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

‘Trees’

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Small is Beautiful – Academician Artworks for Sale

Small is beautiful, a little exhibition currently taking place in the Papadeli Café at the RWA could just as easily by called Hidden Treasures because that is exactly what is contained in this show. Academicians have offered small works for sale, at very special prices in order to help the RWA with its fundraising.
Stewart Geddes Sparnon

Stewart Geddes Sparnon

Amongst the works available there are must-have seascapes by RWA President Janette Kerr, a couple of beautiful little paintings by Stewart Geddes, Christopher Shurrock’s exquisite understated drawings, miniscule canvases of hedgerows by Fiona Robinson and subtle line drawings by Lawrence Nash. There are original prints by Peter Ford, Sarah Van Niekerk, Denny Long and Bronwen Bradshaw. So many delights to choose from and the works were walking off the walls almost before they had finished hanging the show.  Now the secret is out these modestly priced little gems will be selling like hotcakes.

Cafe Sale

Cafe Sale

Academicians' works

Academicians’ works

Academicians' works

Academicians’ works

Detailed Print

Detailed Print

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

What’s on for Families this Half Term

Tree Tales with Rosie Faragher
Tuesday 17 February 3pm – 5.30pm
£10 per child
Suitable for children aged between 7 and 12, accompanied by an adult.
Book online here

1415624664_20141110130424_9052096485460b7d885a914_36232137_845343211_811335827_l

Join Bristol-based author-illustrator Rosie Faragher for an afternoon of drawing, storymaking and storytelling, in response to the Arboretum exhibition, including (weather allowing!) a walk on nearby Brandon Hill to find inspiration amongst the tree.

1415630679_20141110144439_12306655345460cf57a78152_84987956_584512537_811335827_l

SuperTrees! Family Screenprint Workshop with Simon Tozer
Wednesday 18 February 10:30 – 12:30
Suitable for Children aged 5+, accompanied by an adult.
£10 per child
Book online here 

Trees are among the most magical and awe-inspiring life forms in nature. Every tree supports a myriad of other life forms such as plants, insects, birds and mammals for whom it provides food and shelter.

In this workshop we will celebrate both the tree and tree dwellers by making fabulous poster-size screen prints of trees and the creatures that live in them. Perhaps there will be space in the tree for us, perhaps space for our own tree house high up among the branches.

Christine Howes Wildlife Print Image 1

Butterflies and Bees – Buzzing in the Meadow. Print Workshop with Christine Howes
Wednesday 18 February 2-4pm
£10 per child
Suitable for children aged between 7 – 12, accompanied by an adult. 
Book online here 

From bees, dragonflies and butterflies to a meadow buzzing with insects of your creation! Come and print your handmade printing blocks with an Artist printmaker.

DSC_0561

Giant, Fuzzy Needle Felting, with Uncanny Creations
Wednesday 18 February
Choose a session: 11am-12.30pm, 1pm-2.30pm or 3pm-4.30pm
Suitable for children aged 5+
£5 per child
Book online here 

Learn how to make fantastic 2D Creatures where the only limit is your imagination. We will teach you the techniques and skills you need to create pieces for our giant fuzzy felt board. Needle Felting is a very easy and quick process using a stabbing motion which binds all the fibres together till flat and smooth.

Beau Street Hoard image

The Beau Street Hoard Roadshow!
Thursday 19 February 11am – 4pm (drop-in) Illustrated Talk at 2pm
Suitable for all ages
Free with exhibition entry
Come and discover the Beau Street Hoard, a unique find of 17,577 silver Roman coins uncovered by archaeologists in Beau Street, Bath.

Animal mask image

Wildlife Mask-making with the Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project
Saturday 21 February 10.30am – 4pm
Avon Gorge Wildlife talk at 2pm
Free with exhibition entry

Come and create your own wildlife mask, choosing from a range of designs, including peregrines, butterflies, badgers and the Bristol Onion (a wild flower that only grows in the Avon Gorge and nowhere else in the UK!)

At 2pm Mandy Leivers will also be delivering a short talk about the wildlife of the Avon Gorge and Downs.

Ian Wade Squirrel image (1280x960)

Wildlife Photography Workshop, with Ian Wade
Saturday 28 February 10.30am – 1pm
£10
Suitable for children aged 7 +, accompanied by an adult.
Book online here

Join award winning photographer Ian Wade for a look around the British Wildlife Photography Awards exhibition, followed by a ramble on nearby Brandon Hill, where you will have the opportunity to take snaps of the natural environment, under Ian’s expert guidance.

