New Exhibitions Opening this Weekend

Into the Fields: The Newlyn School and Other Artists

20 June – 6 September 2015

A celebration of rural life featuring the world-famous Newlyn School artists.

Predominantly focusing on our of the region’s most notable artistic enclaves, Into the Fields also includes associated artists such as George Clausen and Henry La Thangue.  The RWA’s history includes a rich relationship with Newlyn, so it is fitting that the show includes RWA Academicians such as Dame Laura Knight, Stanhope Forbes and Thomas Cooper Gotch, as well as regular exhibitors including Walter Langley, ‘Lamorna’ Birch and Frank Gascoigne Heath.

Landscape Study, Henry La Thangue, oil on canvas, c.1889, Reproduced with kind permission by Rotherham Heritage Services

Landscape Study, Henry La Thangue, oil on canvas, c.1889, Reproduced with kind permission by Rotherham Heritage Services


Peter Randall-Page RWA and Kate MccGwire

20 June – 10 September 2015

Two internationally renowned British artists brought together to create an arresting exhibition. Featuring new work by both artists, the exhibition focuses on their use of  natural phenomena, patterns and repetition, utilising natural or found materials.

Kate MccGwire will be showing for the first time at the RWA following her successful show at the Venice Biennale. Her work will include the giant serpentine like Gyre, her largest work to date, alongside new work made especially for the exhibition here.

Peter Randall-Page RA RWA, is one of Britain’s pre-eminent sculptors – whose work is now held by numerous public collections including The British Museum, Tate and The British Council. We are delighted to be able to announce that Peter had been elected as Royal Academician in the category of sculpture. Exploring both two- and three-dimensional space the exhibition features new works, created specifically for the RWA’s stunning galleries.


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Fissure (detail), Kate MccGwire, Mixed media with goose feathers, Photo JP Bland © Kate MccGwire

Fissure (detail), Kate MccGwire, Mixed media with goose feathers, Photo JP Bland © Kate MccGwire


James Ravilious: Rural Life

20 June – 6 September 2015

James Ravilious’s, photographs are composed with the eye of an artist, capturing subtle qualities of light to reflect the rural life and landscapes of North Devon in the 1970’s and 80’s. Taken for the Beaford Archive, to which he contributed well over 70,000 images, his photographs reveal real life in the fields, farms, and villages, portraying a traditional countryside on the brink of change. What started as a short-term project grew into a seventeen year obsession, depicting all aspects of rural life with an absolute honesty with his warm and sympathetic eye. His work is in numerous public collections and has been widely exhibited.  Shortly before he died in 1999 he was given Honorary Membership of the Royal Photographic Society in recognition of his contribution to photography.

Bill Hammond Thatching a Rick, Westacott, Riddlecombe, Devon, 1986, James Ravillious for the Beaford Archive

Bill Hammond Thatching a Rick, Westacott, Riddlecombe, Devon, 1986, James Ravillious for the Beaford Archive

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The RWA is recruiting for a Head of Development!

Head of Development


The RWA is looking for a Head of Development to join its small, dedicated team of staff at an exciting time in the organisation’s development.

The role is to develop and implement an annual fundraising strategy to increase the RWA’s income.  A key activity will be to build relationships with the city’s businesses to achieve increased direct income from venue hire, sponsorship, AIYWP collection loans and ‘creative gym’ services, while also building overall audiences through engagement with employees and their families.

This post is initially funded through the Arts Council Resilience fund, and is a permanent full-time appointment.

For full details and how to apply, please download the job description here.

The closing date is noon on 3 June 2015.  Applications submitted after this time may not be considered.

Interviews will be held on Tuesday 9 June 2015

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Communicating art’s message By Jill Sutherland

Throughout history art has been created and understood as a means of expression and communication. What we think we know about the world, what we want the world to know about us, our anxieties, emotions and our innermost thoughts have manifested themselves in strange, complex, shocking and beautiful ways. Art is a vibrant, metamorphosing, sensitive language that directly speaks of our experiences within our surroundings; a perpetuating record of human existence. As technology constantly changes, so does our spatial awareness, our perception of time’s measurability, and our understanding of quantifiable existence.

Drawn highlights an intriguing and relevant moment in our age; the presence of technology in art.

Our daily lives are permeated by digital, mechanical and technological interaction and art continues to reflect such transitions. Drawn showcases ways in which technology is influencing the way we see, experience and create art.


Jason Lane’s Drawing Machine at the RWA


Upon entering the exhibition we are met with a strange implement of steampunk sensibility, a seemingly archaic contraption amidst the frame-lined walls of the gallery: Jason Lane’s drawing machine. Jason’s work engages with the influx of manmade technologies in the modern age designed to improve our standard of living, the materials that they are comprised of and waste, and the outputs they create.

A bicycle wheel, rubber bands and a needle-like pencil springing out from salvaged wood and metal, form the components of the structure. When switched on, the pencil whirs into motion, frantically skimming lines and dots across the page and the result is a delicately etched, abstract sphere – an echo of the machine’s movements and an ironic reproduction of the bicycle wheel sitting within. The inventions and appliances that constantly work to make our lives more convenient also produce outputs of their own, through sound, movement and vibrations. The drawing machine reminds us  of this as it emits an artwork through automation.

