RWA and The University of Bristol Collaborative Curatorial Unit

The RWA delivers a Collaborative Curatorial Unit with the University of Bristol’s Art History Department. This collaboration is now in its third year and provides students with an opportunity to undertake object based research as well as gaining practical curatorial experience in a public collection.

Students work as a group to develop an exhibition narrative, selecting specific works, documents and ephemera to research for display. They then plan and deliver an exhibition taking into account layout and practical considerations such as lighting, in addition to producing labels and interpretation material to encourage public engagement.

The Study Unit follows in the footsteps of past collaborations between the University and external partners including The Holburne Museum - Bath; Tate Britain London; National Museum Wales - Cardiff; National Portrait Gallery - London and the National Trust at Montacute House - Somerset.

For information about each of the exhibitions including the students' interpretation material please scroll down the page.

Drawn In, 21 May - 17 June 2015

The artworks in this exhibition have been selected from the RWA’s permanent collection. They employ a variety of media and explore a range of different subject matter. Drawn In considers how the technique and practice of drawing unites these diverse works. By bringing these pieces together, the exhibition investigates the ever-expanding boundaries of what commonly constitutes a drawing.

Typically, we associate drawing with traditional media such as pencil, pen and charcoal. However, many of the artists featured here experiment with different materials, suggesting that drawing is not constrained by medium. 

The artist Fiona Robinson RWA states that ‘Drawing [is] the most direct form of visual communication, eye to brain to hand…I like the fact that drawing exists as both verb and noun.’ Her statement reinforces the notion that drawing is both a physical practice and a conceptual one, requiring both observation and expression. 

Other artists in this exhibition propose alternative definitions. Lawrence Nash RWA describes drawing as requiring a ‘meditative attitude, a relaxed control,’ while Rachel Nee RWA defines her practice as involving both an ‘element of risk’ and 'total concentration'.

Drawing, therefore, is presented as an expansive term, one which perhaps cannot be easily defined. What is drawing? Where do you draw the line?

This exhibition has been curated by Hattie Lamb, Kerry Messam, Blanche Parris, Judith Stapleton, Imogen Watson and Peiqi Yan who are History of Art Masters students at the University of Bristol. It has been devised in response to Drawn and Drawing On…The Ingram Collection of Modern British and Contemporary Art which were on display in the RWA's main galleries from 21 March - 7 June 2015.

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Exhibition Inerpretation Material

Students researched and wrote introduction texts and thematic panels for the exhibition including individual work labels for each selected object. They focused on three specific areas of our relationship with drawing: Medium, Line and Movement. Copies of the texts produced for each individual section can be downloaded here: Intro / Medium / Line / Movement

The students also devised an interactive feedback wall, inviting the public to write or draw their responses to the exhibition which can be seen below.

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A link to the students' curatorial process blog can be found here.

 

Ports, Piers and Promenades, 29 May - 18 June 2014

The shore is an in-between place, marking the transition between land and sea. It frames the English landscape, creating a horizon line suggestive of distant lands whilst reinforcing the country’s rich maritime and cultural history. Through ports, piers and promenades mankind has built a life around the sea and in coastal areas engages with it through both work and leisure.

The artworks showcased in this exhibition have been drawn from the Royal West of England Academy’s permanent collection and thus maintain a strong link to the South West. Many of the artists included have a strong affinity with the English coast, either living or working beside it. As a result, the exhibition features works from local landmarks such as nearby Severn Beach, as well as stretching as far as Cornwall in the West and Brighton Beach on the South coast, in addition to two artworks from further afield.

Our interaction with the sea through both work and leisure can be seen in social, cultural and commercial terms charting different aspects of this relationship. The display of artworks in this exhibition traces these various associations, beginning with busy working ports and concluding with depictions of idyllic beach holidays.

In many of the works displayed here, the themes of work and leisure appear simultaneously. The seaside resort for example provides both employment and a holiday destination, whilst coastal artists’ colonies such as St Ives provide artists with a retreat from busy city life and an intensive work environment.

Ports, Piers and Promenades is an exhibition curated by Minami Fuse, Jocelyne Johnson, Tony Marwick, Yasmin Namdjou and Samantha Wiltshire who are History of Art Masters students from the University of Bristol. The exhibition is devised in response to The Power of the Sea an exhibition curated by Janette Kerr PRWA and Professor Christiana Payne which runs from the 5 April – 6 July 2014 at the RWA.

Exhibition Inerpretation Material

Students researched and wrote introduction texts and thematic panels for the exhibition including individual work labels for each selected object. They focused on three specific areas of our relationship with the sea highlighting Ports, Piers and Promenades.

Copies of the texts produced for each individual section can be downloaded here:

Introduction

Waterfront and Red Dinghy, Frederick Cook

Ports

Mitchell's Boatyard, Peggy Trotman

Piers

Wet Day at Swanage, Peter Folkes

Promenades

Remembering Exhibitions, 23 May - 19 June 2013

An exhibition marks a moment. It can define a movement, highlight an artist or characterise an institution. The RWA boasts a rich and fascinating history of past exhibitors and exhibitions dating back to its inaugural group show in 1845. Since then it has shown Canaletto, Rembrandt and Velasquez in a celebration of old masters, as well as bringing Gauguin, Bonnard and Rodin to the provinces in a seminal RWA exhibition on French Modern Art, 1930. This spring the RWA will be working with students on the University of Bristol’s MA course in Art History to curate an exhibition that explores our ‘collective exhibition history’. The exhibition looks at art and its documentation, retracing the past and exploring the concept of absence and memory. The exhibition will focus on works from the permanent collection to bring the Academy’s exhibition history to life, using archival objects including catalogues, photos and show posters to address not just what we remember, but how we remember.

Curated by Yui Araki, Aimilios Champis, Sun Young Kim, Lucy Paddy, Jill Sutherland, Nicola Williams, Ashley Wu and Yi Zhu.

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Remembering Exhibitions, Cube Gallery, RWA.

Exhibition Interpretation Material

Students researched and wrote introduction texts and thematic panels for the exhibition including individual work labels for each selected object. They focused on three specific areas of the RWA’s exhibition history highlighting International Modernism, The Annual Exhibition and Landscape and Regionalism.

Copies of the texts produced for each individual section can be downloaded here:

Severn Beach Paul Methuen

Introduction Panel

Caribbean Grey Day, Alethea Garstin

International Modernism

The Bathroom, Bernard Dunstan

The Annual Exhibition

Gwavas Lake, Michael Porter

Landscape and Regionalism

Edge of the Field, Michael Porter

List of Works

The students also produced an Exhibition Hand-out for the public listing further resources that can be accessed on the collection here.

The RWA would like to thank The University of Bristol for collaborating with them on this project, and in particular Dr. Dorothy Rowe, in addition to the participating MA students: Yui Araki, Aimilios Champis, Sun Young Kim, Lucy Paddy, Jill Sutherland, Nicola Williams, Ashley Wu and Yi Zhu for their research.

Cat Collage

Specific RWA exhibitions which inspired the student's research and selection of work included: French Modern Art Exhibition, June 1930; British Painters in France, 26 May - 13 June 1953; Paintings by Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, Memorial Exhibition; Paintings by Dorothy Larcher and Phyllis Baron, 25 April - 18 May 1966; Annual Spring Exhibition - RWA Appeal Exhibition of Member's Works, 1 - 22 May 1963; 130th Annual Exhibition, 15 November - 11 December 1982; Selected Works from the 107th Exhibition, 1959 - 1960; Michael Porter, Shining Cliff Wood Paintings, 1999 and Richard Long, 2000.

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