For May we are joined by Professor Anita Taylor, Executive Dean of Bath School of Art and Design.

Professor Anita Taylor is a practicing artist, curator, educator, writer, and Executive Dean, Bath School of Art and Design at Bath Spa University. She is the founding Director of Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize [since 1994]and Drawing Projects UK [since 2009]. She has extensive teaching, research and review experience, and her academic leadership roles have included; Director & CEO, National Art School in Sydney, Australia; Dean of Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts London [UAL]; Director, The Research Centre for Drawing at UAL; and Vice Principal, Wimbledon School of Art. She is the current Chair of the UK Council for Higher Education in Art and Design (CHEAD), a Trustee of Stroud Valley Arts, and President of Wells Art Contemporary.

Solo exhibitions of her work include: Witness, Young Gallery, Salisbury [2018]; DRAWN, The Customs House, South Shields [2017]; Drawing Projects UK [2016-17]; William Wright Artists Projects [Sydney 2014]; The Drawing Room, Sydney [2011]; Peter Pinson Gallery, Sydney [2009]; The Drawing Gallery [2009; 2004]. Her drawings have been recently been included in exhibitions at Jerwood Gallery [2016, 2014]; The Global Centre for Drawing, Langford120, Melbourne [2018, 2013, 2011]; Victoria & Albert Museum [2009]; Tate Britain [2006]. She has curated exhibitions of drawing, including Drawing Breath [London & international tour 2006-08] and Drawn Together for Jerwood Gallery [2013] in association with the Drawing Prize project; and organised solo presentations/exhibitions by Barbara Walker [Jerwood Gallery, Hastings, 2018-19], Lyndal Jones [Bath, 2014], Sheela Gowda [Sydney, 2010]; Wendy Sharpe, Gerry Davies and Elisa Alaluusua at Drawing Projects UK since 2016. Co-author of Drawing [Cassell Illustrated, first published 2003], she has written for The Guardian/Observer, Craft Arts International, Guardian Culture Professionals Network, and Garageland, with interviews with her featured in After Nyne [2018], Interalia [2016]; Studio International [2014]; Times Higher Education [2013]; the Artist’s Lives, Oral History Collection,National Life Storiesin the British Library Sound Archive. She was artist-in- residence at Durham Cathedral [1987-88], Cheltenham Fellow in Painting [1988-89], and awarded the Malvern Award for Drawing [1993]; Drawing Award, Hunting Art Prizes 1999;First Prize, Hunting Art Prizes 2000. Her work is held in public collections, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, Jerwood Foundation.

Image credit: Drawn, solo exhibition by Anita Taylor, Customs House Gallery, South Shields, 2017, © Anita Taylor.


Art Bar Easter Break

Art Bar Bristol is taking an Easter break, but we will be back in May on the last Wednesday of the month as usual. We will be announcing our next speaker very shortly so check back soon and thank you for supporting Art Bar,  we look forward to seeing you next month!

Next up is painter Ben Risk on Wednesday 27 March, 7pm, Renatos


For our March Art Bar we are joined by Bristol-based painter Ben Risk who has recently shown in the group show Telescope at the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings.

Born in Glasgow Ben studied Fine Art at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has since shown at various galleries in the UK and abroad including Jerwood, ING Discerning Art Prize, New Now Frankfurt, London Art Fair, Saatchi Gallery and Open Eye Gallery.

The following text was written by curator Nigel Cooke in response to Ben’s work for Telescope:

Leonardo da Vinci famously advised aspiring young painters to look at stains on a wall; Ben Risk’s magical, confounding paintings depend on this principle, weaving images between marks and stains that appear, in the early stages of painting, on the material he uses – linen, cotton bedsheets and paper. Absorbency is the operative word – images delicately hang between recognisability and collapse, between a presence and the stain of a presence. They also absorb light – surfaces are soft, colours soak in, the eye dives into the fabric of the cloth. And above all maybe, the meditative sense of the images and Risk’s attachment to them suggest a slower kind of thinking, an absorption again – one of patience with the evolution of the image, a hospitality towards a form of strangeness that grows steadily as a conversation with the marks and stains. Real life connects with this more or less – we see people, plants, animals and landscapes – but they do not govern the scene. Instead they are warped by it, floating nebulously between shape, space and description. Ben’s painting is thoughtful in character, inviting warmth and contemplation through delicacy and care. They resist the speed of information exchange in the world around us, trading on a different plane of thought – one reflective and bizarre at times, like half-remembered dreams or stories. The theoretician and art historian Richard Wollheim called da Vinci’s faith in stained walls the act of ‘seeing in’ – the process of looking at an image and a surface as a twofold but single experience, like seeing forms in clouds. Ben capitalises on this foundation stone of representation in highly personal and lyrical ways, calling to mind artists like Craigie Aitchison, R.B Kitaj and Victor Willing – and of course Henry Tonks, the Slade professor who gave his name to the process of absorbing away Oil paint with paper to create soft and diffuse areas of colour. Sensitive and at the same time very powerful works.”

