When you live in a city that’s full of museums, galleries and other attractions, it’s so easy to not actually visit them. But every so often, you need to swap your resident’s head for that of a tourist and see your home town through a visitor’s eyes.
For us, the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol used to be one of those ‘we should visit but haven’t quite got it round to it yet’ kind of places. We live just minutes away, but it took us ages to discover that there’s a world class art gallery on our doorstep. Since we did, we’ve been several times!
Taking over both two floors of the grand building, the exhibition is a multi-disciplinary showcase of artists’ fascination with planet Earth’s vast expanses of water.
It is a wonderful x with perfectly chosen works of art that communicate the atmosphere of waves crashing against the shore, the mysterious calm of a great ocean and the power of Mother Nature.
RWA’s biggest room houses the contemporary pieces.
Huge paintings with sweeping lines of blue and white paints perfectly recreate the power of the sea, while small, black and white etchings capture the beauty of Britain’s coastline.
In the side room are paintings from some of history’s most famous artists including John Constable, Henry Moore and JWM Turner.
There are shipwrecks a plenty which show the human costs of our fascination with the ocean. But for me, one of the most powerful exhibits is a painting which barely features any water. The scene by Walter Langley of villagers cowering behind a sea wall as a storm hits oozes atmosphere and allows your imagination to run wild about what might be happening behind the bricks.
We thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition and we highly recommend it. All the exhibits are well worth checking out.
And if you do go, please do visit the children’s art area where out seven-year-old created her latest masterpiece. You never know, it could be worth a fortune one day.
The Power of the Sea at RWA Bristol runs until 6 July 2014.