It’s getting colder and the nights are drawing in, but escaping to an art gallery can be a real lift as we head into winter.
We have a great range of events to take your through until Christmas. There are major exhibitions, solo shows, Friends and Open events for you to enjoy.
Our featured October exhibition is Around the Jewellery Quarter, which celebrates both contemporary and historic aspects of this important district of Birmingham.
Sunlight 3 will also be well worth a visit as artist Robert Perry continues with his exploration of the qualities of sunlight on our landscape.
The Birmingham Art Circle and Shapeshifters join forces this month for a joint show, and eight RBSA artists also collaborate to bring you art on an abstract theme.
Then, in November, make sure you catch our William Gear exhibition, celebrating a pioneer of post-war abstraction.
Around the Jewellery Quarter
Gallery 1, October 2 – 14
John Shakespeare, ‘The Queen’s Arms’
Wayne Attwood, ‘St Paul’s’
Wayne Attwood, ‘Canal Lock’
RBSA artists Wayne Attwood, Ed Isaacs and John Shakespeare capture this famous part of Birmingham through art depicting past and present places, people and architecture. The preparations have been attracting a lot of interest on Twitter. Follow @IsaacsEd, @jshakart and @WayneAttwoodArt
Gallery 2, October 2 – 14
Robert Perry, in the last instalment of his exploration of this very popular theme, presents new paintings and drawings inspired by the effects of light upon landscapes from across the UK.
Celebratory Open Day: 7 October, 2-4pm. Join our Around the Jewellery Quarter artists and Robert Perry (Sunlight 3) and explore two exhibitions in an afternoon. Free, no need to book.
The Birmingham Art Circle and Shapeshifters
Galleries 1 and 2 October 16 – 28
This is an exciting joint show by two professional art groups. The Birmingham Art Circle will be featuring work from artists in a range of media, and has a longstanding association with the RBSA. They will be joined by Shapeshifters, a group of sculptors who work with stone, wood, clay and metal.
You can bid on Viv Astling’s Wavelet, pictured above, at our first ever Charity Auction on November 2. You can find out more and book tickets, £10 each, here.
Saturday art demonstrations by members of The Birmingham Art Circle and Shapeshifters will take place on 21 and 28 October, 11-1pm and 2-4pm. Open events are free and there’s no need to book.
October 30 to November 18
‘Circle Round’ The phenomena and processes of the natural world, in particular water, sit at the heart of Jo Naden’s sculpture. Early in her practice explorations of water/land boundaries were expressed in triangles and lines installed on beaches. Now however Naden’s love of making form has become evident in her distilled sculptures, where the geometry of plane is all-important. Naden draws together small contemplative works of meditative abstraction, juxtaposed with larger dynamic forms referencing ancient cultures, and their attendance to time and tide. Materials of glass and bronze evoke a sense of ether and matter, within the sands of cyclical time.
Steve Evans, ‘That Was, This is’ Evans’ work, informed by his background in structural engineering, incorporates the techniques and formal qualities of technical drawing before the advent of CAD – qualities of precision, regimentation, the repetition of line and reference to geometry and form. Unlike CAD these works contain minute inconsistencies. These ‘flaws’ evident in the hand-drawn pieces, add qualities that make each unique. The arrangements of line create visual disturbances and illusions beyond the original formal references. They are abstractions that explore and extend pictorial space through the use of light, line and colour.
George Taylor, ‘Silent Motto’ In his work, Taylor attempts to organise aggregated glimpses and fragments of form, the juxtaposition of vaguely referential, symbolic, abstracted and ambiguous marks being pivotal. The product of this approach becomes a self-contained entity having a concrete existence in the natural world but not defined by it or dependent upon an illusory construct of it, but possibly having oblique or allusive references to it. He strives to construct a compositionally coherent, essentially self-referential image that resists absolute definition or rigidly literal interpretation, free from the prop of the visually perceived world ‘out there’ or of the ‘deceit’ of the figurative.
Jenny Ryrie, ‘Sea Meditation’ Jenny Ryrie has specialised throughout her career in the experimental use of watercolour and mixed media on paper. She uses fluid, translucent pigments and dynamic form to explore the poetry of sea and landscape, using the process of abstraction to discover mystical rather than physical meaning. Her work is lyrical and intuitive, about natural energies and their resonance with human experience and states of mind. By communicating emotions and sensations through colour, shape and gestural brushwork, Ryrie’s paintings are as much about feeling as seeing.
Malcolm Franklin, ‘Morris. Holly wood and stone’ Malcolm Franklin Franklin’s work explores the relationships between material, form and space. Appearing as if they are constructed from separate parts, his sculptures are carved from one piece of wood or stone, chosen to allow for movement, shifts in planes and openings. Negative space is as important as the boundaries of form. The sculptures are intended to be seen from multiple viewpoints; changes in light and perspective lend the works a new interpretation. Although static, Franklin’s sculptures give an idea of movement. The initial shape of the material is employed to create a tension between the original block and the conceived shape.
