Exhibitions Around the County

There must be a bigger concentration of artists and makers in the Westcountry than anywhere in the land. It seems a new art gallery opens every week in Somerset. Travel the county and you will be bombarded by art galleries, even in the smallest co...

RPS Retrospective


The Royal Photographic Society's 150th international Print and Retrospective Exhibition is taking place at Victoria Art Gallery, Bath, from 6 October - 18 November. Cutting-edge images can be seen alongside traditional prints in an exhibition that also includes a retrospective demonstrating the significance of the Royal Photographic Society in the history and promotion of photography internationally.

The 125 exhibited images have been selected from 2,200 images submitted by 600 photographers (both members and non members; amateurs and professionals) from 33 countries.

For more information, call 01225 477233 or visit www.victoriagal.org.uk.

Quartz Arts Festival

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Quartz Arts Festival kicks off its third season on 3 October in Taunton. Once again it is hosted at the Queen's College campus on Trull Road. There will be sculptures on the school lawns, paintings and prints on show in the former schoolroom, and a performance every night in the Queen's Hall.

Three Westcountry artists new to Quartz are Peter Messa, Sue Deakin and Kathy Ramsay Carr. "I'm delighted that we've been able to tempt painters of this calibre 'over the border' into Somerset," jokes Quartz curator Charlotte Lampard, who herself lives in mid-Devon.

The emphasis at Quartz has always been on showing work that visitors will want to buy - and can afford. An innovation this year is a wall of paintings costing under �250. In the Print Room, part of the popular festival caf�, artists have provided limited edition prints of their work, costing �50 upwards.

On the performance side, the festival is promoting a strong line-up with Seth Lakeman headlining the festival.

Quartz Arts Festival runs from 3-13 October. For more information call 01823 340805 or visit www.quartzfestival.org.uk.

Landscapes and Still Lifes


Sisters Margot and Barbette Quinn return to their childhood home, now Bowlish Contemporary Gallery, Bowlish, Shepton Mallet, with an exhibition of still lifes and watercolours. Margot produces delicate watercolours of interiors, whereas Barbette is a quintessential still life painter.

Somerset landscape artists Janette Kerr RWA and Felicity Keefe also return to Bowlish Gallery, and are joined for this exhibition by Welsh artist, Helen Booth. Photographs of Scotland and Cuba by prize-winning pair Soraya Schofield and Barry Cawston complete the impressive autumn landscape collection.

The autumn exhibition runs until mid-December. Open Thurs and Fri 10am-3pm, Sat 10am-5pm. Tel 01749 343914, www.bowlishgallery.co.uk

At Home and Abroad


Alexander Gallery begin their autumn programme with an exhibition of paintings and watercolours by leading Scottish artist Peter Graham, which runs from 28 September - 13 October. Amongst the locations that provide Peter with regular subjects are the South of France, Venice and Paris, and many of his watercolours are scenes of bars and restaurants reflecting the glamour and bustle of the modern city.

Alexander Gallery's second exhibition of the autumn season, which runs from 19 October - 3 November, sees the latest collection of paintings by the landscape painter Michael Barnfather. Michael has established a fine reputation as a painter of the English countryside, combining large panoramic scenes with intricate detail. The paintings feature scenes of Devon, Somerset, Derbyshire and the Lake District.

The Alexander Gallery, Clifton, is open from Mon-Sat 9am-5.30pm. Tel 0117 973 9582 www.alexander-gallery.co.uk.

50 Years of Sculpture


Michael Pennie is a sculptor well-known for his large-scale carved works in wood. His career has spanned five decades, and to celebrate this he has departed from his usual practice to cast a series of intriguing small bronzes in an undertaking that has engaged him for the past three years.

The exhibition runs at Black Swan Arts, Frome, from 6 October - 10 November. On 25 October at 6.30pm there will be a gallery talk by the artist; tickets cost �5 and must be booked in advance.

For more information call 01373 473980 or visit www.blackswan.org.uk.



