We chat to Jo Baring – Curator for The Ingram Collection of Modern British and Contemporary Art

With the exhibition Drawing On… The Ingram Collection of Modern British and Contemporary Art attracting scores of visitors to the RWA this spring we chat to Jo Baring the Curator for The Ingram Collection.

Hi Jo

Can you tell us a little bit about your role at The Ingram Collection? 
I am the advisor to The Ingram Collection of Modern British & Contemporary Art. Having worked in the art world for nearly 15 years, most recently as a Director of Christie’s UK, I was well aware of Chris and The Ingram Collection. I’m absolutely delighted to work with Chris on The Collection. My favourite thing about advising for this collection is the complete variety – being the one of the largest privately owned, publicly exhibited art collections in the country, the sheer breadth of what we do is hugely exciting – from major loans to public institutions, through to supporting art projects featuring people in the criminal justice system, or youngsters.

Who are your favourite artists in The Ingram Collection?
The Ingram Collection contains nearly 650 works of art, ranging from traditional figurative paintings right through to film and installations. It’s hard for me to pick favourites! When I’m working on a loan from The Collection for exhibition, for example Eric Ravilious at The Dulwich Picture Gallery, I immerse myself in that artist  – and they become my current favourite. But it changes all the time! I particularly love sculpture, and I would pick out Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore as sculptors in The Ingram Collection whose work I find especially interesting.

If you could acquire one painting, money no object, what would it be?
It would be Edouard Manet’s Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe, at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. I studied it during my MA at the Courtauld and really believe it was a defining moment in the development of modernism.

Le déjeuner sur l'herbe - peint par Edouard MANET en 1863

Le déjeuner sur l’herbe – peint par Edouard MANET en 1863

Apart from Drawn and Drawing On… What is the last exhibition you saw and has affect your collecting policy/approach to the collection?
Chris and I try to see as many shows as possible. We are particularly drawn to young artists. I saw the Bloomberg New Contemporaries show at the ICA and bought two pieces for The Collection there. They are by a young artist called Miroslav Pomichal whom we saw first at his Wimbledon Fine Art degree show. His paintings were absolute stand outs. It’s very rewarding to get to know young artists and we try to support them as often as possible.

Is there a piece you particularly liked from the Drawn Exhibition if so what is it you like about that piece? 

Visiting the Drawn exhibition was so enjoyable, and you realise the depth of talent around. There were quite a few pieces I’d very happily have taken home with me! But I particularly liked Morning Breeze by Sally Mclaren – I loved the soft depiction of movement here. The artist has also managed to capture a feeling of calm and I would very happily live with this piece!




For Drawing On it would have to be the watercolours by Edward Burra. Burra is one of my favourite artists of the 20th Century – his artistic vision is unique and the importance and influence of his work cannot be overstated. His watercolours are some of the most significant pieces in The Ingram Collection.

What exciting things are happening with The Ingram Collection in the next 12 months?
My brief is to make The Ingram Collection as publicly accessible as possible. We currently have over 150 items from The Collection out on public display, at over 15 different locations around the Country. There are more exhibitions and loans planned for 2015 and 2016. We are planning some innovative loans and want to develop our work with young artistic talent and so called ‘outsider’ artists. Lots going on!

Where do you think Drawing is headed, what do you think it will look like in 10 years’ time?
Mel Gooding gave a very insightful speech when he opened the shows in March. He said that drawing is integral to the human condition – and you only have to look at way children pick up a crayon to see how important mark making is to us. The Ingram Collection contains many drawings – for example when buying a monumental sculpture we endeavour to buy the preparatory drawings for the piece, and the same for oil paintings and worked up watercolours. We recently visited The Royal Drawing School which does fantastic work with young artists and I certainly hope to see many more young people being encouraged to draw.

Mel Gooding speaking at the launch of Drawn

Mel Gooding speaking at the launch of Drawn

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What’s it like during changeover in the galleries

Drawn and Drawing On… The Ingram Collection of Modern British and Contemporary Art have been open for a few weeks now and are attracting glowing reviews from scores of visitors.

We take the opportunity to look back at what happened in the lead up to the show. During the installation one of our RWA Placement Curating Students documented the process:

And so we say goodbye to the exhibitions that have nourished us through winter days and through just a week, prepare the way for new work that will take us forward into Spring.

