.)

256pp: Yale University Press ISBN: 978 0 300 176 629

This is a wonderful collection of interviews with a variety of well known artists such as Auerbach and Tàpies, and also fascinating interviews with less well known artists such as Dado and Zoran Music. My favourites are the interviews with Sean Scully which are both profound and revealing. This book is perfect for both practicing artists looking for inspiration or for those who are intrigued by the creative process. DT

176pp: Lund Humphries Publishers, 2007 ISBN: 978 0 853 319 535

Mary Fedden, who died very recently, took the drastic innovations of early 20th Century Modernism – which at its most extreme could be described as a violence to form – and turned those innovations into something profoundly intimate and humane. Her works are very popular, as the number of greeting cards bearing her work testify, but that no way negates the depth of feeling and intelligence displayed by her works. DT

200pp: Hatje Cantz, 2012 ISBN: 978 3 775 732 802

Brandl’s gestural smears of paint build on the influence of Gerhard Richter. But whereas Richter’s work can have an ascetic chill produced in part through the intellectualism of his artistic “strategies”, Brandl’s work by contrast has a depth of feeling and warmth garnered by a willingness to engage deeply in painterly improvisations which recall the paint handling of great artists like Titian and Velázquez. DT

320pp: Tate Publishing, 2012 ISBN13: 978 1 849 760 584

Now that the media hysteria has died down over the £74 million recently paid for a version of Munch’s The Scream, this book allows us a closer look at Munch’s oeuvre. As an artist, he delved into the depths of the human psyche and attempted to find a pictorial equivalent for what he discovered there. Beyond The Scream’s deserved iconic status there lay a complex and singular artistic vision. DT

RWA magazine

Autumn 2012

43

// Gallery review

Artist Ruth Piper is a little afraid of horses but loves watching Westerns. John Ford’s classic film The Searchers gave her the concept for a new commercial gallery project. While watching a re-run of The Searchers one Saturday afternoon, she realised that all artists are conducting a search.

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1 Midnight Trifle 2011 // Melanie Russell 2 History of the 19th Century Vol 1 // Alex Korzer-Robinson 3 Leaving there too soon // Maggie Royle 4 Wet casements // Brendan Lancaster

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RWA magazine Autumn 2012

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The Searchers Contemporary gallery project Obsessive by nature, the artist travels through unmapped territories and investigates new frontiers looking for fresh insights and new configurations. The Searchers Contemporary gallery was formed out of a desire to increase the visibility and public access to contemporary art and celebrate its diversity. Although Bristol is known for its excellent animators, illustrators and street art and has hosted some innovative conceptual art projects a number of studio artists with growing reputations quietly producing exciting, considered and engaging work remain hidden from view. Ruth’s experience as a successful practicing artist, marketing her own work, organising exhibitions and events, collaborating with designers and running several small creative businesses, provides a firm foundation for the project. She brings knowledge and understanding of both artists and buyers and ways of bringing the two together. The Searchers will celebrate and promote collectable art across all art forms in particular the exciting possibilities and constant reinvention of painting. The gallery will work with and support artists who are exploring the boundaries of their chosen medium and introduce new art from Bristol, the South West and London to a wider public through curated exhibitions, open submission shows and events. The Searchers aim is to encourage and develop a deeper knowledge, understanding

and love of contemporary art. Good art can stop you in your tracks or gradually work its way into your heart and be both familiar and strange at the same time. Good art is not completely knowable but makes you feel alive and wanting more. It can change your life and make you happy every day. To begin with, The Searchers Contemporary will be a roaming gallery with a programme of four exhibitions. Their first resting place and launch opens on 7 September at Centrespace Gallery bringing together ten artists, who either live and work in Bristol or have strong connections in the city. Nine painters and one book sculptor have in common an ability to transform their ideas and experiences into objects of desire.

Objects of Desire Anne Adamson, Stephen Buckeridge, Michael Hayter, Brendan Lancaster, Robert Lang, Midge Naylor, Alexander Korzer-Robinson, Maggie Royle, Melanie Russell, Jess Woodrow 7 – 19 September 2012 Preview: Friday 7 September 6.30 – 9pm Open: 11 – 5pm Mon – Sat Centrespace Gallery 6 Leonard Lane, Bristol BS1 1EA For further information or a preview invitation please join The Searchers mailing list on the website or contact: Ruth Piper 07711 541 852 ruth@thesearcherscontemporary.com

Proud sponsor of the RWA’s Unnatural Natural History exhibition IOP Publishing provides publications through which leading-edge scientific research is distributed worldwide. IOP Publishing is an international company with a head office in Bristol and is committed to supporting local initiatives and organisations such as the RWA. ioppublishing.org

Image: “Crimson” by Jessica Joslin

R

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RWA magazine

Autumn 2012

45

Texture & colour_Layout 1 11/07/2012 10:27 Page 3

maRtIn BentHam RWa TEXTURE & COLOUR

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ROyaL WEST Of EngLand aCadEmy 3 -11 OCTOBER 2012 9.30am - 5.30pm mon. - Sat. & 11am-5pm Sundays

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Etchings & EnamEls

Arts Space 18 christmas steps, Bristol Bs1 5Bs 0117 316 9421 9-20 October 2012 | mon - sat 11-6 Xanadu

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www.anngover.co.uk | ann.gover@virgin.net

