The final instalment of the RWA’s elements series, Earth: Digging Deep in British Art 1781-2022 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). It 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.

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RWA (Royal West of England Academy)

Queen's Road, Bristol, Greater Bristol, BS8 1PX

01179 735129

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