Art Exhibitions in Bristol April 2017: The Bristol Magazine rounds up the finest art exhibitions of the month, from sculpture and painting to photography and drawing

Spring Exhibition, Coldharbour Framery & Gallery, until 31 May

Coldharbour Gallery is celebrating the arrival of spring with bold, bright colours and garden themes – Abigail McDougall returns with her latest Kew Gardens paintings in her trademark vibrant shades, while Rupert Blamire adds new zingy glazes to his ever-popular range of ceramics. The team is also delighted to welcome Bristol-born sculptor Christine Baxter to the gallery, with a selection of her bronze resin and cast stone pieces for home or garden, as well as ceramicist Kate Evans with her exquisite porcelain wildflower vases, perfect for bringing nature indoors.

Art Exhibitions in Bristol April 2017‘Wood Nymph’, Christine Baxter

Skeletons: Our Buried Bones, M Shed, 8 April – 3 September

See 12 human skeletons from Bristol and London, each with a unique story to tell – from a young man buried without ceremony in Tormarton 3,500 years ago during the Bronze Age, to a Romano-British couple found in a single stone coffin at Mangotsfield, and a child from a Victorian convent burial ground at St Catherine’s Court – who had undergone a post mortem craniotomy. Children can reveal some of the science behind the stories in the Bone Lab – test their knowledge of bones; search for hidden clues to analyse skeletons themselves; and hear from experts of the excavation site, lab and museum. Please note: this exhibition contains real human remains; and children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Art Exhibitions in Bristol April 2017

Basim Magdy: The Stars Were Aligned For A Century Of New Beginnings, Arnolfini, 14 April – 18 June

The first UK solo exhibition of this Egyptian artist focuses on his film work – layering past, present and future, and revealing social blueprints and ideologies that unfold across time. Situated somewhere between fact and fiction; rooted in dreams, scientific theory and failed utopian ambitions; full of humour and quiet melancholy, his works on paper and in film, photography and slide projection reflect on the present social and political climate and our collective failure as, in the desire for progress, we repeat the same mistakes in a recurring cycle of aspiration, action and defeat. A trilogy of films – Hatching Monkeys, The Many Colors of the Sky Radiate Forgetfulness and The Dent – present surreal alternative realities. Magdy uses experimental techniques for developing film using household chemicals in a process he calls “film pickling”, and the nostalgically blurred images and psychedelic colours created, combined with ambient soundtracks, seem otherworldly.

Art Exhibitions in Bristol April 2017‘They Come in Threes Like Fireworks’, Basim Magdy

Lines in a Landscape: Drawings from the Royal Collection, RWA, 1 April – 4 June

A major new exhibition of landscape drawings selected from the Royal Collection and generously lent by Her Majesty The Queen, featuring works by some of the masters of Western European drawing, and including rarely seen works by Van Dyck, Canaletto, Gainsborough and Claude Lorrain – widely considered to be the greatest landscape artist of the 17th century – alongside fascinating examples by lesser-known names.

Celebrating the richness, variety and peculiarities of the drawings in this internationally renowned collection, the show also makes connections with contemporary drawing practice. From Italianate villas to the Dutch low-lands; Guercino’s pen and ink sketches to Jan Lievens’ sweeping outlines, and Hendrick Avercamp’s crystallisation of a momentary accident on the ice, explore how the act of drawing can capture a fleeting moment, subject or mood. Alongside Thomas Sandby’s delicately coloured vistas, Bruce’s exquisitely rendered ruins and Claude’s gently waving trees, the exhibition includes incomplete works, rendered in soft inky outlines and fragile washes, which hint at the artists’ process and open a dialogue with the concurrent RWA exhibition, ‘Drawn’.

Art Exhibitions Bristol April 2017‘Lines in a Landscape’ by Gaspar Van Wittel, courtesy of Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2017

Spring Quartet, Clifton Contemporary Art, until 29 April

Clifton Contemporary Art is focusing on four key artists whose techniques, materials and works are dramatically different. From the highly textured oil on canvas portraits of Carl Melegari and Lynn Golden’s mesmerising acrylic and metallic leaf floral compositions, to Sarah Brown’s lucid, atmospheric pastel landscapes and Christine Feiler’s elegant, timeless ceramic pieces, this is an exhibition that celebrates diversity. See also a selection of new work by artists including Tom Hughes, Parastoo Ganjei, Hannah Woodman and Stephanie Axtell.

Art Exhibitions Bristol April 2017‘ELA’ by Carl Melegari

Art Exhibitions in Bristol April 2017 – for more exhibitions keep an eye on our ‘Art and Galleries‘ section each month!

Featured image: ‘The Last Day of Written History’, Basim Magdy