(Being the latest in a continuing series about my year of “artist dates”.)
I am over my man-flu. Hurrah! Last week I took advantage of the sudden sunshine to take a pleasant walk to the Royal West of England Academy. I enjoy the RWA. It’s a lovely old building and has a variety of shows on throughout the year. They run the gamut from the grand to the playful, sometimes doing both at once, like sticking Damien Hirst’s 22-foot Charity on the balcony.
The current exhibition is Drawn, about drawing in all its many forms. There was way too much to see in one visit, which is why I’m glad I’m a member of the RWA’s Friends, which is basically an annual season ticket to the place. (Though I’m not quite sure which of the two warring factions who claim to be the Friends I’m actually a member of at the moment. Internecine warfare in the art-supporters’ world can be a bit complex and grisly, it seems.)
I always enjoy art that breaks its boundaries a bit, so it was good to see some art drawn straight onto the walls, and in one case the floor. I also like a bit of technology, of course. The first bit I saw was Ross Wallis’s iPad of life drawings bolted to the wall, but things got even more hands-on in one corner of the gallery, where Debbie Locke was letting a robot run around doing its own doodling, and encouraging a couple of small girls to interact by means of batting the little penbot around in a friendly way. You can see some of the output on the Tumblr of Karen Wallis’s Drawing Lab, which was the adjacent artist’s residency.
Anyway. I won’t go on. If you’re in Bristol, go and check it out. It’s open until 2nd June. My favourites from my first viewing were Anna Falcini’s Veil of Fog, Ros Ford’s The Vetch, and Lorraine Robbins and Daniel Sparkes’ collaborations Stoaties Iron Yard and 40 Milligrams Memento Magnus, which were pleasingly surreal.