The Bristol Magazine rounds up the summer’s finest art exhibitions, from sculpture and painting to photography and drawing
Yatika Starr Fields, Rainmaker Gallery, 12 July – 30 September
This solo exhibition showcases the recent work of contemporary Native American painter and muralist Yatika Starr Fields, and comprises a series of 15 oil paintings on canvas, created specifically for Rainmaker Gallery. Yatika will be travelling to Bristol this month for an artist reception and talk on 25 July, and will also be attending Upfest – as the first Native American artist to participate in the street art festival. He will be creating a large-scale mural for the enjoyment of everyone in the city. His paintings pack a visual punch through intensity of colour and movement. Works like his ‘River Edge’ (see featured image) avoid the linear and perspectival views of much of Western art in favour of an immersive visual field of vivid whirling shapes, echoing the vibrancy of life that we see and feel around us. His works have a directness and confidence that produce heightened senses in the viewer, as if on a wild ride through an urban cityscape or plunging deep into the natural world to see its underlying strength.
Air: Visualising the Invisible in British Art, RWA, 16 June – 3 September
A suitably summery exhibition celebrating the rich tradition in British art of finding inspiration in the skies above us and the air that we breathe. The show brings some of the nation’s masterpieces to Bristol, including Joseph Wright of Derby’s An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump, on loan from the National Gallery and believed to be visiting Bristol the first time. Other well-loved works include John Everett Millais’ Bubbles and J.M.W Turner’s The Thames Above Waterloo Bridge. See depictions of the earliest hot air balloon flights and celebrations the 18th-century’s ‘balloonmania’ in addition to the sinister shadows and trails left by warplanes and the ominous shape of bulbous barrage balloons in works by Eric Ravilious, Frank Dobson and Christopher Nevinson.
Rebirth, The Station Gallery, Silver Street 4 – 31 July
Emerging artist Rebecca Jo Lesley will be hosting her debut solo exhibition at the Station Gallery in July – throughout which there will be several events in the space, bringing together a lively mixture of visual artists, poets and muscians. Elements of surrealism are blended with hyperrealism to create dream-like states that focus on atmosphere rather than a direct narrative. Working with oil paint on a variety of surfaces from glass to wood panel, she is influenced by the contemporary painters Henrik Uldalen, Alyssa Monks and Mark Ryden. After studying performance design at Saint Martins and AUB, Rebecca went on to work in costume departments for film and TV. In 2016 she started experimenting with oil paint for portraiture and then received a small fund from the Arts Council to develop her practice. She then became part of the Creative Youth Network alumni who have provided the studio that she has created her new series in.
Horizon, Christmas Steps Gallery, 25 – 31 July
See the work of three Somerset designers united through their unique interpretations of the environment. Jewellery designer Emma Aitchison is passionate about sustainability and so – made using conscientious production methods – her designs respect the planet and its people. Ceramicist Phoebe Smith is both consciously and unconsciously inspired by the landscape around her, so her functional, beautifully crafted ceramics reflect her interest in the natural environment. Her love of the ceramics process, and turning raw materials into a new form, has been a huge influence on the way her work continues to develop. Multidisciplinary designer, printmaker and keen traveller Josie Falconer celebrates the every day, heavily influenced by varying landscapes and global diversity. Through her bespoke designs, she creates a wide range of products including stationery, gift cards and books.
Botanical, Diana Porter Contemporary Jewellery, until 25 August
This summer, the team at Diana Porter Contemporary Jewellery are keen to take visitors and shoppers on a journey to fantastical locations as they explore the bountiful treasures in their dynamic exhibition. Warm hues of Indian summers dance alongside lush greens, and modern materials are juxtaposed with fine porcelain and silks. Botanical influences run through each of the collections featured, and the beautiful designs include foliage paired back to its skeletal structure or layers of petals and fruit that create bold pieces of wearable art. The Botanical exhibition features the talented work of Alena Willwroth, Farrah Al-Dujaili, Holly Suzanna Clifford, Rachel Codd, Rebecca Wilkes and Vershali Jain.
Uprooted, The Island Gallery, 8 – 15 July
An exhibition of portraits by Art for Action founder Rose Illingworth, with refugee children’s artwork, and photographs by Syrian refugees Abdulazez Dukhan – who now has asylum in Belgium – and Abdul Saboor – who, sadly, is living in transit on the Serbian border. The launch night on 8 July runs from 6pm until 10.30pm, with an art raffle and bar donations going towards Art For Action’s next project in Lesvos. The charity, which runs street art projects, portrait and canvas workshops for those who have experienced trauma through war, and young people living in marginalised communities, will showcase work produced in Iraq, French and German refugee camps, Colombia, Sri Lanka, The Gambia, Egypt and Tanzania.
Art Exhibitions in Bristol July 2017 – for more exhibitions keep an eye on our ‘Art and Galleries‘ section each month!
Featured image, ‘River Edge’ by Yatika Starr Fields