The last week has seen us denude the walls of all five upstairs galleries, gently taking down, wrapping and dispatching. Holes in the walls have been filled and sanded and the galleries have been re-painted as the sun streams into the empty spaces.

The Spring equinox is just a week away and works by artists will be handed in, selected, placed and hung.

Image courtesy of Jamie Dunn

Image courtesy of Jamie Dunn

Volunteers don their cotton gloves as hundreds of artworks all wrapped and crated start to arrive in trucks. Each has to be carefully unwrapped, all the special detail checked and carefully stacked ready for selection.


Excitement rises…a Drawing machine has arrived and strong assistance is needed to get it up all of the stairs to where other sculpture awaits selection in The Milner gallery which will become The Drawing Lab, a space for fun interactive exploration for the anything and everything of drawing.

The selection committee is seated and all 960 artworks are presented, marched past the keen eyes in their 20 seconds of fame or not. The concentration is terrific. The panel confer..first impressions count. The Yes and No piles expand equally and it takes a whole day to divide the artwork that’s been handed in. Alongside this, The Ingram Collection has arrived and is having its bubble wrap carefully removed. Each piece inspected and every tiny detail of the condition reported on. Then the fun bit as Curator and Director make the final decisions on placing. All this after months of research and careful planning.

Technicians now work furiously to hang both exhibitions and prepare The Drawing Lab. More volunteers come in to tidy up and floors are polished. The curator buries herself in a pile of interpretation printing and placing.

The galleries of the Royal West of England are magnificent with Art again. Welcome ‘Drawn’! Welcome to ‘The Ingram Collection’! Lets roll up our sleeves and get busy in The Drawing Lab. Here comes Spring. All that remains is for the public to enjoy the work.

Drawn, The Drawing Lab. The Ingram Collection.

RWA. 21st March- 7th June 2015

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Liverpool Biennial – Sir Peter Blake RWA: Everybody Razzle Dazzle

 Sir Peter Blake, Everybody Razzle Dazzle, 2015. Photo: Mark McNulty

April 2015 – December 2016

Liverpool Biennial, 14-18 NOW: the First World War Centenary Art Commissions and Tate Liverpool have commissioned one of the major figures of British pop art, Sir Peter Blake, to dazzle a Mersey Ferry in partnership with Merseytravel and National Museums Liverpool.

Sir Peter’s design entitled Everybody Razzle Dazzle covers the Mersey Ferry Snowdrop with a distinctive pattern in monochrome and colour, transforming the vessel into a moving artwork as it continues its service.

This is the third in the series of Dazzle Ship commissions and the first to be a working vessel. It follows Induction Chromatique à Double Fréquence pour l’Edmund Gardner Ship / Liverpool. Paris 2014 by Carlos Cruz-Diez on the Liverpool Waterfront, and Tobias Rehberger’s Dazzle Ship London on the River Thames.

Unlike other forms of camouflage, dazzle camouflage works not by concealing but by baffling the eye, making it difficult to estimate a target’s range, speed and direction. Realised in monochrome and colour, each ship’s dazzle pattern was unique in order to avoid making classes of ships instantly recognisable to enemy U-boats and aircraft.

As well as being a moving artwork, visitors who board the Snowdrop can learn more about the history of dazzle and the role that the Mersey Ferries took in the First World War in an on-board display curated by Merseyside Maritime Museum and Tate Liverpool. An integrated education programme underpins the project and includes a free digital resource with interactive activities for use in or outside the classroom.

Sir Peter Blake (b. 1932) is a leading figure in the development of British pop art and his work is synonymous with the use of imagery from modern culture, including comic books, consumer goods and advertisements.

You can see Everybody Razzle Dazzle for free from the waterfront or hop on board to explore the curated display. Share your photos with us using #DazzleFerry and visit our blog for exclusive behind-the-scenes content.

via Liverpool Biennial – The UK Biennial of Contemporary Art – Sir Peter Blake: Everybody Razzle Dazzle.

