The most recent development is the progress of the Inland Sealand commission. This has been a project in waiting for a long time and as part of EX LAB 2 – which is about bringing artists and scientists together – has funding from Arts Council England as part of the Cultural Olympiad. The artist appointed to take on this project is Simon Callery, a high profile British artist who has shown widely internationally and in the UK, including the Whitechapel Open 1989, Young British Artists III, Saatchi Gallery, 1994, Sensation, Royal Academy of Arts, 1997 and Art Now, Tate Britain in 2000. Simon has a record of working with archaeologists and between 1996 and 2003 collaborated with the Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford on The Segsbury Project. One result was Trench 10, a twenty metre long sculptural work which incorporated the actual chalk surface of an excavated section of Bronze Age ditch. The intention of the work was to communicate a temporal and multi-sensory reading of landscape. The Inland Sealand commission will develop these ideas in the context of how knowledge of the inland geology of Dorset characterises our understanding of the landscape. The project began in December 2011 with the artist undertaking a five-day walk from Sherborne to Portland.
Staying in the South West a new exhibition of site-specific sculpture, Simple Matters by George Meyrick opens at the Exchange in Penzance on January 28th and runs until the 14th April. At the same time there is a show of work by Breon O’Casey.
In Bristol the Royal West of England Academy is continuing its run of populist shows in a drive to bring in the punters. The Jack Vettriano Show at the end of last year caused controversy, as did Damien Hurst’s Charity, which is on view outside the front of the RWA until 12th May. There are four shows running concurrently in the RWA galleries. RWA Academician, Ivor Abrahams is showing sculpture and David Shepherd’s work includes numerous paintings of Elephants. There are more wildlife images in the form of black and white photography by former BBC Cameraman Martyn Colbeck and recipient of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award. There are photographs too by Queen guitarist, Brian May which, without intending any judgement about the quality of his work, raises interesting issues about celebrity access to opportunities beyond their usual area of expertise. More information can be gleaned from the new RWA website blog: http://rwabristol.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/four-artists
For artists interested in Open submission opportunities, there are a couple of major deadlines coming up. The cut-off date for registering for the John Moores Open Painting exhibition in Liverpool has been extended to 31st January and entry forms for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition are now available from the website. Closing date is Friday 9th March.