Friends Annual Membership C0 M10 Y0 K50

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RWA magazine

Autumn 2012

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Academicians’ news 48

RWA magazine Autumn 2012

Past President Derek Balmer PPRWA will be showing in a major solo exhibition of new paintings at the Catto Gallery, London: 6 – 25 September coinciding with the publication of a new monograph, A Singular Vision which includes a memoir by Derek Balmer, an interview with Andrew Lambirth and an essay by ACH Smith. For more information see www.sansomandcompany.co.uk Martin Bentham RWA’s solo exhibition runs at the RWA from 3 – 11 October. See exhibition pages for more information. In July Vice-President Peter Ford RWA was invited to take part in selection and prize-awarding for the 2012 Kraków International Print Triennial where two large mixed-media paper works by Peter will be shown as part of the main exhibition. He has also had recent success in August with a three-dimensional version of his woodcut series Message from China shown at Bankside Gallery near Tate Britain, London, as part of the Royal Society of PainterPrintmakers’ first International Print Exhibition. He will also be attending the opening of his retrospective exhibition at the Shou Hai Gallery, near Tianjin, North East China. His solo exhibition Chance and Choice II will show at the RWA from the 12 September to 2 October. See exhibition pages for more information. New Academician Andrew Hardwick RWA will be returning to St Ives School of Painting as a guest tutor with The Texture of the Landscape encouraging students to find new ways to explore different landscape. 12 October for 3 days, £220. For more information contact www. stivesartschool.co.uk Janette Kerr PRWA exhibits at Somerset Art Week’s Open Studios presenting “paintings and drawings and things made…thoughts, images and space surfacing from land and sea...hands moving / flowing, hesitant...fast time / slow time ...connections, rejections, and the possibilities of tensions in between, of small shifts and revisions...forwards / backwards...to not know the

gate until you run up against it...slipping through.” Kerr will be showing at Cheese Yard Studios, West Horrington, nr Wells, Somerset BA5 3ED, from 15 to 30 September. For more info see www.janettekerr.co.uk Margaret Lovell RWA has recently been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters at Leicester University for her ‘distinguished contribution to sculpture’. Margaret is a Fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors. For more information visit www.margaretlovell.co.uk Lucy Willis RWA will be exhibiting Paintings from the Arab World as part of Somerset Art Week’s Open Studios 15 – 30 September. From 1990 – 2010 Lucy Willis has painted in many Arab countries. To raise money for the British Red Cross in Syria she is opening her studio and exhibiting paintings, drawings and prints from more peaceful times in Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia and Syria. Exhibition open 2pm – 5pm weekends, Tuesdays and Thursdays, Moorland House, Burrowbridge, Near Bridgwater, Somerset TA7 0RG t: 01823 698 200 www.somersetartworks.org.uk Obituaries Mary Fedden OBE, RA, RWA 1915 – 2012 Mary was one of the RWA’s most longstanding Academicians, having been a member since the mid-1930s. Despite moving to London she maintained close links with, and made many contributions to, the RWA including her years served as President (1984 – 1989) and the regular showings of her work – belle peintures that continue to be admired and to give pleasure. Chair of the Board of Trustees, Professor Kevin Thompson writes: ‘As President of the Royal West of England Academy in the 1980s, Mary was an inspiration and totemic presence. We are indebted to her.’ To commemorate Mary’s legacy as President of the RWA the Academy named a gallery after her. In 2011, the retrospective exhibition Celebration drew on a lifetime

of work from the 1950s to the present day celebrating Fedden’s favourite motifs: still life, flowers, animals and landscape, work that has inspired many prints. Fedden trained at the Slade School of Art and was the first woman to teach painting at the Royal College of Art; David Hockney was one of her pupils. She was married to the English Surrealist artist and printmaker, Julian Trevelyan. RWA President, Dr Janette Kerr recalls: ‘Mary continued to be a prolific painter, and made work well into her nineties. Both as a teacher and a painter, Mary has been generous with her time and energy, and inspirational to us all at the RWA. She will be sadly missed.’ Francis Hewlett RWA, 1930 – 2012 A wonderful draughtsman and an accomplished artist, Francis started out as a student at the West of England College of Art and then, the Slade and Ecole des Beaux Arts. Returning to the West later in life, he became Head of the Painting School at Falmouth School of Art. His diverse range of works have been exhibited at the V&A, Whitechapel Gallery, the RWA, Browse and Darby Gallery and toured many Welsh galleries as a member of the Gregynog Arts Fellowship. Not only was he a talented artist, but he was a kind and generous man. Francis will be dearly missed by all his many friends and admirers. Robert Organ RWA Introducing our new Academicians Each year the Academy elects new artists to its membership body creating an evolving entity of new talent. 2012 sees the introduction of a further six new members, featured below: Nicola Bealing RWA studied painting at the Byam Shaw School of Art in London and now lives in Cornwall. Having grown up in Malaysia, she retains an indelible passion for travel which has sometimes fed indirectly into her work. Her recent paintings focus on an

