I love you Fishface
If the walls of the Royal West of England Academy could talk, they'd have a lot to say. For 162 years the Bristol art gallery have been jam-packed with hundreds of pieces of artwork for the Annual Exhibition.
Photography, watercolours, sketching, sculpture, animation and etching all get a look in and like its slightly older cousin, the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art in London, the yearly event is a showcase of well-known artists alongside new, up and coming talent.
Despite living minutes away we've never checked out one of the South West's biggest annual art shows. But with a few hours to spare and its closure fast approaching (it ends on 7 December) we took the opportunity to put that right.
The exhibition is a veritable smorgasbord of artistic treats. Little space remains on the walls for what is a very impressive collection.
This post would be go on for a long time if I described the hundreds of items in an exhibition which fills all four of the Academy's main rooms so I'll concentrate on a few that stood out for us.
I was particularly drawn to Dreams Don't Work Unless You Do, the wonderfully named canvas featuring sections of old wooden rulers which artist Rose Vickers has gathered together to create box shapes that appear to leap out of the wall.
Nina absolutely loved Fishface, an oil painting by Hassina Burgan. Unfortunately though the red dot indicating it had been sold means it won't be in her stocking this Christmas! She also had a crush on Flotilla 4 and White Horse.
Another of our favourites was The Distillery Tower, an intriguing sculpture of wood, metal, glass and water by Jay Luttman-Johnson. It features so many handles and twisty bits we found it hard to resist turning them but we obeyed the 'do not touch' signs.
Carlitto's Burritos, a colourful painting of a Mexican food stall at the Glastonbury Festival also caught our eye, as did Mastering The Internet, a large photography print of a remote town and its telephone line, and Sleeping Woman/Old Bones, a quirky sculpture by Catherine Phelps who uses bones, wood and figurines to create characters.
Reflecting the diversity of the exhibition, it also features a dark room with a series of animations. Among them is Gold Hat, a beautiful entry by Jonathan Farr and Mary Hampton.
We've previously visited the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art in London which is at least twice the size of the Bristol version. But I have to say that I enjoyed the west country offering more. It's much more accessible, less jam-packed and I could (almost) afford to buy a lot of the art!
If can make it to Bristol before the exhibition closes on 7 December, we'd highly recommend popping by. It's more than worth the bargain £5 entry fee.
Words: Dan / Pics: Nina
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