Michael Sadler, ‘Binary II’ Sadler usually works in series. Starting points for him may be generated by single words or short phrases which feed his imagination; these then become vehicles that lead to experimentation with formal pictorial elements. The ‘Binary’ series has as its starting point his layman’s interest in binary star systems. This series follows on from two previous series that were also instigated by an interest in astronomical phenomena – ‘Early One Morning’ and ‘Transit’ paintings. He has become increasingly interested in using fewer formal and compositional elements in his work in order to produce a series of closely related images.
Viv Astling, ‘Good Vibrations’ Astling has two groups of four sculptures: the first group, each in a different stone, has a musical connection. The largest, Goldberg Variations, is a Narrative Sculpture based on the work by Bach. It features the theme and 10 variations with the forms mostly grouped into threes, hinting at the rhythmic character of the music.The second group, all in Portland Limestone, are derived from organic forms, some distorted and ambiguous. Less abstract in style, they explore different conjunctions of form and texture. The last, Dipteros, is minimalist compared to Goldberg and suggests the development of winged forms.
David Walton, ‘In the House of the Clouds’ Walton’s approach is ‘Hard Edge’, but unlike the restriction of ‘Abstract Classical’ to flat colour, these forms can include texture or modulations of tone. Walton paints in series, here the series derives from an interest in Mayan culture and references manuscripts such as the Codex Borgia. Rather than using geometrical shapes Walton has invented a collection of Maya inspired units in order to investigate the manipulation of space, colour and form and set up propositions such as; to overlap; to avoid centrality; to set up symmetry and then break it, and so on. David E Walton. 2017
An exhibition of 64 abstract and semi-abstract sculptures, paintings and drawings by eight RBSA Members: Viv Astling, Steve Evans, Malcolm Franklin, Jo Naden, Jenny Ryrie, Michael Sadler, George Taylor and David Walton. This show runs alongside the William Gear exhibition.
A Celebratory Open Day takes place on Sunday 5 November, 2-4pm to mark the opening of our Equivalent 8 and William Gear exhibitions. Open events are free and there’s no need to book.
There’s also a Saturday art demonstration with Equivalent 8 exhibitors on 18 November, 11-1pm and 2-4pm. Free, no need to book.
Colour and Form: William Gear (1915-1997)
November 1 – 18
A celebration of work by William Gear, exploring his key role in progressing and promoting abstract art in Birmingham and across the UK. Artworks from Gear’s estate, never previously exhibited, are included in this major exhibition, staged in association with the Paul Mellon Centre and Kettle’s Yard.
Family Workshop, Abstract Prints: 12 November, 2-4pm: To coincide with the William Gear exhibition, Karoline Rerrie will show you how to draw, cut and print abstract designs using block printing techniques.
William Gear Symposium: 12 November, 10-1pm: Learn all about Gear through a funded event in conjunction with the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, with Dr Jennifer Powell, Senior Curator at Kettle’s Yard. £10. £6 for Members, Friends, Associates and students. Booking essential.
RBSA Craft Gallery Exhibitions
As one of the leading outlets for contemporary craft in the Midlands, the RBSA showcases the work of designer makers through our creatively themed displays. Our displays celebrate Birmingham at the forefront of design.
until 27 January
Claire Malet, ‘Eroded Bowls’
My Bear Hands
Blast off into a galaxy far away with Starlight, an exhibition exploring the spectacle of outer space. From jewellery inspired by meteorites and shooting stars, to space-age ceramics and ethereal glass, this exhibition offers an opportunity for stargazing right in the heart of Birmingham. Perfect for Christmas gifts, with a range of products and prices to suit all pockets.
Nigel Priddy, ‘Cotswold Field Patterns’
Robert Neil, ‘John’
Brian Fletcher, ‘Self Portrait 1’
The RBSA Art Gallery features regular solo shows for art lovers, showcasing work for sale by Members, Associates and artists from around the UK. Shows are held in the Café spaces and Craft Gallery Wall on the ground floor.
Elaine Hind, Botanica: 2 October to 18 November: Elaine exhibits her detailed and delicate porcelain vessels and sculptural pieces inspired by forms, patterns and colour of plant life.
Nigel Priddey RBSA: until 7 Oct: Striking watercolour landscapes in Nigel’s bold and distinctive style.
Dennis Minchin: 9 October to 18 November: Hold onto summer with this display of bright and beautiful floral studies in acrylics and oil.
Robert Neil PRBSA: until 14 October: the current president of the RBSA will exhibit his selection of absorbing and strikingly life-like portraits in oil.
Brian Fletcher: 16 October to 18 November: Explore the many different qualities of paint in this selection of mixed-media and impasto paintings.