The Adam Gallery in Bath is presenting Fujio Akai's intensely coloured 'waterpaintings' in his first solo exhibition in the UK. Vibrant and luminous, the abstract compositions reveal a spontaneous style of painting disguising the precision and sophistication of the work.

Born in Indonesia in 1945, Akai lived in Japan until 1965, a culture that has had an important influence on his artistic practice and output.

The exhibition runs from 13-31 October at Adam Gallery, Bath, open Mon-Sat, 9.30am-5.30pm. Tel 01225 480406, www.adamgallery.com

Chew Valley Arts Trail


The popular Chew Valley Arts Trail will be held for the fifth time on 13 and 14 October, when over 50 local artists and makers will be exhibiting and demonstrating their skills at 26 venues, including homes, studios, garages, halls and outbuildings across the area. The trail offers an opportunity to see local artwork including paintings in contrasting styles, printmaking, sculpture, glass and pottery, photography, candle craft and jewellery, as well as the opportunity to chat to the artists. Look out for the distinctive green brochures, which include a map and a snapshot of the work on show.

Open 10am until 6pm; some venues may open longer. Tel 01275 333128

Friends at the Fedden


The Friends of the Royal West of England Academy will be exhibiting selected paintings, drawings, prints, textiles, ceramics and sculpture at their annual exhibition, which runs from 21 October - 8 December. This year's exhibition, at the Fedden Gallery in the Royal West of England Academy in Clifton, promises to be both colourful and stimulating.

The exhibition will be open daily from 10am-5pm, 2pm-5pm Wed and Sun. Tel 0117 973 5129, www.rwa.org.uk

Prints and Pottery


October sees the works of both celebrated printmaker Catherine Williams and unique potter Amanda Popham being exhibited at the Rostra and Rooksmoor Galleries, Bath.

Born in Bristol, Catherine Williams' approach to printmaking has made her an instant success. Themes of coasts and woodland walks are depicted using carborundum, a gritty material that she applies to a sheet of aluminium, rubs over with ink, and puts through the press onto thick, handmade paper. She is a skilled etcher as well and her abstract aquatints will also be on show from 7-22 October.

Amanda Popham brings her remarkable ceramics to Rostra and Rooksmoor Galleries from 6-22 October. Much heralded for her unique style, Amanda creates vessels and jugs, but ones that you feel might, if you turned your back, get up and mutter amongst themselves! Crocodiles, creeping beasties, ladies with birds as hats and all kinds of intriguing characters reveal Amanda's imagination and talent.

The exhibitions will be open Mon-Sat 10am-5.30pm, Sun 11am-4pm. Tel 01225 448121, www.rostragallery.co.uk

Rhythm and Reflections


Bridgwater Arts Centre's gallery hosts 'Rhythms and Reflections', an exhibition of textiles by Somerset artist Tricia Hubbard, from 13 October - 22 November. Many of her works aim to convey the quality of light and the fluidity of water. She is a member of Stitch Textile Artists, South West Textile Group, and Paperweight.

Bridgwater Arts Centre is open Tues-Fri 10.30am-5pm and Sat 10am-1pm. For more information call 01278 422700 or visit www.bridgwaterartscentre.co.uk.

Shades of Shipham


Following a successful inaugural exhibition in 2005, a group of seven artists all from Shipham, near Cheddar, but who each works in a contrasting style, will be staging their second show at Shipham Village Hall this month.

Sue Smart captures the mood and feel of the land and seas in acrylics. Ian Sutton paints local views from direct observation and also more abstract themes in mixed media. Photographer Joss Campbell shows both black-and-white and colour portraiture and landscapes. There will be garden illustrations by designer Patricia Frost, vibrant paintings of flowers and landscapes by Vicki Campbell, and textiles by Anne Carpenter (pictured right) and Helen Riches.

Shades of Shipham is open daily from 27 October - 4 November, 10.30am-5pm (closing at 1pm on 4th). Tel 01934 842453

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