Can a machine have a soul? Do we consider the drawing machine’s output to be art? Is it the resultant sketch, the piece of paper, or in fact the whole machine that is the artwork? The drawing machine also brings into question the ever-present issue of what we constitute as art.

Rachel Ara's

Rachel Ara’s DOAM III (The Death of Ana Mendieta)

Rachel Ara’s presentation of a computer-optimised design also associates art with the machine.

Produced using CAD, a system used in commercial industries varying from architecture to engineering, to kitchen manufacturing, it could be considered a decisive snap-shot of the utilitarian design process. Stark and beautiful in its simplicity this crisp, photographic composition contrasts subtle tones, with highlight and shadow revealing the clean edges of the indentation. The cut-out void within the image could make this artwork a contemporary response to the idea of a ‘mark of the maker’ being present in an artwork, such as heavily-texured brushstrokes, a scribbled name, or pencil outlines visible beneath a painted surface might signify. In this case the tool has merged with its implementer, suggesting the final maker is a hybrid of both the computer and the artist.

Whether it be through style, medium or concept, Drawn is peppered with artworks that address the theme of human creativity amalgamating with technological concepts.

A floating candyfloss of black ink, ‘Retracing Your Steps – Bristol II’, is an example of Debbie Locke RWA’s use of fabricated drawing machines. Striving to ‘challenge the infallibility of machines’, many of Debbie’s works use GPS and other methods of mapping to produce artworks based on the tracking of movement.

Michael Falzoni - All We Ever Wanted

Michael Falzoni – All We Ever Wanted

 George Meyrick’s ‘Six Spaces (Blue EEA2)’, Paul Bradley’s ‘Tokyo Underground Encrypted’ and Michael Falzoni’s ‘All we ever wanted’, bring colourful symmetry, bold geometrics and detailed pattern, executed with perfect precision.

Satellite DSC14, Jonathan Byles, Cat No.73

Satellite DSC14, Jonathan Byles, Cat No.73


 Jonathan Bylesfuturistic landscape broaches current topics of fascination: space travel, the future of human settlements, the awe of technology to come, post-apocalyptic fantasy.


The Prophecy Restated David Smith


Scribbled handwriting morphs into indecipherable code in ‘The Prophecy Restated’ by David Smith and spoken sentences are printed, stretched and minimised to form an analogous flow of data in Fran Norton’s soundwave of words: ‘Mother and Child (16 years)’, merging basic human symbols with a machine-like aesthetic. What we initially grasp from the artworks at first glance changes when we look again, and when we consider what the art might be telling us.

Which leads me to one of the most arresting and striking artworks on display, Caroline Cesareo’s ‘Grand Fiasco Rouge’. On approaching, could it be a detailed oriental-inspired woodcut? Is it a contemporary homage to William Morris in red ink? No. It is a fluid, noisy, over-spilling mass of calamity. In an age of instant access to information, Cesareo’s stunning red sea of nonsensical forms exploits our impatient need to comprehend what we can see, fuelling the mind’s erratic search for reason. Leaving unanswered questions, the piece challenges what we expect from art. It speaks to those who want to understand art upon immediately viewing it, and teases those who attempt to look deeper, by offering no resolve through its lack of conformity to recognisable forms. What is the message here? Is there a solution hidden in its depths?

As with all artworks, the joy is in the search.

With thanks to Jill Sutherland guest blogger for the RWA.

Drawn is on until 8 June at the RWA


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RWA | The Royal West of England Academy | The Creative Gym!

Looking for an art class but too busy at work or college? Why not book on our creative gym evening classes as part of our special Twilight Tuesday late night gallery entry?Fun and lively art-making workshops for adults, to help you unwind after a busy day! Last season’s classes were very popular, including collage, embroidery and ink drawing and this term’s are no less diverse. Absolute beginners welcome.

Tuesday 5 May:  Making Mischief with Ros Cuthbert – Juan Miro, Jim Nutt, Gladys Nillson, Enrico Baj were artists who loved to play. In this two hour session, using paint and collage, we will see what mischievous images we can come up with!

Tuesday 12 May: Louise Block – Glass hangings – your opportunity to try working in a different medium! Make a small glass panel using brilliantly coloured glass pieces; also make a wonderful decorative piece using glass and Das (self hardening clay)

Book Online here

Tuesday 19 May: Louise Block – Handmade paper – make pictures with coloured paper pulp from recycled paper. Experiment with colour texture & pattern, Other things like flower petals or glitter can also be added.

Book Online here

Tuesday 26 May: Ellen Wilkinson – Fantastical Collage!

Use a multitude of materials to create a colourful collage to adorn the home.

Book online here

Tuesday 2 June: Anouk Mercier – Drawing Basics

Refresh and sharpen your drawing skills through a range of short drawing exercises using the RWA building for inspiration. Weather permitting we will enjoy drawing the view from the balcony in the evening sun!

Book online here 

via RWA | The Royal West of England Academy | The Creative Gym!.

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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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