Art Exhibitions in Bristol May 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.


Coldharbour Gallery Spring Exhibition‘Wood Nymph’, Christine Baxter

Four Centuries of Drawing Celebrated at the RWA, until 4 June

Enjoy a trio of drawing exhibitions – the ‘Drawn 2017’ open submission biennial; ‘Lines in a Landscape: Drawings from The Royal Collection’; and ‘Beyond the Sketchbook: Drawings from the RWA Collection’. ‘Drawn 2017’ will include works from artists, architects, illustrators, film makers and other disciplines that explore the concept of drawing and expand our understanding of the medium. ‘Lines in a Landscape’ features works by some of the masters of Western European drawing, and includes rarely seen works by Van Dyck, Canaletto, Gainsborough and Claude Lorrain 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. The RWA will also display works from its own permanent collection in ‘Beyond the Sketchbook’. Spanning the 20th and 21st centuries, they explore drawing in a variety of ways from spontaneous, seemingly unfinished works in pen and ink to loose watercolours.

art exhibitions in bristol in may

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

We Are Native Women, Rainmaker Gallery, until 31 May

2017 marks the 400th anniversary of the death, in Gravesend, of Pocahontas – famous for her involvement with the English settlers in Jamestown, and probably the only Native American woman the majority of British people could name. The popular treatment of Pocahontas has propelled her to become the poster girl for Native American culture, and the way in which this figure has come to dominate our understanding, and eclipsed the numerous Native American women whose real lives are equally as worthy of our attention, is the motivation for this exhibition. Aiming to release Pocahontas from the symbolic duty of standing for all women of this indigenous people, We Are Native Women highlights their strength and diversity through the recent work of 12 contemporary aboriginal North American artists. Including painting, printmaking, photography and basket weaving, its artworks depict women of all ages – strong, powerful, nurturing, caring, vulnerable, desirable, provocative, dangerous, real and even supernatural.

Art exhibitions in bristol may‘Edna’ by Luanne Redeye

Bristol Savages, The Red Lodge, until 13 May

Appreciate the work of talented local artists, as Bristol Savages opens its doors to the public. This free annual event is being held in the purpose-built wigwam within the grounds of the magnificent Elizabethan Red Lodge and Knot Garden on Park Row, showcasing over 130 pieces of high-quality art across an abundance of genres and mediums. Bristol Savages was founded in 1904 by local painter Ernest Ehlers, who invited fellow Bristol-based artists to spend a friendly evening in his studio to work and socialise together. Over a century later, it has grown to accommodate over 350 members involved in the pursuit of fine arts, painting, music, poetry and other performing arts.


Art exhibitions in bristol may‘Catching the Light Clevedon’ by Michael Long

Greg Harris, Averys Wine Merchants, until 4 July 

Born in Chelmsford in 1984, Greg Harris spent his childhood growing up in Essex, Suffolk and West Sussex before going to Leicester to complete a BA in Fine Art at De Montfort University in 2009. After taking a break from art and travelling to the Far East, Greg threw himself back into painting by joining a Leicester-based artist studio in 2012 and since then, he’s never looked back and recently moved his studio to Bristol. Greg concentrates on his creative practice as well as private commissions from individuals and organisations alike, while also teaching workshops and exhibiting and talking about his work. In his paintings, Greg asks the viewer to reconnect with the familiar by bringing together both a literal and non-literal interpretation of the people and environment around them. He achieves this through carefully considered colour combinations and a painterly style that doesn’t condemn what’s being depicted. Rather, through their execution and minimised mark-making, the paintings are brought to life with a clean and freshly finished feel.

Art Exhibitions in Bristol May‘Potters Fat’ by Greg Harris

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

Featured image: ‘Potters Fat’ by Greg Harris