The RWA as part of the Bristol Art Weekender

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Taking place over the bank holiday weekend of 2-5 MAY, the inaugural BRISTOL ART WEEKENDER will showcase Bristol as one of the most vibrant and flourishing centres for art in the UK.The Weekender’s FREE programme of performance, sound, video, film, painting and sculpture, reflects the richness of the visual arts in Bristol.

Here at the RWA we have scheduled an exclusive programme of events for the Bristol Art Weekender. 

The Power of the Sea: Making Waves in British Art – 1790 – 2014 From 5 April – 6 July 2014

Laurence - Setting Sun main 2

Detail from Waves Breaking on Shore, Sunset, Sydney Mortimer Lawrence 1894 • oil on canvas • 137.2 x 274.5 cm Southampton Cit Art Gallery

Open Saturday 3 May, 10am- 6pm, Sunday 4 May, 11am – 5pm  • Normally closed on Mondays but opening on Bank Holiday Monday, 5May, 11am-5pm  • Ticketed: Adult £5, Concessions £3.50 Monday 5 May will be Entry by Donation

‘From the sublime spectacle of crashing waves to the vast expanse of the oceans, the sea has long fascinated artists in Britain. The Power of the Sea showcases responses to the subject by internationally-renowned contemporary artists alongside key historical works ranging from Constable and Turner to Nash and Wadsworth.’


Hatch Experimental Drawing

Saturday 2pm – 5pm, Sunday 11am – 5pm  • Free with Exhibition Entry

HATCH seeks an engagement around drawing in its many aspects: process and outcome, traditional and experimental, manual and mechanical, universal and deeply personal. We invite varied approaches – from those that encompass transcriptions of the known world to ephemeral interpretation and invention that endeavour to bridge us into the unknowable.’

HATCH will be leading drop-in activities around the Gallery for all to take part in – no experience necessary

The Greenhouse; A special Scribble and Sketch and Storytime session!

Sarah Smith Butterfly Hse image

Saturday May 3, 10.30am-1pm (Storytime at 11.30am) • Free with Exhibition Entry

‘Children’s book illustrator and art workshop leader, Sarah Smith, will be reading from her new book – The Butterfly House, released by Tate Publishing on 1 May. To tie in with the story, the theme of this month’s Scribble and Sketch will be The Greenhouse. Copies of Sarah’s new book will be available from the RWA shop.’

 Sea Readings

Saturday May 3 12pm • Free with Exhibition Entry

As part of the Power of the Sea exhibition, the RWA are hosting a series of short readings on the theme of the sea, delivered in the exhibition spaces by a range of writers, lecturers and students from Bristol and Bath. Readers will include Dr Marie Mulvey-Roberts (Associate Professor in English Literature, UWE, Bristol), Dr Anna Farthing (Director, Harvest Heritage, Arts and Media) and Dr Peter Reason (Emeritus Professor, University of Bath). Texts will include Moby Dick and Robinson Crusoe.

 The Power of the Sea Gallery Walk and Talk

Janette Kerr Image_Holding My Breath II

Janette Kerr – Holding my Breath II

Janette Kerr and Andrew Hardwick • Saturday 3 May 12pm  • Free with Exhibition Entry

‘Join the exhibition curator and president of the RWA, Janette Kerr, and exhibiting artist Andrew Hardwick for an informal tour and discussion around the Power of the Sea exhibition. This is the perfect opportunity to explore some of the themes of the show, as well gaining an insight into how a large historical and contemporary exhibition is curated.’

 Bodies of Water Film Screening 

Saturday 3 May 2-3.30pm • Free with Exhibition Entry • Bookable event –please contact RWA

 Curated by artist film-maker Kayla Parker in response to The Power of the Sea exhibition, this programme of short films invites viewers to reflect upon their relationship with the waters that surround the British Isles. These films explore the effective and affective ‘power of the sea’, whose rhythms infiltrate our dreams and memories, pacifying our minds, absorbing and smoothing trauma.

