Group Exhibition
2 July–11 September 2022

Yinka Shonibare CBE RA features in 'Earth: Digging Deep in British Art 1781 – 2022'

Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, UK

The final instalment of the RWA’s elements series, ‘Earth: Digging Deep in British Art 1781-2022’ is a major exhibition spanning four centuries of artwork. The group exhibition 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) the presentation 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

Exhibiting artists include: 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 and Anthony Whishaw.

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