See more at Ben’s website or on instagram.

Image credit: Fieldwork (Cornflower), oil on panel, 2016 © Ben Risk



RWAAlbertIrvinPreview (11 of 389).jpgArtist Stewart Geddes joins us to talk about his practice as a painter and the exhibition Albert Irvin and Abstract Expressionism which he has recently curated at the RWA (on until 3 March 2019).

An abstract painter himself, Stewart has recently curated a major exhibition close to his heart, celebrating the work of Albert Irvin – an artist who has been a huge influence on his own work – and the abstract expressionists which inspired Irvin’s work to change course in the 1960s.

Stewart has brought together work from the Albert Irvin Estate, alongside key works from artists featured in the 1959 exhibition at Tate The New American Painting (curated by MOMA New York) that was so pivotal to Irvin’s career. Inspired by artists such as Willem de Kooning, Barnet Newman and Jackson Pollack, the Tate show changed Irvin from a ‘Kitchen Sink’ artist wedded to a gritty sense of English realism to an abstract painter working with the same scale and energy as his New York contemporaries.

Stewart will share his experiences of curating this international exhibition which includes key loans from Tate – including work by Barnett Newman featured in the original 1959 show – and New York, as well as exploring the influence of Irvin on his own practice and career.

Stewart is President of the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, an Honorary Academician of the Royal Academy in London and the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh. He studied at Bristol Polytechnic under painter Alfred Stockham before moving on to the Royal College of Art. He lectures in fine art as an Associate Lecturer at Bournemouth Arts University and at the University of Gloucestershire, having previously taught at Wimbledon College of Art and Cardiff School of Art and Design. His work can be found in public collections  including the Royal Collection and the Royal College of Art.

You can find out more about Stewart Geddes here and the work of Albert Irvin here.

Image copyright RWA.


george boltonGeorgina is a freelance Public Art Producer who places people and place at the very heart of her practice.

With 10 years’ experience working in the contemporary visual arts, Georgina has spent the last eight specialising in devising and delivering public realm projects, working collaboratively with artists, organisations, city councils, developers, architects and fabricators to create unique encounters that engage new audiences, re-awaken places and inspire change. Whether in fields, forests, beaches, heritage sites or urban city centres, she is passionate about the civic role that arts can play in creating new ways to access and experience the world around us, bringing temporary and permanent public artworks to life in unusual and ambitious locations.

The magic of many public realm projects is that no one opportunity, place, partner or funding collaboration is ever quite the same. Georgina will be joining Art Bar Bristol to talk about her experience of the Producer’s role as an “initiator, mediator, translator and firefighter” – the person that often dreams, connects and problem solves to make things happen.

With insights into her Producing role at internationally renowned arts organisation Situations, alongside her Public Art Policy writing for Cities, Producing for Trust New Art and current freelance roles at UWE, The Architecture Centre and Terrestrial, Georgina will share the challenges and highlights of her professional journey, touching upon future plans and explainingwhy she feels that now, more than ever, there needs to be a collaborative push for understanding the long term positive value and impact that public art can have on our cities, landscapes and lives.

Tweet @george_bolton
Instagram @gbolton

George’s has kindly shared some great links from her talk which can be downloaded Resources from Georgina Bolton Art Bar Bristol talk 30 January 2019.

Image Credit: Crossings, Natasha Rosling and Vilma Luostarinen, 2018, Exeter. Photo Benjamin J Borley Courtesy National Trust.

19 December help celebrate Art Bar Bristol’s first Christmas with our Christmas Art Pub Quiz, 7pm at Renatos


Join us for our first Art Bar Bristol Christmas Art Quiz including an extra-special ‘making’ round. Come with friends or turn-up and join a team and test your art knowledge to celebrate Art Bar Bristol’s first Christmas over drinks and pizza!

For those who’ve already had too much mulled wine for the year we will be back with our normal programme of talks in January when we will be joined for our first Art Bar of 2019 by curator and producer Georgina Bolton.