exploration of herd mentality and demonstrate a fascination with multitudes and repetitive conglomerations of objects. Exhibiting regularly, her work is held in numerous collections, including Unilever, Prudential plc, Deutsche Bank and Jerwood. www.nicolabealing.co.uk Dr Iain Biggs RWA works as an artist/teacher/researcher and has lived in Bristol since 1987. He is currently an Associate Professor in Visual Arts Practice and the Director of the PLaCE Research Centre at UWE, Bristol. He is also the editor and owner of Wild Conversations Press, which specialises in producing collaborative artists’ bookworks; a founder and coconvenor of LAND2 (a national network of landscape artists working in Higher Education); and a founding co-convenor of the international Mapping Spectral Traces network. Since 1999 Iain has made site specific ‘deep mappings’, and periodically returns to making wall and / or floor-based work as in a recent work – Terra Incognita (all grass is flesh) with, and for, Anna Boulton Biggs (2011). www.land2.uwe. ac.uk/ibiggs.htm Andrew Hardwick’s RWA work is landscape based and looks at strange wilderness zones, both those seemingly natural and those man made. His paintings play with and subvert traditional ideas of landscape painting and the sublime. The images look at edgeland zones around big industrial ports, their massive car storage compounds, redundant factories and polluted waste lands. No image in Hardwick’s work is left untouched by the notion of change, memory, history and emotion, often the landscapes story and history is purposely unclear. Hardwick’s images remind us that we are just another layer in time. www.axisweb.org/seCVPG. aspx?ARTISTID=16087 Tim Harrisson RWA has for the last 30 years worked directly with landscape. “An experience of landscape for me is about seeing what I call the root. That is the landscape stripped bare, with its essential physical qualities of structure

and material revealed.” He has exhibited extensively in the UK and abroad. He has also completed several important commissions: including Granite Sculpture II for Southampton Airport 1995, Reflection for Epsom College 2000 and Pegasus for the Chatsworth Estate 2001. In 2010 Sounding, which he carved from a single piece of Welsh bog oak, was permanently installed in the crypt in Winchester Cathedral. www.timharrisson.com In recent years Sax Impey’s RWA work has centred on experiences at sea, sailing long distance yacht deliveries. The exhibition Sea, for example, derived from a transatlantic passage, Voyage from a journey from Australia to Singapore, and Storm from severe conditions encountered in the Irish Sea. “… drawing upon his lived experience of the sea not simply to ‘tell’ us about it, or even to ‘show’ it to us, but rather to create images at once physical and abstract; images which have enough body to make us feel but also enough light, space and unknowingness to make us think” (Owen Sheers 2011). His work is held in public collections including Arts Council Collection, Warwick University and The Connaught Hotel. www.saximpey.com Lisa Wright RWA trained in the classical tradition at the Royal Academy Schools and is grounded in the daily discipline of drawing and emotional engagement with her subject. Wright’s large and ambitious paintings have mined the intriguing and distinctly autobiographical theme of her own children’s childhood with an acute and unsentimental directness. In more recent years her work has represented the ‘universal’ child and the physiological independence that begins to surface in the liminal state of puberty. Wright is a lecturer in Fine Art at University College Falmouth and she is represented by Beardsmore Gallery, London and Millennium Gallery, Cornwall. Wright is the chairman of the judging panel for The National Open Art Competition 2012. www.lisawrightartist.co.uk

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For all artwork on paper, an appropriate framing solution can be vital and in the hands of an experienced adviser the finished job will exceed your expectations. All you need to do is make informed decisions at the beginning. Whether you have a watercolour, an etching or silkscreen print, a pen or pencil drawing or other work on any type of paper, the first thing to consider is the level of conservation your artwork deserves. The work itself can sometimes dictate this – if it is valuable or could potentially become valuable, then the highest level of conservation should be chosen. For works on paper this means ‘museum’ or cotton fibre mount board, both in front and behind the artwork, archival backing board and the best UV barrier glazing.

Budget – visually pleasing but no long-term protection Minimum – putting economy first. The professional framer will only recommend the top three categories. Membership of the Fine Art Trade Guild is a good indicator that your framer will “know his or her stuff”, so look out for their logo and ask if they are a Guild Commended Framer, indicating a recognised professional level of knowledge, the ability to advise, and a high level of skill.

Once you are aware of the principles of conservation framing you will always be able to make considered decisions and suggest to your framer which level of materials you would like to use.

The board that you choose is probably the most important decision: it’s the only thing in direct contact with your artwork so unless you are using archival backing board, it is also advisable to use the same board as a barrier board behind your picture. Mount board comes in two basic types, made from either wood pulp or cotton fibre, the latter is also sometimes called rag or museum board being completely inert and the only thing you should use on valuable artwork. Wood pulp boards come in high specification conservation varieties. Alphacellulose are the best, having been purified chemically to make them permanently ph neutral. All companies who make mount board have a basic conservation range. It is what any good framer would recommend for limited edition prints and items of medium value, and should also be the minimum acceptable quality for any artwork or photograph. Non-conservation mount boards go gradually yellowy-brown or even dark brown in the bevel edge of the window as the bleached wood pulp returns over time to its natural state. As it darkens it is also getting more and more acidic; this acidity eventually bleeds into the artwork making a brown line on the edge of the bevel and sometimes a general yellowness behind the mount. It usually also makes the paper very dry and brittle. The only way to reverse this damage is to send

Caring for on paper Even if it is only a poster or cheap print it is still advisable to ask for conservation mount board, as cheap standard mount board is only suitable for short-term temporary presentation. The Fine Art Trade Guild has a number of recognised levels of framing: Museum – the ultimate long-term protection Conservation – preserves artwork for your lifetime and future generations Commended – guarantees a degree of protection but takes cost more into consideration

