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  • Writer's pictureSue Pickering

News, Muse & Inspiration 17: The RWA Artist Network

At the end of 2023 I decided to apply to become an Artist Network Member of the Royal West of England Academy (RWA). Located in a spectacular Grade II* listed building in the heart of the city, the RWA is the UK's only Royal Academy of Art housed in its own, original, purpose-built gallery. It opened in 1844 and has been bringing world-class visual art from around the world to the South West since that time.

As a Royal Academy of Art, the RWA has professional artists at its heart. The RWA has around 150 Academicians and 100 Artist Network Members. These artists contribute to the life of the RWA and and, in turn, the RWA provides an opportunity for artists in the South West to come together at events throughout the year.

The application process involved the submission of an Artist Statement and CV and some images of my work. In January 2024 I was informed that I had been accepted as an Artist Network Member. You can read my Artist Statement below. It was a good experience to write about my work and I feel that this statement sets out my aims for my work for the coming year.

"My art practice has evolved over a number of years and currently I produce abstract pieces that combine print, paint and collage. Colour, shape and texture all play a big part in my compositions. My work draws on my background as a psychologist and my interest in communication. I often include text cut from books or magazines, although this text may be obscured by layers of paint and collage. My aim is to create pieces that speak to the viewer on multiple levels; each work is designed to be an attractive abstract visual composition with a more thoughtful message embedded within.

I take an experimental approach to my work, remaining open to the possibilities that develop as I try out different materials and processes. I use a range of different tools and materials, including found and recycled objects. I begin each piece with a layer of colour. I then add line, shape and texture in further layers (both opaque and translucent). Each piece evolves to a point where the composition is complete.

My work combines my two great passions – creativity and communication – and abstraction is at the heart of everything I do. The inspiration for my work is ‘everyday life’. I am fascinated by the beauty and complexity of the world around me and how we make our way through life as human beings. As I move through the world, I see patterns and shapes – in nature, in the manmade world and in human behaviour. In my work I try to capture the fascinating combination of simplicity and complexity that exists in all aspects of our world - and in doing so, communicate something that has resonance for the viewer."

I'm looking forward to meeting the other Artist Network Members at an upcoming event at the gallery. I am also looking forward to contributing to the life of the RWA as a volunteer or by delivering a workshop on my art practice. Find out more about the RWA and its various events and activities here.

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