28 November we are joined by creative producer Will Hunter, 7pm at Renatos


Will Hunter is Creative Producer at We The Curious – a science and cultural centre which refers to itself as being a “bit like an indoor festival, with all sorts of different experiences”. He’ll be joining Art Bar Bristol to talk about their collaborative multi-disciplinary programming which explores the relationship between art and science often focusing on the notion of process showing how both art and science inspire one another.

As well as looking at where We The Curious started, Will is also going to talk about the centre’s plans for the future, such as as their relatively new designated art and science gallery The Box whose past exhibitors include Luke Jerram and Paul Friedlander and is described as “a space where science and art become indistinguishable.”

In addition to looking at new exhibitions such as upcoming installation Hertz with artist Julie Robson, Will’s talk will cover just some of the complexities of curating for unusual spaces, discussing different ways of working with artists to realise ambitious projects which can start to “break the barriers between science, art and ideas.”

To find out more about Will’s work at We the Curious you can visit their website here.

Image credit: Curious Cubes in Clevedon © We The Curious.

31st October speaker is artist Anouk Mercier, at Renatos, 7pm


Anouk Mercier is a fine artist based in Bristol known for her intricate drawings referencing romanticism through eighteenth century landscapes and architecture.  She began her practice studying Classical Drawing at L’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts, Paris, before going on to study Fine Art and Visual Culture at UWE in Bristol.

She has been a keen advocate for drawing both locally and regionally and currently runs the UWE Drawing Centre, in addition to developing her own practice which combines drawing, printing and airbrush.

She was shortlisted in 2015 for the Jerwood Drawing Prize, has been the recipient of the Contemporary Artists Explore Printmaking Bursary, supported by the Arts Council and Double Elephant Print Workshop, Exeter and won the 2008 Innes Wilkin Art in Architecture Prize. Her work is shown internationally and is held in several public collections including Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery 
and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Collection.

Her most recent project is a year-long residency at Stourhead House, Collection and Gardens as part of their ‘Genius of the Place’ interpretive story launched in 2018. The commission is part of the National Trust’s ‘Trust New Art’ programme celebrating contemporary art and has been developed in collaboration with guest curator Jack Gibbon, Director of Antlers in Bristol.

To find out more about Anouk’s work visit her website.

Image Credit: Caprice, Anouk Mercier, 2014, at Temple of Flora, Stourhead, National Trust. Photograph Max McClure 

First talk Wednesday 26 September with Dorcas Casey, at Renatos, 7pm


Our first speaker is Dorcas Casey, a sculptor based in Bristol, working out of Jamaica Street Artist studios.

Dorcas studied at Winchester School of Art and is a member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors, having been awarded a bursary from them in 2013. She won the Public Speaks Award in the Broomhill National Sculpture Prize and her work features in the book The Language of Mixed Media Sculpture published in 2014In 2015 she exhibited her work at Banksy’s Dismaland in Weston-Super-Mare and was selected for the Columbia Threadneedle prize exhibition in London.

Her Beasts of the Uncanny (see image above) performed at Hauser and Wirth Somerset this Spring during the exhibition The Land We Live In- The Land We Left Behind, an exhibition exploring the contradictory nature of society’s relationship with the rural. She was also nominated as one of 100 female artists across the UK to take part in a project called Processions to celebrate 100 years of votes for women, commissioned by 14-18 NOW.

Dorcas’ artist statement: The impulse to make sculptures based on recurring motifs of animals in my dreams is what fuels my practice.  These images come with an intrinsic sense of vitality and importance and demand to be made into something physical. Seeking to translate the mysterious power of these dreams into tangible objects, I create sculptures that appear uncanny and ambiguous.  For me, these sculptures embody a myriad of emotions and sensations in one piece; exploring the unconscious associations we have with familiar creatures.

Dreams reactivate the underlying, forgotten, repressed things confined to the unconscious and memories.  I am obsessed with collecting and hoarding what I see as the physical equivalent of this ‘dream material’; the left-behind, the forgotten objects which end up stored in an attic, at the dump, or which re-surface on the flea market.  I love the challenge of reanimating these charged objects by incorporating them into my work.  Using craft-based processes such as hand stitching, I transform more malleable materials like gloves, socks and other clothing fabrics into my figurative sculptures.

Through my work I like to reveal the unsettling qualities residing in seemingly benign domestic materials and subjects, creating a tension between my sculptures appearing familiar and comforting, and simultaneously peculiar and uncanny. I like the idea of out-moded, discarded and marginal things returning as powerful presences.

To find out more about her work visit her website. Image credit: Beasts of the Uncanny, Dorcas Casey, 2016, performing at Glastonbury Festival.








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