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RWA magazine Autumn 2012

Once you are aware of the principles of conservation framing you will always be able to make considered decisions and suggest to your framer which level of materials you would like to use. At its most simple this means that all of the materials should be conservation quality and assembly techniques used must be reversible, so any piece of artwork framed by whatever method can be deconstructed or taken apart back to the original artwork without damaging it.

your artwork to a paper conservator for restoration, a process that can make a serious dent in your wallet, but highly recommended if such damage is present. Conservation mount boards have only really became available and widely used in the last 15 years, so have a look at your pictures over 10 years old and make an assessment of their condition. If the bevels on the edge of the window look brown then upgrade the mounts; if you are extremely lucky then someone may have chosen cotton rag board in the past,

which has been around in the form of museum board for over 50 years. Museum and conservation mount boards also come in extra-thick options and a variety of subtle colours, which can enhance the design and presentation element in your framing. If you don’t have a barrier board under your paper, artwork might be in direct contact with the backing board, which in most cases means hardboard (on older frames) or MDF on more recent. This accelerates ‘acid ageing’ more than standard cheap mount board as it very rapidly makes paper go brown from behind often within a few years. Make sure that a barrier board will be used, or an archival backing board such as Corricor mark 4.

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1

Over the last ten years specialist glass has become more and more widely used. There are many varieties, the best is normally referred to as ‘museum glass’ – this is usually ‘water white’ and has an optical coating to reduce reflection when viewed square on as well as UV filtering properties to the highest level (usually around 98%). This obviously comes at a price, but it is possible to get UV barrier alone for much less and very pure ‘water white’ or matt surface reduced reflection for only a little more than plain float glass. Each one has its own merits and it is worth considering the pros and cons of each.

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artwork

4

Mike Ogden

– a guide to help you make the right decisions for framing your next work 5

The frame is the one component which doesn’t generally need to have a conservation aspect but can present an opportunity to introduce some creativity and relevant design elements. Good presentation, whether simple or highly creative, can elevate an artwork and help you to appreciate it even more. If you have for example a hand printed image such as an etching or a silk-screen print on paper with a deckled edge, then a box frame with the whole sheet of paper floating off the surface of the mount board is one such enhancement.

1 creative box frame for a collection of old Ordnance Survey maps 2 cotton fibre museum mount boards

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4 silk screen print float mounted in box frame 5 watercolour badly damaged by nonconservation mount

3 artist’s letter 6 left: ordinary of provenance float glass and old gallery right: reduced labelling reflection glass displayed on reverse RWA magazine

Autumn 2012

51

Artful Cuisine

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An exclusive Directory of places to enjoy brunch, lunch or dinner – all within a short walk of the RWA. 9 4

 ourmet G Burger Kitchen

74 Park Street, Bristol BS1 5JX t: 0117 316 9162 Gourmet Burger Kitchen is all about the burger. We use the freshest ingredients and have created classic and innovative taste combinations to make the ‘best burgers in town’. Everything we serve is fresh and made to order, so if you want to make the burger your own just choose your favourites from the menu and we’ll do the rest. Our burgers are at the heart of everything we do, made and served by our fun loving staff.

2 4 6 3

5 7

1

8

2

The Lido

Oakfield Place, Clifton Bristol BS8 2BJ t: 0117 933 9530 www.lidobristol.com Every day 12 – 3pm and 6.30 – 10pm (closed Sunday evenings)

British

Fish

Gastro Pub

Italian

Japanese

Mediterranean

Korean

To advertise please call Angharad Redman on 0117 906 7608 or email angharad.redman@rwa.org.uk

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RWA magazine Autumn 2012

The Lido is a veritable oasis tucked within a courtyard of Georgian terraces in the backstreets of Clifton. The Lido restaurant is located on the first floor with sliding glass doors affording fantastic views of the 24m outdoor heated pool and period changing cubicles. The food style is Mediterranean with the focus being on the provenance of the ingredients.

3

Noa

2 Waterloo Street, Clifton BS8 4BT t: 0117 973 2881 e: bookings@noajapanese.co.uk www.noajapanese.co.uk Lunch Mon to Sat 12 – 3pm Dinner Mon to Sun 6 – 11pm Contemporary and traditional washoku cuisine where fresh ingredients are seared to seal natural flavours. Starters include a traditional miso made from the finest nutritious soya beans to a wakame (seaweed) salad. Light and crispy tempura, tonkatsu, harumaki; sashimi, cut and served in different ways; all garnished with our range of vegetables and seaweed. Our skilled chef can create mouth-watering sushi delicacies complemented by a choice of side dishes.

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Papadeli

84 Alma Road, Clifton Bristol BS8 2DJ and Café @ RWA info@papadeli.co.uk t: 0117 973 6569 9.30am – 5pm Mon to Sat and 11am – 5pm on Sundays Papadeli make “legendary” cakes, superbly creative salads and light lunches. Our Café @ RWA is a unique place to meet for mouthwatering food in gorgeous surroundings. All the food is made at its ‘mothership’ – deli, café and catering service, just round the corner on Alma Road. “The nicest piece of lemon polenta cake that I have ever had. Great atmosphere, nice staff and wi-fi. It really is good!”