Beginners welcomed. Please bring a digital camera – be that a camera phone, a compact or a digital SLR.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Get Drawing – Drawn 2015 submissions for entry

There’s only a month and a half to go until Drawn 2015 submissions close and the RWA are encouraging artists from all over the country to inspire us with their drawn works.

Drawn Call for Entries

Why Submit?

  • For emerging artists, the exhibition offers the chance to show in a leading gallery alongside established artists
  • Selected artists will have an opportunity to raise their profile by having their work to be viewed by leading critics as well as the public
  • The accompanying exhibition of 20th Century drawings means your work may be view alongside some of the great names of British art – Burra, Frink, Hepworth, Hockney, Piper, Spencer and many more

    The prizes:

  • Theresa Knowles Travel Bursary offers a bursary of £1500 to an artist to enable them to spend time in Italy making work.
  • RWA Artist Residency Award provides studio space at the RWA for one week and a small materials bursary.
  • 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.
  • Bristol Fine Art Award for Work on Paper – independent art supplier Bristol Fine Art are awarding a prize of one Windsor and Newton Severn Easel (worth £75) and a £75 voucher to spend in-store on art materials.

Bristol Fine Art Logo 002 BDS_logo

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Half Term at the RWA

FEBRUARY HALF-TERM

Rosie Faragher image

Tree Tales!

With Rosie Faragher

Tuesday 17 February

3pm – 5.30pm / £10 per child

Suitable for children aged between 7 and 12

Join Bristol-based author-illustrator Rosie Faragher for an afternoon of drawing, storymaking and storytelling, in response to the Arboretum exhibition, including (weather allowing!) a walk on nearby Brandon Hill to find inspiration amongst the trees…

Back at the RWA we will enjoy a hot drink and snack to help warm us up, before Rosie reads some stories, including some of her own wonderful creations.

Christine Howes Wildlife Print Image 1

Print day at RWA!

Wednesday 18 February

Two printmaking workshops for children of all ages, inspired by the theme of nature and wildlife, explored in our current exhibitions.

SuperTrees!

Family screen print workshop with Simon Tozer

10.30am – 12.30pm / £10 per child

Suitable for aged 5 upwards

Trees are among the most magical and awe-inspiring life forms in nature.  Every tree supports a myriad of other life forms such as plants, insects, birds and mammals for whom it provides food and shelter.

In this workshop we will celebrate both the tree and tree dwellers by making fabulous poster-size screen prints of trees and the creatures that live in them.  Perhaps there will be space in the tree for us, perhaps space for our own tree house high up among the branches.

Christine Howes Wildlife Print Image 1

Butterflies and Bees – Buzzing in the Meadow

with Christine Howes

2 – 4pm / £10 per child

Suitable for 7 – 12 yrs.

From Bees, Dragonflies and Butterflies to a Meadow Buzzing with insects of your creation! Come and print your handmade printing blocks with an Artist printmaker.

Christine Howes has designed many art activities for BBC Wildlife Magazine.

Beau Street Hoard image

The Beau Street Hoard Roadshow!

Thursday 19 February

11am – 4pm (drop-in) / Free with exhibition entry

Come and discover the Beau Street Hoard, a unique find of 17,577 silver Roman coins uncovered by archaeologists in Beau Street, Bath.

  • Learn about the Hoard and its discovery
  • Handle coins from the Hoard
  • Take part in fun hands-on activities
  • Strike your own coin!
  • Illustrated talk at 2:00 pm

DSC_0561

Giant, Fuzzy Needle Felting, with Uncanny Creations 

Friday 20 February

Choose a session: 11am-12.30pm, 1pm-2.30pm or 3pm-4.30pm / £5 per child

Suitable for children aged 5+

In our workshop you will learn how to make fantastic 2D Creatures where the only limit is your imagination. We will teach you the techniques and skills you need to create pieces for our giant fuzzy felt board. Needle Felting is a very easy and quick process using a stabbing motion which binds all the fibres together till flat and smooth.

Uncanny Creations is a Bristol based company dedicated to introducing people of all ages and abilities to needle felting.

Come and join us!

