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Arts Editor Ed Grimble and Deputy Editor Myla Lloyd provide their highlights from the Royal West of England Academy’s annual Open Exhibition, which opened on Sunday

The RWA’s Open Exhibition returns for its 164th year. Showcasing the work of both Academicians and external artists, this vibrant exhibition features over five-hundred works. With an overwhelming display of art in all manner of styles and medium, ranging from the local to the international, here are some of our top picks:

  • Rose Vickers, Blue Tumbling Blocks
    Aside from its engaging, almost entrancing, geometric design, this piece is sustained by the juxtaposition of a highly aesthetic artefact (the work itself), and its subject matter of a very workaday wooden rules. It is practicality enlisted for the aim of beauty.
Rose Vickers, Blue Tumbling Blocks, wooden rulers

Rose Vickers, Blue Tumbling Blocks (wooden rulers)

 

  • Karl Singporewala, Palyrma Unbuilt, Syria
    The 2000-year-old Temple of Baal has been tragically destroyed in the recent Syrian conflict. Here, Singporewala creates his homage to the UNESCO World Heritage site, hand-made from 3000 1:100 scale architectural figures.
Karl Singporewala, Palyrma Unbuilt, Syria, enamelled figures

Karl Singporewala, Palyrma Unbuilt, Syria (enamelled figures)

 

  • Francis Martin, Sun, Sand, Sea and Savagery
    Whilst Martin’s sculpture may appear playful, its underlying message is far from it. The work endeavours to expose the corruption and misguided philosophies at large in the world today; particularly our reliance on crude oil, and the impact of plastic waste on the environment.
Francis Martin, Sun, Sand, Sea and Savagery, mixed media

Francis Martin, Sun, Sand, Sea and Savagery (mixed media)

 

  • Richard Howell, Gangland Reliquaries
    Taking his inspiration from found objects and materials, Howell’s experimental practice is both aesthetically pleasing and ambiguous. The title, Gangland Reliquaries, prompts the viewer to imagine the individuals who once owned and discarded these scraps of ephemera.
Richard Howell, Gangland Reliquaries, mixed media

Richard Howell, Gangland Reliquaries (mixed media)

 

  • Richard Twose, Self Portrait as Icarus
    The myth of Icarus is one of the most culturally referenced stories of old. It resurfaces time and again as an illustration of humankind’s tragic overreaching. Twose’s broad, defiant brushstrokes give the painting an instability and wonderful dynamism.

    Richard Twose, Self Portrait as Icarus (oil on board)

    Richard Twose, Self Portrait as Icarus (oil on board)

Related content: Royal West of England Academy, Annual Open Exhibition 163

 

  • Andrew Munoz RWA, Still-life (Severn Bridge)
    Winner of The Painting Award, Munoz’s still-life evokes associations of beached whales and discarded bodies. Whatever the visceral blob may be, its organic form beautifully contrasts the mechanical outline of the famous Severn Bridge.
Andrew Munoz RWA, Still-life (Severn Bridge), oil on canvas

Andrew Munoz RWA, Still-life (Severn Bridge) (oil on canvas)

 

  • Juraj Pradaj, SS Great Britain, Bristol
    There is something appealingly self-reflexive about Pradaj’s watercolour image of Brunel’s iconic ship painted straight onto a chunk of old reclaimed wood. Sat on a wooden board rather than a neatly framed canvas also imbues the painting with a visual and textual reminder of the ruggedness and tumult of its subject matter.
Juraj Prodaj, SS Great Britain, Bristol, watercolour on aged wood

Juraj Prodaj, SS Great Britain, Bristol (watercolour on aged wood)

 

  • Stephen Carley, Drawing Number 58
    Tentative and abstract forms echo the work of Albert Gleizes, and Carley’s largely monochrome palette removes the distraction of colour and, like sensory deprivation on a person, heightens other aspects of the work like line, shape, and composition.
Stephen Carley, Drawing Number 58, drawing and mixed media collage

Stephen Carley, Drawing Number 58 (drawing and mixed media collage)

 

  • Lynne Collins, The Trespasser 3
    Collins’ photograph is a masterclass in light and composition. The red grapes and wine draw the eye across the scene, as do the beautiful folds on the tablecloth. The tall windows– and the light cast on the opposite wall– then lead the viewer’s eye back into the unsettling chiaruscuro of the almost ethereal archway, where darkness engulfs form.
Lynne Collins, The Trespasser 3, photography

Lynne Collins, The Trespasser 3 (photography)

 

  • Dominic Mallin and Laura McEwen, Grand Pier, Weston-Super-Mare
    At once playful and nostalgic, Mallin and McEwen’s layered collage is reminiscent of a theatre set. Combining photographs and paper cutouts to achieve an impressive sense of depth, anyone familiar with Weston’s Grand Pier will be instantly transported back to childhood memories of soggy chips and slot machines.
Dominic Mallin and Laura McEwen, Grand Pier, Weston-Super-Mare, mixed media collage

Dominic Mallin and Laura McEwen, Grand Pier, Weston-Super-Mare (mixed media collage)

RWA 164 runs until 27th November at the Royal West of England Academy on Queens Road.


What did you think of #RWA164? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us your highlights @EpigramArts, @Ed_Grimble, or @Myla_Lloyd

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