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 rimrose P Café

1 – 2 Boyces Ave, Clifton Bristol Bs8 4AA t: 0117 946 6577 www.primrosecafe.co.uk Daily from 9am – 5pm (9.30am – 3pm Sun) Tues to Fri tapas from 6pm Tues to Sat evenings from 7pm The ideal place to watch the world go by. Al fresco eating, breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner all using sustainable, locally-sourced ingredients. Twenty years under the same ownership and a Bristol institution.

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 he T Richmond

33 Gordon Road, Clifton Bristol BS8 1AW t: 0117 923 7542 e: richmondpubandkitchen @gmail.com The Richmond offers a wide range of classic British cuisine with a distinctly modern twist. Food and drinks served in the warm and comfortable surroundings of a traditional British pub, with two open fires and a relaxed, friendly ambience. Offering free room hire for small or large bookings, the Richmond has the facilities to completely cater for all your needs.

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Rosemarino

1 York Place, Clifton BS8 1AH t:0117 973 6677 www.rosemarino.co.uk Open seven days a week from 9am Dinner Wed to Sat from 6pm Bristol good food award 2012 winners for both best Italian and best breakfast, Rosemarino is the place to enjoy fresh, unfussy, sensibly priced food in a light and relaxed atmosphere. Alongside our extensive all day breakfast menu, the lunch and dinner menus are based on satisfying regional Italian specialities using the freshest ingredients around.

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Surakhan

52 Park Row, Clifton Bristol BS1 5LH t: 0117 929 0806 e: touedu@yahoo.co.uk Korean food is very different to Japanese, Chinese and Thai cuisine; made with a variety of fresh vegetables and natural seasonings, a minimum amount of oil and no dairy products it is a very low fat / low calorie option bursting with delicious flavours. In Korea the king’s table is known as the ‘Sura’ and ‘Khan’ is the Mongolian word for King; and so ‘Surakhan’ represents ‘a king’s meal’. At Surakhan we endeavour to provide every guest with a meal fit for a king.

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?

You may have noticed some changes going on at what used to be Bistro La Barrique - so we are writing to let you know that Zazu’s Kitchen is bringing its quirky décor, quality food and friendly atmosphere to Gloucester Road from May 17th. You can look forward to our usual fantastic breakfasts, wonderful lunches, and sublime suppers, together with a brand new tapas menu, and a delightful selection of wines, beers, ciders, and spirits, all of which can also be enjoyed on our heated cosy terrace. We are child and grand-parent friendly, and all those in between, so please come and join us to raise a glass to the new Zazu’s Kitchen.

 azu’s Z Kitchen

225 Gloucester Road Zazu x Bishopston 225 Gloucester Road Bishopston Bristol BS7 8NR twitter @zazuskitchen225 Bristol info@zazuskitchen.co.uk 0117 944 55 00 www.zazuskitchen.co.uk BS7 8NR t: 0117 944 5500 e: info@zazuskitchen.co.uk Enjoy our fantastic breakfasts, wonderful lunches and sublime suppers, together with a brand new tapas menu and a delightful selection of wines, beers, ciders, and spirits, all of which can also be enjoyed on our heated cosy terrace. We’re child and grandparent friendly and all those in between.

JANE CARTNEY ART�STUDIO & Gallery

by Appointment

SUBTLY STRIKING QUIETLY SHOUTING INTANGIBLY DEFINED EVOCATIVELY STARK AUDIBLY SHINING CLEVERLY SIMPLE DRAMATICALLY CALM UNASSUMINGLY BOLD WWW.WIRESKY.CO.UK

Tel: 01934 418198 www.janecartneyfineart.co.uk we are designers, listeners, thinkers.

www.courtyardgallery.org 54

RWA magazine Autumn 2012

picandmix The first event held in April was a great success: along with viewing some inspirational art, everyone enjoyed the chance to listen to artists talk in depth about their work in a relaxed and informal environment.

We are holding the next picandmix on 29th September 2012. Numbers are limited, so please reserve your place now by emailing tina@courtyardgallery.org For news of the artists taking part and and other updates: Follow us on twitter: @CourtydGallery or facebook: courtyardgallerybristol

COURTYARDgallery

delight your senses with a fresh taste of art

// Listings Antlers Gallery 6 Philadelphia Street Quakers Friars, Cabot Circus, Bristol BS1 3BZ t: 07780 503 180 e: jack@antlersgallery.com www.antlersgallery.com facebook.com/

Arnolfini 16 Narrow Quay Bristol BS1 4QA t: 0117 917 2300 e: boxoffice@arnolfini.org.uk Tue – Sun 11am – 6pm Until 9 September Olivia Plender: Rise Early and Be Industrious Colourful stage-like sets invite investigation; playful interaction. 6 Oct 2012 – 6 Jan 2013 Matti Braun: Gost Log A selection of key works from the last fifteen years.

Art On The Hill – The Windmill Hill and Victoria Park Arts Trail Sat 6 – Sun 7 Oct 12 – 6pm Free admission to all venues 90 artists exhibiting / performing; art workshops; events; choral / orchestral concert. Map and full details of venues in brochure (available Sept) and on website. Thurs 4 Oct 6pm – late Launch party Motorcade / FlashParade, The artspace at BV Studios, Philip St BS3 4EA Weds 19 Sept 7.30pm Prelude: Art Auction to benefit a local charity Victoria Park Pub, Raymend Rd BS3 4QW Contact: www.artonthehill.org.uk e: esteph42br@yahoo.co.uk

The Art Room 8a The Strand Topsham EX3 OJB e: theartroom@eclipse.co.uk theartroomtopsham.co.uk Sat, Sun & Weds 11am – 5pm 26 Aug – 23 Sept Robert Hurdle Hon RWA Early work – 1939 to late 1970s 7 Oct – 4 Nov Robert Organ A year in Penzance – recent paintings

Arts Space 18 Christmas Steps Bristol BS1 5BS t:0117 316 9421 www.anngover.co.uk e: ann.gover@virgin.net Mon – Sat 11am – 6pm 9 – 20 Oct 2012

Ann Gover: Etchings & Enamels

Bath Contemporary 35 Gay Street Bath BA1 2NT t: 01225 461230 e: gallery@ bathcontemporary.com www.bathcontemporary. com Mon – Fri 10am – 5.30pm Sat 10am – 5pm 8 – 30 Sept Ben Kelly work looking at interaction within the fabric of landscape and people, presenting attractive and thoughtprovoking narratives. 2 – 30 Nov Neil Pinkett with Ceramics by Susan Leyland Pinkett revisits favourite cities inc. Bath with a new perspective – from the air by hot air balloon and helicopter capturing the essence of places from an unfamiliar angle. Neil’s work is complemented by the equine sculptures of Susan Leyland.

bo.lee Gallery 1 Queen Street, Bath BA1 1HE t: 01225 428 211 m: 07970 492 858 e: jemma@bo-lee.co.uk www.bo-lee.co.uk Mon – Sat 10.30am – 5.30pm (during exhibitions) 5 Sept – 6 Oct Nocturne: Rose Sanderson and Patrick Haines PV Saturday 3 Sept 6 – 8pm RSVP for catalogue and price list.

R E Bucheli Fine Art-Frames Albion House 12A Broad Street, Bristol BS1 2HL t: 0117 929 7747 m: 07726 300 709 e: gallery@rebucheli.co.uk Tues – Fri 10am – 5.30pm 07 – 22 Sept Cliff Hanley Pictures Scottish artist’s latest exhibition. Nov 8 – 5 Jan 2013 Selective Exhibition Christmas Show

Open Submissions from October 16 until 30 Courtyard Gallery 4.22 Paintworks Bath Road, Bristol BS4 3EH t: 0797 721 9037 e: tina@courtyardgallery.org www.courtyardgallery.org Open by appointment,

Tuesday – Saturday Picandmix Evenings: The next picandmix evening is on 29 September, limited numbers. Reserve your place: email tina@ courtyardgallery.org For news of the artists taking part – follow us on twitter: @CourtydGallery or facebook: courtyardgallerybristol

Diana Porter Contemporary Jewellery 33 Park Street Bristol BS1 5NH t: 0117 909 0225 www.dianaporter.co.uk 1 – 28 Sept 2012 New Designers 2012 Showcasing the work of four inspiring graduate designers; this intriguing exhibition focuses on textures, textiles and techniques that push the boundaries in jewellery design. Featuring the work of: Sara Gunn, Carrie Dickens, Elizabeth Armour and Rebecca Onyett. Diana Porter Contemporary Jewellery also showcases the work of top UK and International jewellery designers as well as Diana Porter’s full collection.

Gallery Pangolin 9 Chalford Ind. Estate Chalford, Glos. t: 01453 889 765 e: gallery@pangolineditions.com www.gallery-pangolin.com Mon – Fri 10am – 6pm Sat 10am – 1pm 15 Oct – 23 Nov Hands On: Terence Coventry A solo show including work from three decades, tracing the development of Coventry’s themes and preoccupations from 1984 to date. A new, fully-illustrated book with text by Tom Flynn will accompany the exhibition. 1 – 21 December Christmas Cracker! After a break our popular Christmas Cracker! exhibition returns.

The Holburne Museum Great Pulteney Street Bath BA2 4DB t: 01225 388 569 e: Holburne@bath.ac.uk Mon – Sat 10am – 5pm Sun & Bank Holidays 11am – 5pm 27 Oct 2012 to 6 Jan 2013 Secret Splendour:

the hidden world of Baroque cabinets £6.50 / concessions Casting new light on some of the most magnificent and expensive furniture ever produced. Made from a wide variety of rare and exotic materials cabinetson-stands were one of the great status symbols of the 17th Century. This dazzling array of cabinets from the V&A, Corsham Court and the Holburne are displayed fully open to enable visitors to see their extraordinary interiors.

Innocent Fine Art 7a Boyces Avenue Clifton Bristol BS8 4AA t. 0117 973 2614 e. enquiries@ innocentfineart.co.uk www.innocentfineart.co.uk Tue – Sat 10am – 5.30pm Sun 11.30am – 4pm 14 – 30 Sept Vintage Blake An exhibition to celebrate Peter Blake’s 80th birthday year. Late Oct – Nov An exhibition of paintings by Carl Melegari

Jane Cartney Art Studio & Gallery rear of 80 Regent Street Weston-super-Mare BS23 1SR t: 01934 418 198 m: 07779 178 736 e: artist@ janecartneyfineart.co.uk Viewings welcome by appointment Jane Cartney: Paintings An exhibition of recent framed work from the studio of Scottish-West Country colouristexpressionist. Inspired by – architecture, cows, sheep. Limited edition prints. Portrait commissions.