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Announcing The Drawn Prize-Winners

It’s quite a coup to get work accepted into our Open Submission Exhibitions and even more so for your work to be selected to win a prize!  The RWA are delighted to announce the winners for DRAWN 2015.

The Theresa Knowles Travel Bursary 

The Theresa Knowles Travel Bursary offers a bursary of £1500 to an artist to enable them to spend time in Italy making work. Artists are encouraged to explore new research opportunities and residencies as part of their travel and will be invited to share work from/inspired by their trip at the RWA.

Express Asphalt, St Philips, Ros Ford, Cat No.111

Winner: Express Asphalt, St Philips, Ros Ford, Cat No.111

RWA Artist Residency Award

The RWA Artist Residency Award provides studio space at the RWA for 1 week and a small materials bursary. The artist will be based in the Bristol Drawing School Studio which opens on to our stunning main galleries and will be invited to engage in our Learning and Participation Programme as part of the residency.

Carla Groppi After Atget (24) Parc de Seaux, Avril 7 h Matin 2

Winner: After Atget (24) Parc de Seaux, Avril 7 h Matin 2, Carla Groppi, Cat No. 136

Bristol Drawing School Scholarship for Students

The Bristol Drawing School award recipient will be awarded a one year scholarship enabling them to attend our weekly Life Drawing Drop-in classes for one year as part of our Bristol Drawing School programme.

Play Thing, Joy Smith, Cat No. 126

Winner: Play Thing, Joy Smith, Cat No. 126 

Bristol Creatives Prize

Bristol Creatives will be awarding an annual membership to a Bristol based artist. They provide support, advice and opportunities in addition to discounts on art materials and listing on their website.

Satellite DSC14, Jonathan Byles, Cat No.73

Winner: Satellite DSC14, Jonathan Byles, Cat No.73

Bristol Fine Art Award for Work on Paper

Independent art supplier Bristol Fine Art are awarding a prize of one Winsor and Newton Severn Easel (worth £75) and a voucher to spend in-store on art materials.

Sophy Thomas (detail)

Winner: Rain Dance, Sophy Thomas, Cat No.117

The RWA would like to thank the following prize sponsors for the kind donations and generous support.

Bristol Fine Art Logo 002    BDS logo Bristol Creatves

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Arboretum Artist – Julian Perry set to exhibit at the Venice Biennale

We chat to Arboretum artist Julian Perry on his latest success being displayed as part of The Venice Biennale this summer.


At the Venice Biennale  I will be showing in an exhibition titled “Vita Vitale” at the Palazzo Garzoni .

The Azerbaijani  cultural foundation have asked London based curators “Artwise” to curate a show of international artists addressing issues of environmental crisis and climate change. The show is supported by the I.U.C.N

Benacre Birch III

Benacre Birch III

Benacre and Covehithe are two places where costal erosion is at its most acute. Covehithe with it beautiful church (painted by John Piper) and Benacre with its precious wildlife are all threatened by erosion and worsening winter weather. I wanted to take the plight of these Suffolk locations to an international audience. Confronting visitors to the show with images that reflect the drama of what happens when you lose ten meters or more each year to the sea.

Trees at Benachre

Trees at Benachre

Trees at Benachre

Trees at Benachre

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Our Top Events during Drawn

The galleries are currently undergoing a transformation from  wooded canopy to modern contemporary drawing room. As we approach the opening of Drawn and Drawing On.. The Ingram Collection of Modern British and Contemporary Art we take a look at some of the highlights in the accompanying events calendar.

Join artist Laurie Lax for the unfurling of her new flags, temporarily hung in place of the usual RWA insignia! Laurie will be creating her designs in the Drawing Lab during the last week of March, as well as running drawing mornings and a flag-themed workshop at the beginning of June.Laurie graduated in Fine Art from Bath School of Art & Design 2010. She is based at BV Studios in Bristol and has completed several residencies in Ireland, Sweden, Lithuania and Cumbria. She has exhibited nationally in London, Bristol, Dundee, Folkestone, Canterbury and Chester and internationally in Germany, Ireland and Poland. She is the co-founder of the Sondryfolk and DFW collectives and was selected for the Jerwood Drawing Prize exhibition 2014.

