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From pomegranate seeds to soaring swans

River by Jitka Palmer Jitka Palmer

Press release issued: 15 April 2014

Ceramic pomegranate seeds, a Rust-o-saurus, soaring swans and botanical art including Indonesian floral batik and water colour and ink hellebores are just a few of the designs that will be on display this Easter at the University of Bristol’s Botanic Garden Art and Sculpture Exhibition.

The exhibition will take place from Good Friday [April 18] to Easter Monday [April 21] from 10 am to 5 pm. 

The wood, stone, metalwork, ceramics, steel and stained glass sculptures will be sited in strategic positions around the garden forming a sculpture trail.  Each area has been carefully chosen to create a site of unique character in which the artists will display their work. 

The Botanic Garden, with its constantly changing natural light and backdrop of architectural plants, colours and textures, is a perfect environment to display both traditional and modern sculpture.  This year’s sculptors include Aurora Pozniakow, Willa Ashworth, Julian P. Warren, Adele Christensen, Emma Jean Kemp, Jude Goss, Charlotte Moreton, Karen Edwards and stone carver, Tom Clark, who will be giving a workshop on Easter Monday. 

Ian Marlow ARBS, Jitka Palmer and Sam Bailey are exhibiting for the first time.  Ian’s designs, in addition to creating the popular Gromit sculpture, Sir Gromit of Bristol, include waves and stainless steel lilies on water. 

Nick Wray, Curator of the Botanic Garden, said: “For the first time the popular Easter sculpture exhibition and the Friends art exhibition have been combined to give visitors an exceptional experience of some of the best artwork available in the West Country, all displayed in the unique setting of the Botanic Garden.

“The Garden has provided the stimulus and setting to inspire students and provide a backdrop to their work in a variety of educational artistic activities.  The sculpture and art exhibition draws on a range of artists working in different mediums, each producing individual work.  Some have started as students on courses run at the Botanic Garden, while others are part of the rare native plant artists group, who are recording the rare local plants grown at the Garden. To be able to progress from students to professional quality is testament to the dedication and talent that these artists have.

“For the visitor there will be the opportunity to be inspired, perhaps be the next generation of art student or simply enjoy the work on display in the Garden at this uplifting time of year.”

There will be plenty during the Easter weekend for families to enjoy.  Children will be able to take part in an activity by Refab Arts and on Easter Saturday and Sunday children will have the opportunity to create their very own plant structure, made from colourful reclaimed bouncy castle fabrics or reclaimed Plastozote.

Previous Botanic Garden art exhibitions have proved very popular and this year there will be nearly 100 original framed works on display.

Peter Girling, art exhibition organiser, said: “There will be works by 30 or more local artists, both amateur and professional, some exhibiting here for the first time. The work on display will range from detailed illustrations to the abstract, using a wide range of mediums and styles, but all drawing upon their botanical subject matter.”

Different artists will be helping to steward the exhibition which will give members of the public the opportunity to ask about the subjects and the techniques used.

Among this year’s artists is David Royle, who has recently been elected to the Red Feathers, the elite group of artists in Bristol Savages.   A newcomer to the exhibition is Hannah McVicar, illustrator and printmaker, whose illustrations have been compared by the New York Times to those of William Morris.  She recently had a solo exhibition at Tokachi Millenium Forest in Japan. 

Conny Ridge, born and raised in Holland, will be exhibiting her Indonesian Batik paintings and Denise Stirrup her pressed flower art. In addition to being a judge and President of the Pressed Flower Guild, Denise teaches at international conferences, writes about pressed flower and even provided flowers for the Honda eco-friendly car advertisement.  Regular artist, Anita Pegler, gains her inspiration from the unique character of the flora and fauna on the edge of the Somerset Levels where she lives.

Artists exhibiting include: Susan Bracher, Pamela Clogstoun, Sara Easby, Gabbie Gardner, Anne Girling, Shirley Gyles, Nick Hasell, Jane Krish, Florence Maggs, Betty Marten, Hannah McVicar, Annie Morris, Anita Pegler, Lorna Rankin, Connie Ridge, Effie Romain, David Royle, Cynthia Skinner, Dorcus Sohn, Sheila Southgate, Jac Solomons (aka J Zulka), Denise Stirrup, Elizabeth Timms, Erica Thomas, Frankie Wild, Fiona Williams, Theo Wood, Brenda Wright and Viv Young.

The Art and Sculpture Exhibition at the University of Bristol Botanic Garden will be open from 10 am to 5 pm on Good Friday, 18 April until Easter Monday, 21 April. Refreshments, tours of the garden and demonstrations will be available.

Entry to the Botanic Garden sculpture and art exhibition is £3.50 adults; free to University staff and retired staff, Friends of the Botanic Garden, students and children under 16.

Further information

About the Botanic Garden

The Botanic Garden has a strong evolutionary theme and cultivates over 4,500 plant species forming four core collections that illustrate plant evolution, plants from Mediterranean climates, useful plants and rare and threatened native plants to the Bristol area. 

Star attractions include an amazing dell demonstrating the evolution of land plants including the dinosaurs’ favourite plants: ginkgos, cycads, tree ferns, monkey puzzles and Wolly, the Wollemi Pine.  Other delights include the Chinese and Western herb gardens and an inspiring display of plants illustrating floral diversity. 

Opening times for the Botanic Garden:

April and May.  Open Monday to Friday and Sunday from 10 am to 4.30pm.

June, July, August and September.  Open Monday to Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 4.30 pm. 

Admission is £3.50 adults; free to University staff and retired staff, Friends of the Botanic Garden, students and children under 16.

Dogs (except registered disability assistance dogs) are not permitted in the Botanic Garden.

The Garden is largely accessible for wheelchairs and mobility scooters with a designated path leading around the Garden and glasshouses. Disabled toilet facilities are available on site.

The garden also offers private day, evening and weekend guided tours for groups of ten upwards and gardening or any other leisure clubs.  Please contact the garden for further information.  There is a charge for the guide.

Directions to the Botanic Garden

From the city centre go to the top of Whiteladies Road, at the junction and traffic lights go straight ahead across Durdham Down towards Stoke Bishop. At the traffic lights go straight ahead and take the first turning on the right into Stoke Park Road, The Botanic Garden at the Holmes is 150 m on the right.

Members of the public wishing to support the work of the Botanic Garden should join the Friends of the Garden. For more information go to the Friends of the Botanic Garden or write to Susan Redfern, The Membership Secretary, 24 Dublin Crescent, Henleaze, Bristol BS9 4NA.

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