Lime Tree Gallery 84 Hotwell Road Bristol BS8 4UB t: 0117 929 2527 www.limetreegallery.com Tues – Sat 10am – 5pm 15 Sept – 10 Oct All About Light A two person exhibition featuring new work by Ceri Auckland-Davies and Marion Drummond.

Martins Gallery Imperial House, Montpellier Parade Cheltenham Gloucestershire GL50 1UA t: 01242 526 044

e: ian@martinsgallery.co.uk Wed – Sat 11am – 6pm any other time by arrangement 21 Sep – 13 Oct The Dobunni Painters Valerie Batchelor, Doug Eaton, Robert Goldsmith, Jane Lampard, Andy Le Poidevin and Michael Long from the South West. Predominately landscapes but with interestingly different styles. 20 Oct – 10 Nov The Best Of… The Best of… Ben Blethyn, and the late Michael B Edwards. A different take on Urban Art, shown with the master of light, dappled or reflected, usually on, or in combination with water. 17 Nov – 15 Dec West Cornwall Revisited Featuring amongst others Terry Frost, Rose Hilton, Mary Stork, John Wells, Fred Yates, Barrie Bray, Robert Jones, Myles Oxenford, Lynette Pierce.

New Leaf Gallery 19 Church Street Monmouth NP25 3BX t: 01600 714 527 e: info@newleafgallery.co.uk Mon – Sat 10am – 5pm admission free 15 Sept – 13 Oct Tom Dewhurst Paintings

Rainmaker 123 Coldharbour Road Redland Bristol BS6 7SN t: 0117 944 3101 e: jo@rainmakerart.co.uk Tues – Fri 9.30am – 5.30pm Sat 10am – 5pm Native American Indian Art and Jewellery

Royal West of England Academy Queen’s Road Clifton Bristol BS8 1PX t: 0117 973 5129 e: info@rwa.org.uk www.rwa.org.uk Mon – Sat 9.30am – 5.30pm Sun 11am – 5pm 3 – 11 October Martin Bentham RWA: Texture & Colour

The Searchers Contemporary A new roaming gallery project led by Ruth Piper Centrespace Gallery 6 Leonard Lane Bristol BS1 1EA t: 07711 541 852 e: ruth@thesearchers contemporary.com www.centrespacegallery.com

Artful quotations Freud, when asked why he had chosen the Chardin (at the National Gallery) as his subject replied: “It’s the most interestingly painted ear in the National Gallery.”

“You can’t just think of colour. You have to see it in a context. This is why colours in stones and rocks have both a chemical and spectral reality. In nature there is rightness to colour and form.”

Waddesdon Manor 2012

Rungwe Kingdon

exhibition notes

Mon – Sat 11am – 5pm Closed Sundays 7 – 19 Sept Objects of Desire Our first exhibition and launch: exhibiting the work of 10 artists from Bristol and London.

St George’s Bristol Concert Hall Great George Street Off Park Street Bristol BS1 5RR t: 0845 402 4001 www.stgeorgesbristol. co.uk/art-galleries Various opening times 4 Sep – 23 Dec Artists Connect A rotating exhibition of sublime artwork inspired by the natural and manmade world. 8 Sep – 10 Oct Lisa Richards A remarkable showcase of intricate and truly amazing paper cut art. 12 Oct – 11 Nov Charles Kinsey Stunning (and well travelled) wildlife photography. 12 Nov – 23 Dec Ivana Švabic Cannon: Rhythm & Line Disarming abstract linocuts, at once ascetic and opulent.

Victoria Art Gallery By Pulteney Bridge Bath BA2 4AT t: 01225 477 233 www.victoriagal.org.uk Tues – Sat 10am – 5pm Sun 1.30 – 5pm. Closed Mondays. Free Admission 8 Sept– 18 Nov The Radev Collection: Pissarro to Picasso and Philip Bouchard: Bath Sky Diaries

View Art Gallery 159 – 161 Hotwell Road Bristol BS8 4RY t: 05603 116 753 e: sarah@viewartgallery.co.uk www.viewartgallery.co.uk Wed – Sat 11am – 6pm Sun 12 – 4pm or by appointment 13 Sept – 11 Nov Sight of Sound exploring how music and sound influences the visual arts – and vice versa. Showcases a diverse group of artwork by 11 artists centred round this intriguing theme.

Chosen by Jilly Cobbe “…sometimes we enter art to hide within it. It is where we can go to save ourselves, where a third-person voice protects us.”

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

Pablo Picasso

Michael Ondaatje

RWA magazine

Autumn 2012

55

Writer, poet, photographer, art critic, curator… which pursuit have you found most satisfying? I do whatever seems most relevant to me at the time. The important writers in the English tradition, particularly the poets, divide into two tribes. The professionals – Dryden, Pope, Tennyson, Browning – and those who led complex lives and wrote poems with the left

hand: Donne, Marvell, Herbert, the scapegrace Earl of Rochester. I’m quite a good administrator and organiser, so I don’t mind devoting part of my time to that, especially if it benefits other creative personalities. However, I have a resistance to bureaucratic structures and the pressures of received opinion, so I prefer to do that kind of thing independently.