Aisling Hedgecock was our ‘Invited Artist’ during the Annual Open Exhibition in 2013 and we’re pleased to welcome her back to the RWA as part of the Drawing Lab. Aisling uses her drawings to create 3D forms blurring the traditional boundaries between mediums. The Lab residency (10-12 April and 1-3 May) takes inspiration from Kurt Schwitters’Merzbau experiments, in which he constructed artworks which could be experienced as drawing, sculpture or architecture.

During the workshop you will be using card templates and drawing tools to build organic abstract forms inspired by Aisling’s own sculptures.

Images by Rosie Faragher

During her two day mini residency (26 May and 30 May) illustrator Rosie Faragher will be  doodling away in the Lab investigating the ways lines tell stories.
Join Rosie for a workshop on Saturday 30 May making narratives appear out of abstract drawings. You will be exploring the ways different lines and textures work together to make  stories and characters. All you’ll need is a pencil and your imagination!

Join HATCH for a drawing workshop that will test your powers of observation and imagination! Choose a picture postcard and write a description of it. Swap descriptions with another participant and then draw a postcard, based purely on their written description. Now, spot the difference…!

On the last day of the Drawn exhibition, artist Laurie Lax will be leading a flag-making workshop in the Drawing Lab aimed at all ages and abilities, inspired by her own fascination with the study of Vexillology (or flags!) Laurie will also be leading informal ‘drawing mornings’ during the first week of June (details to be announced soon).

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Arboretum The Art of Trees; the Aborealists and other Artists An overview by Michael Toseland


One simple word that evokes an inexplicable feeling of warmth within us. Perhaps because of our age old symbiosis of keeper of shelter and protector, of providing the very oxygen that sustains us, and the very surroundings that astound us with their beauty.

Maybe a personal view, but I can guarantee something is evoked within you at the sight of these ancient giants. My Yorkshire heritage is inexplicably awakened with the sight of a landscape in its natural state, something is stirred.

On entering this show, I’m sure that the urge for nature and the natural state of things will be touched upon in yourself.

When thought of, an imagine that we all instantly conjure up in our minds is a great vastness of green or for me personally my very first tree painting, a big brown trunk and a splodge of green paint on top straight from the nearest tube (no mixing needed).

This however is as much about the sensuality and texture of the forms they take as the actual subjects themselves.

The dominant feature being ‘Cloud’ a piece by Gareth Edwards central to the space and intriguingly linear, delicate and fragile.

Gareth Edwards 'Cloud'

Gareth Edwards ‘Cloud’

Highlighting the ever present conflict between man made and organic, elegant bare branches burst atop scaffolding beams. Rather a great comparison, a high flight of scaffolding is the ultimate man made tree house.

These are elegant and beautiful as well as holding a sense of the sinister.

The cynicism lies in our love/fear relationship with forestry and nature. The beauty of it and our fear of its power. Who hasn’t seen a horror film with some poor chap lost in a darkened creaking wood, seemingly never ending, solitary and terrifying.

The trees take on an alternate personality as soon as they shed their clothes. As the imposing Jeckel and Hyde characters that they are.

This polar of personalities is perfectly highlighted in Tim Craven’s Little Norton and Impton.

Tim Craven

Tim Craven  Little Norton and Impton

Scattered flat plane abstractions fill our eyes with texture as in the scattered bones of seasons past.

Twig collection by Fiona Hingston is a very interesting piece in relation to this thought.

Fiona hingston

Fiona Hingston

Are these twigs, or archaeological remains, you could be forgiven for thinking the latter.

It is interesting how something of such colour, such vibrancy and variation leads us to nine times out of ten favour the monochromatic.

This is highlighted in the beautifully delicate drawings of Celia de Serra

Ceilia de serra

Celia de Serra

Up rooted trees are avast with texture so much so that any colour would detract from the sheer beauty of it.

This is a show of details and the finite and this is where we find the sublime beauty of nature, in its complexity it offers more that we can see at a glance. Layer upon layer not to speak of the microbial that offer even more astounding complexity.

This is a narration of trees but more our relationship with them, the strange things we see in their form, our fear of the dark forest of unknowable monsters to our saviour on a rainy day when we forget our umbrella.

The complete subjectivity, elegance and sublime nature of these wonderous natural works of art.

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