Animal mask image

Wildlife mask-making with the Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project

Saturday 21 February

10.30am – 4pm

Free with exhibition entry

Suitable for all ages

Come and create your own wildlife mask, choosing from a range of designs, including peregrines, butterflies, badgers and the Bristol Onion (a wild flower that only grows in the Avon Gorge and nowhere else in the UK!)

At 2pm Mandy Leivers will also be delivering a short talk about the wildlife of the Avon Gorge and Downs

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Meet the Curator – Tim Craven on Arboretum

We chat to Tim Craven from Southampton City Art Gallery who curated the stunning Arboretum exhibition (on display at the RWA until 8 March) about his inspiration behind the show.

I first had the idea to form a group of artists who used the tree as subject in 2011 following a joint show at Gallery Lefort in Bath with Abi Kremer in April. Soon after I asked Steve Marshall, Director of St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery in Lymington (New Forest) if he had ever staged a show on trees as he had seen my Bath show and liked it. He said no – what a great idea, and we co-curated with Dr Anne Anderson, a double exhibition Under the Greenwood: Picturing  British Trees: Past, (historic) July- October and Present  (contemporary which I curated solo) October-November 2013.

Under The Greenwood Exhibition Catalogue

Under The Greenwood Exhibition Catalogue

The show was a huge success and Present was shown again at The Gerald Moore Gallery in London in March 2014, again to great acclaim. I always knew that this was just the start for me and that we could stage more shows. I asked the artists (who I had found or knew already) if they wanted to show again and they all said yes  – I had my group, though it is not fixed but is always expanding and inclusive. The tree is such versatile subject and I wanted to include as many styles, media, scales, philosophies and art practices as possible, the single subject makes it coherent and it seems to work.

I want each exhibition to look different so we will always include local and venue relevant good tree artists to enrich the exhibition. The Arborealists are inclusive.

The RWA provided a perfect venue for the inaugural Arborealist exhibition, it is a fantastic space and its size gave us the opportunity to show some really large works and to show huge diversity in scale as well as idea and style. It is great also to be part of Bristol’s Green capital of Europe project. The tree is a symbol for many of the fragility of our natural environment, both Julian Perry and Kurt Jackson are well known for their ecological concerns.

15112015664_0bf529c807_z

Three Pollards, Julian Perry, oil on panel, 2004

 

Childhood Memories, Kurt Jackson RWA, oil on canvas

Childhood Memories, Kurt Jackson RWA, oil on canvas

If I had to choose a favourite piece, I love Dan Hays’s painting – it is mesmeric and shows extraordinary tonal control. That work could not have been painted a few years ago due to technology.

Suspension, Dan Hays, 2014, Oil on Linen

Suspension, Dan Hays, 2014, Oil on Linen

If I could have any work by any artist in the show…. well I am drawn to photorealism and technology related works but linked to romantic subjects like trees. It would have been good to have a David Hockney tree drawing.

Our next exhibition will be at Mottisfont Abbey, National Trust,in September – it will look different again with new work and some new artists. I am currently looking for more venues across the UK.

What’s coming up at Southampton City Art Gallery

We have a great forward programme at Southampton City Art Gallery, shortly we open Louise Bourgeois (Tate Artists Rooms), followed by a superb Dan Holdsworth photography exhibition and in the autumn we will stage a major show on Ben Johnson – the ultimate precision painter (of architectural subjects and urban vistas) his works now take 2 years to make, and he employs assistants and computer generated stencils which  are minute. Most of his work disappears into private collections and he is rarely seen in public galleries, the show will illustrate his entire career as an artist from expressive figure paintings to the fantastic architectural works that he produces now – not to be missed.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Twilight Tuesdays at the RWA

Man
The Creative Gym
Each week you will be guided through a range of fun, informal and unusual art-making activities by a range of experienced tutors. Absolute beginners welcome! Book onlinehere

Artist Professional Development Sessions 
A new series of Career Professional Development sessions which aim to offer support and advice to both emerging and more established visual artists, in a number of areas, from funding your creative practice to writing about yours and others’ artworks. These sessions will combine talks, presentations and discussion and will also provide an opportunity to meet fellow creative practitioners. Book online here.

Creative Writing

Taking place in the main gallery itself and rooted in the RWA’s exhibition, Arboretum, this course will encourage your writing to branch out into new and rewarding directions.

7 weeks £70 Students £50
Book now by phoning 0117 973 5129. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized