Grayson Perry & the Bloomsbury Group feature at Victoria Gallery in 2016

Grayson Perry, Kenneth Armitage, the Bloomsbury Group and Bath’s own Peter Brown are amongst artists and artistic groups being featured in next year’s programme of events at Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery.

The list – announced today Thursday, October 8th – is given below.

Grayson Perry: The Vanity of Small Differences
9 January – 10 April 2016

Expulsion From Number 8 Eden Close_2012-2 Grayson Perry
Expulsion From Number 8 Eden Close_2012-2 Grayson Perry. Click on image to enlarge.

A series of six very large tapestries made in 2012 for the BAFTA award-winning Channel 4 series All in the Best Possible Taste with Grayson Perry, in which Perry explored the notion of British taste.

The Vanity of Small Differences tells the story of class mobility and the influence that social class has on our aesthetic taste. Inspired by William Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress, the six tapestries, measuring 2m x 4m each, chart the “class journey” made by young Tim Rakewell. They include many of the characters, incidents and objects encountered by Perry on journeys through Sunderland, Tunbridge Wells and The Cotswolds for the television series.

First aired on Channel 4 in June 2012, the series follows Perry as he embarks “on a safari amongst the taste tribes of Britain”, to gather inspiration for his artwork. Perry literally weaves the characters he meets into a narrative, with incredible attention to the minutiae of contemporary taste every bit as acute as that in Hogarth’s 18th-century paintings.

The work was subsequently gifted to the Arts Council Collection and the British Council by the artist and Victoria Miro Gallery, London, supported by Channel 4 Television, the Art Fund, Sfumato Foundation, and AlixPartners.

Bath Society of Artists 111th Annual Exhibition
23 April – 4 June 2016

Now in its 111th year, this hugely popular exhibition showcases the best of the region’s artistic talent. Any artist aged 18 or over can submit work for possible selection.

The Society was founded in 1904 with 26 members. It has grown over the years to a membership of around 120 diverse, talented artists. Many distinguished 20th-century painters have exhibited with the Society including Walter Sickert, John Singer Sargent, Philip Wilson Steer, Gilbert Spencer, Patrick Heron, Mary Fedden, William Scott and Howard Hodgkin.

Bath Society of Artists at the Victoria Art Gallery. 2015.
Bath Society of Artists at the Victoria Art Gallery. 2015.

The annual exhibition, which is open to non-members, attracts more than 1,000 entries and 13,000 visitors, with sales doubling in the last few years.
The prizes on offer total more than £3,000, and include the Bath Society of Artists Prize of £1,000, the Bristol Guild Prize of £250 for a 3-D work, and the Harry Walker RWA Young Artist Prize of £250, awarded to artists aged 18 to 25.

There are also smaller prizes for prints, watercolours, small paintings and drawings. During the exhibition members of the public will be invited to vote for their favourite artwork, with the winner of the Bath Society of Artists Public Choice Prize receiving £500.

Following its successful inauguration last year, there will also be a lottery of postcard-sized artworks by members, which will be displayed anonymously, with tickets available for purchase.

Bloomsbury Rooms
11 June – 4 September 2016

Recognising that the only Bloomsbury Group decorative schemes to survive are at Charleston in East Sussex, this exhibition aims to recreate, as far as possible, several of the lost interiors on which Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant worked in the first half of the 20th century. This exhibition reunites objects and paintings from private and public collections that have not been seen together for over 50 years.

Roger Eliot Fry self-portrait 1928 © Wikipedia
Roger Eliot Fry self-portrait 1928
© Wikipedia

Fry, Bell and Grant were famed for their non-hierarchical approach to art and craft, regarding the various disciplines as being of equal status to painting. Their readiness to see in interior decoration and the decorative arts the possibility for a valid and original artistic endeavour began with the Omega
Workshops (founded 1913) and continued until the Second World War.

In the Omega’s final years (it closed in 1919), Bell and Grant began to work more on their own behalf. As highly practical artists, they acquired the knowledge and skills at the Omega that later proved invaluable to their continued love of decorating.

Between the wars a torrent of decoration rushed through the squares of Bloomsbury, with friends queuing to have their homes embellished. Little of the interiors now remain as much was destroyed, by accident or by bombing during the Second World War.

Kenneth Armitage 1916-2002 Centenary sculpture exhibition
10 September – 27 November 2016

This retrospective exhibition celebrates the work of an artist intimately connected with Bath, whilst also marking the centenary of his birth. It will feature numerous sculptures in bronze and plaster alongside paintings and drawings, mostly on a figurative or arboreal theme.

© Kenneth Armitage Foundation

Armitage sought through his work to achieve an understanding of the underlying structures of living things. He was born in 1916 and first studied at Leeds College of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art, London. After serving in the army from 1939-46, he became Head of Sculpture at Bath Academy of Art for ten years based at Corsham Court, nine miles east of Bath. In 1952 he represented Britain at the Venice Biennale, exhibiting alongside the sculptors Lynn Chadwick, Bernard Meadows, Reg Butler and Eduardo Paolozzi.

Described by the critic Herbert Read as the ‘Geometry of Fear’ school because of their deployment of sharp angular forms in metal, the group show sealed Armitage’s reputation as a member of the new generation of post-war British sculptors.

Peter Brown: New Paintings & Drawings of Bath
3 December 2016 – 29 January 2017

This exhibition features over 100 new oil paintings and drawings by Bath-based artist Peter Brown (more commonly known as ‘Pete the Street’) which celebrate the streets and green places of Bath.

The works of art include scenes of well-loved Bath locations such as Widcombe, Hedgemead Park, Lansdown and Milsom Street, as well as lesser-known but equally beautiful corners of the city. These views are captured in different states: busy and quiet and in all weathers, including sunshine, rain and snow. The artist uses the street as his studio and incorporates passers-by into his work.

peter brownBrown says of his approach: “Bath was the city really which inspired me. I owe a lot to the city and it’s still inspiring me. The thread in all my paintings is an interest in light. I relish the variety of our British climate and dramatic changes in the weather. When it rains the whole composition’s transformed and when you get a really good heavy rain I have very limited time to actually get the paint on. I stop when I’m absolutely soaked through.”

Despite being in demand globally, undertaking projects in Paris, Barcelona and Udaipur, India, Peter never tires of painting his home city. He came to Bath in 1986 to study a foundation course in art. He then continued his training in Manchester and Greenwich before returning to Bath in 1993.