Earth: Digging Deep in British Art 1781 - 2022

Earth: Digging Deep in British Art 1781 - 2022

9 Jul - 11 Sep 2022


Royal West of England Academy, Queen’s Road, Clifton Bristol BS8 1PX


9 Jul - 11 Sep 2022

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Earth: Digging Deep in British Art 1781-2022 is a major exhibition spanning four centuries of artwork

The final instalment of the RWA’s elements series, Earth: Digging Deep in British Art 1781-2022 tackles the most expansive and urgent of subject matters, bringing together important modern, historical and contemporary artworks, co-curated by artist Emma Stibbon RA RWA, art historian Professor Emerita Christiana Payne (Oxford Brookes University) and Nathalie Levi (Head of Programme – Curator of Exhibitions, RWA). It follows The Power of the Sea: Making Waves in British Art 1790-2014 (2014), Air: Visualising the Invisible in British Art 1768-2017 (2017) and Fire: Flashes to Ashes in British Art 1692-2019 (2019).

Earth examines how attitudes towards the landscape have evolved over the centuries and how artists’ approaches have changed over time; from the pastoral idylls of the 18th century, through representations of the Romantic Sublime, to present-day confrontations of the climate emergency. Encompassing depictions of the natural world from geological, spiritual, industrial, cultural and scientific perspectives.

This exhibition goes deep beneath the earth, exposes the core materiality of its elements, explores the substance of the surface, climbs dizzying heights and perches perilously on its edges. It bears witness to the earth’s mistreatment and its magnificence, its fullness and its fragility. Earth surveys the representation of our environment across four centuries, inviting us to consider our planet in all its abundance, precarity and preciousness.

Earth is accompanied by a full-colour publication by Sansom and Co including three essays and over 50 images of work which can be purchased online or in the Shop.

Exhibiting artists: Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Samuel John Lamorna Birch, William Blake, Mary Buckland, Edward Calvert, Edward Chell, George Clausen, John Constable, Edward William Cooke, John Sell Cotman, Alice Cunningham, Dalziel + Scullion, Susan Derges, Thomas Gainsborough, Anya Gallaccio, Anthony Gross, Andrew Hardwick, Rodney Harris, William Henry Hunt, Fiona Hingston, Kabir Hussain, Samuel Jackson, Laura Knight, Tania Kovats, Abigail Lane, Richard Long, Philip James De Loutherbourg, Siobhán McDonald, John Martin, David Nash, John Nash, Paul Nash, Mariele Neudeker, Samuel Palmer, Katie Paterson, Julian Perry, John Piper, Michael Porter, Kathy Prendergast, Eric Ravilious, Carol Rhodes, Yinka Shonibare, Stanley Spencer, Emma Stibbon, Graham Sutherland, Francis Towne, J. M. W. Turner, Anthony Whishaw.

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Exhibition Works List - Earth: Digging Deep in British Art 1781 - 2022


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Image: Earth: Digging Deep in British Art 1781 - 2022, installation view, RWA, 2022. Photo: Martin Edwards

Supported by: 

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In a moment of cultural serendipity, we’re delighted our friends at Arnolfini also have a show which explores themes around nature. In a celebration of what lies above and below the forest floor Forest: Wake this Ground is a major group exhibition including artists, writers, filmmakers and composers, from across the globe: Rodrigo Arteaga, Mark Garry, Alma Heikkilä, Eva Jospin, Jumana Manna, Zakiya Mckenzie, David Nash – whose work is also featured in Earth: Digging Deep in British Art 1781 - 2022 at the RWA - Maria Nepomuceno, John Newling, Rose Nguyen, Ben Rivers, Ai Weiwei, and Hildegard Westerkamp.

See more Forest : Wake this Ground - Arnolfini

'Earth: Digging Deep in British Art' - Catalogue

      'Earth: Digging Deep in British Art' - Catalogue

Catalogue featuring colour illustrations, insights and discussion around the 'Earth: Digging Deep in British Art 1781 - 2022' exhibition.

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Curator Tour - Earth: Digging Deep in British Art 1781 - 2022

      A group of people stand facing forward in a gallery space viewing artworks

6 Aug 2022

Join Earth: Digging Deep in British Art 1781 - 2022 Curators, Emma Stibbon, Christiana Payne and Nathalie Levi, on a guided tour of the exhibition

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