Bodies of Water features Hinterland, Esther Johnson’s 16mm study of a South Yorkshire community’s experience of living on the fastest eroding coastline in Europe, and Nathaniel Lane’s The Ferryman, a poetic study of a young boy’s rite of passage, filmed on black and white Super 8mm in North Cornwall.
Running time of film programme: 70 minutes

Introductory talk and Q+A discussion, after the screening: 20 minutes

Other Art Weekender events in Bristol

JEREMY DELLER and JMW TURNER will bevying for top billing at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery wih Deller’s Venice Biennale exhibition English Magic alongside an intimate show of eight exquisite Turner watercolours. Across the city, renowned art space Spike Island builds on the ever popular OPEN STUDIOS WEEKEND, offering the chance to glimpse behind the scenes of over 70 artists’ studios and unveiling three new temporary works commissioned especially for the weekend.


Meanwhile in Spike Island’s enviable gallery, ANDY HOLDEN presents film, large-scale sculpture and performance exploring the output and legacy of the MI!MS (Maximum Irony! Maximum Sincerity) artistic movement, which Holden founded with friends before training as an artist in 2003. In addition, Holden’s band THE GRUBBY MITTS will give a rare performance in the Spike gallery to kick off the Friday night celebrations. Just a short ferry ride across the Harbour, Arnolfini present Between Hello and Goodbye: the Secret World of Sarah Records – a fascinating exhibition about the enigmatic 90s Bristol record label, including the preview of Lucy Dawkins’ documentary about the label, My Secret World and performances from selected artists.


Encouraging us to venture beyond the gallery and museum, Situations invites us to seek the unexpected with a new work specially commissioned for the Weekender: ANNIKA KAHRS’ Concert for the Birds in the Lord Mayors Chapel – a bold and stirring installation of 100 songbirds in audience to a piano recital of Franz Liszt’s Legende # 1, a solo piece of twitter-like trills.

Bristol’s growing number of critically significant commercial galleries contribute to the programme too: Celebrated British artist, RICHARD WOODS continues to traverse the boundaries between art, architecture and design, transforming WorksIProjects’ space, and nomadic gallery, Antlers Gallery will be programming a tightly selected group show including the work of KARIN KROMMES and GEOFF DIEGO LITHERLAND. The Weekender will also, spotlight several of Bristol’s dynamic range of artist-run initiatives, including Hand in GloveThe Parlour Showrooms, BS Deathdrive, Spike Associates and Bristol Biennial.


Director of Visual Arts for Arts Council England, Peter Heslip says: “The Bristol Art Weekender promises to be a new fixture on the UK contemporary art calendar. This uniquely Bristolian take on a biennial is a prime example of artists and visual arts leaders producing something greater together than any organisation could do alone. It responds to a flourishing audience for art, which is increasingly curious and open to encountering the work of artists in new contexts. It demonstrates a shared commitment to the city and desire to reveal the enormous amount of talent, which is there, year round. I think they’re on to something here.”


Bristol’s mayor, George Ferguson, says: “The Bristol Art Weekender is an exciting collaboration of Bristol’s visual arts sector. The wealth of visual arts on display in the city at any one time is inspiring and this new, four-day arts festival will further underpin the city’s cultural credentials.”


Phil Gibby, Area Director for South West Arts Council England, says: “The Bristol Art Weekender is a very natural development for the city. It offers people from across Bristol the chance to engage with art in new and exciting ways, and also showcase the extraordinary array of talent on offer here. Do get involved!”


The Weekender also sees the launch of Bristol’s first ART MAP, a quarterly guide to the best of visual art across the city, alongside a range of self-guided trails that offer the chance to personalise your experience of the festival.


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One response to “The RWA as part of the Bristol Art Weekender

  1. Reblogged this on RWA: Behind the scenes and commented:

    On this the Eve of the Bristol Art Weekender we thought we would offer you a reminder about all the wonderful things going on at the RWA over the Bank Holiday Weekend.

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