From the M Shed to the Arnolfini, and the Lime Tree Gallery — Bristol might seem overwhelmingly abundant with its wealth of art galleries on offer, but here are our top picks, this December.
Centre Stage: Celebrating Theatre in Bristol, RWA, 11 December – 24 January
Centre Stage takes visitors on a magical journey to explore the story of theatre in Bristol, turning the spotlight on those working within the wings and behind the scenes as well as the famous names on stage. The exhibition includes life-size sets and props from the Disney and Cameron Mackintosh production of Mary Poppins (designed by ex-Bristol Old Vic Theatre School student Bob Crowley), which had its world premiere in Bristol in 2004. Alongside these magical treats will sit costumes and designs by Maria Bjornson and the gothic candelabra from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera produced by Cameron Mackintosh and the Really Useful Theatre Company. Taking a walk down memory lane, the exhibition also includes a large selection of intimate production photographs taken by Derek Balmer and Desmond Tripp, chronicling many of the famous faces that have trodden the boards at Bristol Old Vic over a 40 year period, including Pete Postlethwaite, Peter O’Toole, Jane Asher, Annette Crosbie, Christopher Harris and Daniel Day-Lewis. And don’t miss the immersive theatre within a theatre: providing visitors with a glimpse into the captivating relationship between audience and performer.
Admission is free. Royal West of England Academy, Queens Road, BS8 1PX. www.rwa.org.uk
Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015, M Shed, until 10 April
The world-renowned exhibition from the Natural History Museum returns to the M Shed with 100 breath-taking images that showcase the natural world’s most astonishing and challenging sights; from fascinating animal behaviour and wild landscapes, to relationships between humans and the natural world.
Open 10am – 5pm. Tickets: adult £5, concession £4, under 16s free. Free day: Wednesday 9 December.
Christmas Open Evening, Coldharbour Framing & Gallery, Friday 4 December, 6pm – 8.30pm
For this special open evening the gallery will be packed with affordable local art and crafts. Many of the painters, potters and printmakers will be there to show their work, among them gallery regulars Jenny Urquhart and Abigail McDougall, with new pieces created especially for the show. Enjoy the chance to chat to the artists over a glass of mulled wine.
Coldharbour Framery & Gallery, 111 Coldharbour Rd, BS6 7SD. www.coldharbourgallery.co.uk
Christmas at Clifton Fine Art,
For Christmas, Clifton Fine Art has aero-organic sculptures by Adam Warwick Hall, delicate jewellery cast from natural forms by Bethany Robinson, new work by Harry Bunce and a series of smaller works By Harriet Whyatt.
Clifton Fine Art will be open late on Thursdays until Christmas. Visit: www.cliftonfineart.com
Jamaica Street Artists Christmas Party, 3 December, 5-9pm; 6 December, 1 – 5pm
Head to Jamaica Street Artists for a Christmas party in the artists’ studios. Enjoy mince pies, mulled wine, carols and art all under one roof. Visit: www.jamaicastreetartists.co.uk
Lime Tree Gallery Christmas Exhibition, 2 December – 13 January
A wide-ranging and vibrant exhibition for the Christmas season, with paintings by notable artists, including Judith Bridgland, Sarah Carrington, Michael Clark PAI RSW, and Euan McGregor. The exhibition also includes a beautiful collection of glass and fine jewellery.
Lime Tree Gallery, 84 Hotwell Road. www.limetreegallery.com
Paul Needles: Places I Remember, Bristol Guild Gallery, until 24 December
Two years since his last highly successful Guild Gallery show, Bristol-based artist Paul Needles is back with a selection of new paintings and drawings. Places I Remember includes scenes of Bristol, the west country and Spain, which all continue to supply a rich source of inspiration. In many of the work roads, railings, tracks, paths and rivers lead to distant horizons. As well as large paintings there will be a selection of smaller studies, many created in situ.
Bristol Guild Gallery, 68 Park Street BS1 5JY www.bristolguildgallery.co.uk
Bristol Green Capital in the Frame, Grant Bradley Gallery, 5 December – 2 January
An exhibition featuring 12 artists celebrating and reflecting on the year that Bristol was voted European Green Capital. Ideas encompassing recycling, upcycling and energy efficiency will be on display, as well as works that highlight the importance of protecting green spaces and local wildlife. Expect animals made from upcycled scrap metal, scenes of Bristol’s allotments and abstract prints of microscopic images of leaves and flowers.
Grant Bradley Gallery, 1 St Peters Court, Bedminster. www.grantbradleygallery.co.uk
Contemporary Printmaking – Print & Process, Sidcot Arts Centre, until 12 December
Five printmakers all based in the Bristol and Somerset area are brought together for this exhibition that showcases some of the most innovative artworks from their respective portfolios. Featuring Liz Bird and Gail Mason – members of Spike Print Studio – and Bronwen Bradshaw, Pennie Elfick and Tony Martin – members of Somerset Printmakers and Fingerprint – the show will demonstrate original printmaking’s ability to convey the emotional and the conceptual and the figurative and the abstract all via a multiplicity of traditional and contemporary methodologies.
Sidcot Arts Centre, Sidcot School, North Somerset. www.sidcot.org.uk/arts