Four artists launch 2012 programme

On Saturday we launched into 2012 with the preview of our new shows. Featuring four artists you’d never expect to see together, the exhibitions are a must for lovers of wildlife, sculpture, photography, music and history.


Sharing the first floor galleries are Ivor Abrahams RA and David Shepherd.

This major retrospective of Ivor Abrahams‘ work demonstrates the breadth of this talented artist, celebrating fifty years of sculpture. Highlights include the 12ft owl, the largest in Abrahams’ extensive series portraying strigiformes, as well as Hockney-esque prints of gardens, hedges and suburbs, and bronze sculptures with a hint of Henry Moore about them. Could the work of Ivor Abrahams be a contemporary attempt at cubism, as one of our Twitter followers suggested? Come with an open mind and a sense of humour.

David Shepherd is known for his wildlife paintings and conservation work. Dubbed the UK’s best-known painter, Shepherd shot to fame in the seventies, when his work was omnipresent, even gracing the walls of the Trotter family flat in ‘Only Fools and Horses’.  Now in his eighties and with a large body of work behind him, David’s appeal endures.


A Crazy Life of Steam and Elephants
features rare work, mainly taken from the walls of his own home specifically for this show. On seeing it in situ, David commented that his work has never looked so good as it does in the day-lit galleries of the RWA. David Shepherd: In Conversation takes place on Thursday 19 January, 6.30pm. Tickets are £10 – booking line: 0117 973 3171.

Completing the trio of animal-inspired artists is BBC Natural History Unit cameraman, Martyn Colbeck, whose black and white photographs of elephants can be viewed in the cafe gallery. Martyn Colbeck is a previous winner of the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year prize, and well-deserved – his work is breathtaking.

Queen guitarist Brian May has many strings to his bow. As well as his much-documented interest in astrology, the musician’s passion for photography led him to invent a stereoscope suitable for 3D viewing of a renowned series of images from the 1850s. A Village Lost and Found brings these images to life, so evocative “that one can almost smell the new-mown hay, and feel the warmth of the very sun that illuminated these scenes 150 years ago” (Roger Taylor, Professor of Photographic History, De Montfort University, Leicester)

Brian May will be introducing the exhibition and signing copies of the book ‘A Village Lost and Found’ on Thursday 26 January at 4pm.

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