Back Chat Mike Whitton

Edward Lucie-Smith What drew you in to being involved with the Bermondsey Project Space? In a rather typical way for me – I was asked to curate the annual Bow Arts Trust show in 2010. A warehouse space had just become available in Bermondsey – one administered by Crisis, the big national charity for the homeless. I got on well with the people who ran it – so they asked me if I’d like to continue my involvement. In curating Polemically Small you have taken a stand against what you have called ‘the outmoded rhetoric of size’. What have you got against ‘big art’? ‘Big art’ is almost inevitably public art funded by the state. It often doesn’t have enough to say, in relation to its overweening size. ‘Small art’ requires a different kind of contemplation: you can focus on what it is trying to say to you, buy it, live with it in an ordinary domestic space. Last year, with a group of colleagues, I did a Polemically Small show for the Torrance Art Museum in South Los Angeles. It featured work by 88 young British artists, all on paper less than A3+ and unframed; probably the biggest show of contemporary British art, in terms of numbers of artists, ever presented in California. The total transportation cost was around $600. The British Council flirted with the idea

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RWA magazine Autumn 2012

but in the end refused to help. I’m afraid my reaction was ‘F*** you, baby – we can do it on our own!’ And we did. Of the artists, writers and poets you have met, who would you say was the most extraordinary? I like some famous artists and writers when I meet them – or sometimes not. When they are already very celebrated, it is pretty certainly too late to form a real personal connection. You can admire what someone does, but not like them at all personally. I often pity the very famous for being seemingly trapped by their own celebrity. Those artists, quite a number nowadays, who set out to be shamans, quasi-religious figures, don’t have my respect. To put it bluntly, I think they are solipsistic frauds. Given the easy availability of pornography on the Internet, what is the role of erotic art in the modern world? The erotic impulse is fundamental to art. It’s not going to go away. The Internet is not going to make any difference. No doubt Stone Age puritans complained about the easy availability of pictures of people screwing that were to be found on the walls of their caves. What exhibition have you recently visited that you have found particularly impressive? I thought the Leonardo show

born 1933 demonstrated that he was a classic non-deliverer where paintings were concerned – nothing, except perhaps for the two big altarpieces, was completely carried through. I didn’t like the Hockney show at the RA – I thought the big landscapes crude and garish – ‘colourful’, yes, but not in the right way. If you want a real colourist, look at Bonnard. I quite liked the Freud show at the NPG – but there was a curious lack of real empathy with his subjects. He seemed most at home with people whose physical appearance was slightly weird, like the performance artist Leigh Bowery or Big Sue the Benefit Supervisor. The Hirst show at Tate Modern demonstrated that Hirst is a man of very few ideas – after the first room, it was the same things over and over: spot paintings, things in glazed cabinets, dead animals in tanks of formaldehyde. Some of the ideas weren’t even original to him. I own a little table made around 1900, with a top that has a pattern of butterfly wings under glass. Hang that top on the wall and you could easily mistake it for a Hirst. To my surprise I did admire the Hirst paintings recently shown at White Cube in Bermondsey – the ones that all the posh reviewers denounced so violently. They showed that he had made an intelligent study of early Cubism, and also of aspects of Cézanne (who was

berated in his own time for being crude and clumsy). I also very much liked the show we gave to the late Dave Pearson at the Bermondsey Project – the ambitious multi-panel ‘Byzantium’ paintings most of all. Not all good art has to be small. I feel that Pearson was a genuine, slightly eccentric genius, on a level with, but not at all like, Spencer. What major change would you like to see in the world of contemporary art? We need a revolution of some sort. The avant-garde has been kidnapped by officialdom. Too many circuses, and not enough bread. The condescending populism of the current regime means that I’d love to see a few tumbrils making their way to a guillotine set up in front of Tate Modern. Tracey Emin as MarieAntoinette? If you could meet any great artist from the past, who would that be, and why? Caravaggio – violent, probably smelly, tough to communicate with because of my very limited Italian. Essentially he set out to change the existing way of seeing the world. What’s not to like?

Polemically Small: Orleans House, Richmond upon Thames, until 23 September

P J

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A Bigger Wave

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// Peter Ford

‘Dog With Flying Ears’ Limited Edition Print by Michael Ogden

Kit Williams issue

& Gallery

ISSN 2044-2653

Sky Blue Framing

RE RWA

‘Morph’ in extra deep box

// Velázquez // Andrew Wyeth // Edward Lucie-Smith

NATIONAL FRAMING AWARD WINNER

Silk Screen print float mounted in box frame

Oil on panel with shadow gap Ordnance Survey maps in conservation box frame

What sets Sky Blue apart from other framers is our enthusiasm to design creative solutions which both enhance and preserve artworks and 3D objects. • • •

Conservation and museum level mountboards Hand coloured moulding specialist Speciality glass upgrades available including UV Barrier, Water White, Reduced Reflection etc

Kit Williams: a divergent vision

Free advice and friendly prices

// Peter Ford RE RWA

// Velázquez

// Andrew Wyeth

BackChat // Edward Lucie-Smith

Autumn 2012

EASY PARKING NEAR WAITROSE

Our Autumn exhibition in the gallery features brand new Roald Dahl/Quentin Blake limited edition prints, alongside our favourite gallery artists such as John Knapp-Fisher and Susie Brooks. New work by gallery owner Michael Ogden will also be featured, plus a new range of locally-made designer jewellery.

10 Autumn 2012

Sky Blue Framing 27 North View Westbury Park Bristol BS6 7PT Tel: 0117 9733995

10

NEW!


ART magazine - Autumn 2012