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The exhibition programme lies at the heart of the Academy's annual calendar and an enviable record of achievement has been created in the twelve years since the Academy's formation. That part of the Academy's objectives stipulating that the Academy 'should promote the appreciation and practice of the Fine and Applied Arts' is well served by a programme that ensures that practitioners from all over the South West are offered, at least once a year, the opportunity to display their latest work in prestigious city centre surroundings, in a well-supported Open Exhibition, which has become an exhibition of choice for many patrons of the Arts in our region. To enrich and encourage participation, the Trustees and Academicians exhibit alongside the selected Open entries, and invest considerable funds into a series of prizes for each Open, including the Lionel Aggett Memorial Prize awarded to the 'Best in Show' (excluding Academicians), in memory of the distinguished painter and former founder member of the Academy. Other prizes are given to work selected by the public and our sponsors. To serve the needs and aspirations of our Academicians, the Academy stages an annual Academicians' Exhibition. This exhibition features new work from all Academicians, including our distinguished Honorary Academicians, and is usually planned for the Spring. Restored by the Trustees to the calendar in 2009, this show has proved highly successful and well supported. Shows at the Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter, Kennaway House in Sidmouth, and the Gloss Gallery in Exeter have attracted good reviews and excellent support.

To 2008 the Academy staged annual Young Artists' Exhibitions in Exeter featuring the work of children of all ages from schools across the region. With the mantle of responsibility for this annual event passing to the County in 2009, a gap in our calendar has stood ready for a new initiative in this area. The Trustees have now planned a new open award for 2012 for the most promising young artist in three age groups up to age 20. Winners and runners-up in each category will be the subject of an exhibition in 2012 to showcase their work with all the supporting events associated with our larger shows.




Calendar: Exhibitions and Events

Academicians Exhibition 2014  May 27-30 2014

Academicians Exhibition Talk  May 28, 2014

Drecki Lecture 2014  November 26 2014

Open Exhibition 2014  Begins September 23, 2014

Young Artists Exhibition 2014  (Date to be announced)

Hanging the 2010 Open Show. Picture by Alan Jones

Private View of the Academicians Exhibition 2014
With a real flourish and sense of celebration the Private View and Book Launch evening at the Royal Clarence Hotel was enjoyed by a large and appreciative number of guests assembled in the Clarence and Cathedral Rooms of the Royal Clarence Hotel for this important landmark occasion in the history of the South West Academy.

Excellent Prosecco and first class canapes complemented the occasion perfectly as the rooms filled up and the gallery area was quickly filled with guests keen to see the exhibition of a single work from each of the Academicians. Beautifully hung in a complementary style the exhibition was much admired and interest in the work was quickly apparent. Working alongside the exhibition Academician and Trustee Charlie O'Sullivan managed a brisk trade in small works by Academicians in a blind lucky dip formula which saw delighted entrants walk away with works by distinguished artists for the princely sum of £20. Penny Keen charged with book sales also managed a busy table with the new books being purchased in a brisk trade by Academicians and visitors alike. Overall the atmosphere was exciting with a real buzz of anticipation and enjoyment.
Academicians had been requested to submit a new work that they considered to be amongst the best of their recent output and the quality and impact of the outstanding selection was apparent to all. In a welcoming address, Chair of Trustees Alan Fynn thanked all for coming to this gala occasion in such numbers, Academicians, patrons, guests and friends alike, and for making the evening such a resounding success. This Academicians Exhibition echoed that of 2009 when the Academy had begun its return to stability and success. Turning to the book he thanked the many who had worked so hard to make the book a reality and especially Michael Carter for his epic journey to all the Academicians across the country and his perceptive visit narratives.

The book had been a perfect vehicle to celebrate the first fifteen years of the Academy and the work of the Academicians but also, and of equal significance, a real opportunity to lay out the renewed, revised and restored rationale for the Academy and its work to ensure that its aims and objectives would be relevant and valuable for the next fifteen years - and to that there was called a resounding toast.

Launch of ART . PEOPLE . PLACE
Launched at the Exhibition, the Academy’s new book Art, People, Place, a celebration of the work of the Academy and its Academicians, past, present and into the future, was received with much acclaim.

I loved it... A superb achievement to have got this landmark book together ...truly, I think it's remarkable to have struck so fine a balance between being a local group, with all the allegiances that entails, and being a forum for artists working nationally and internationally. I love the sense of finding each academician in his or her place: we're led down lanes and across cattle-grids into private worlds. It's a kind of travel book, mapping the West Country as a place of art. And the different parts of the map feel vividly connected, even though each artist is producing utterly individual work

Alexandra Harris – Author of prize-winning Romantic Moderns


Collected here is some of the best of the Academy’s art alongside Michael Carter’s portraits of the Academicians and his personal accounts of his visits to their studios. Together with Alan Fynn’s history this richly illustrated book offers a complete and vivid picture of the private and public face of the Academy

Alan Cotton President Emeritus SWAc


Michael Carter’s superb photographs and impressionistic pen portraits of each artist, combined with the story of the Academy’s successful annual Open Exhibitions and its work with schools and young artists, provides a compelling study of the vitality of the artistic community in the South West.

Here the reader is able to share both in celebrating the best work of these artists but also in acknowledging the importance of art, and those who make art, in all our lives today


Simon Butler, Halsgrove


Here, with the publication of this beautifully crafted and profusely illustrated book, the Academy firmly establishes its credentials as a standard bearer for excellence in the fine and applied arts and also cements its commitment to the West Country’s vibrant and prolific artistic community

Alan Fynn Chair of Trustees



Art, People Place at £24.99 is available from the Academy or bookshops and other outlets and is published by Halsgrove Publishing, Halsgrove House, Ryelands Business Park, Bagley Road, Wellington, Somerset TA21 9PZ Tel: 01823 653777 Fax: 01823 216796

Romantic Moderns: English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper by Alexandra Harris is published by Thames and Hudson.
Photographs by Alan Jones and Lar Cann

with Colin Allbrook RI, RSMA, SEA, SWAc
This year's Gallery Talk for the Academicians Exhibition featured Academician Colin Allbrook. Colin gave a fascinating visual tour of his career so far, from boyhood drawings to high points and achievements - including winning the Turner Watercolour Award.

Colin's work is deeply rooted in place, and the long term change in his work in response to the North Devon landscape showed very clearly - beginning with classic views of cliffs and sea, maturing into a closer look at farm and country life, including intricately detailed barn interiors and views illuminated by his deep involvement in the life of the region.

Also of particular interest was Colin's long standing relationship with the Queen's Theatre, Barnstaple - where as artist-in-residence he produced many fresh, natural responses to the work of performers, with great character and all redolent with atmosphere.

Colin Allbrook, Gallery Talk
I recently attended the Gallery Talk given by Colin Allbrook for the Academicians Exhibition 2014 in The Clarence Hotel, Exeter, and would like to say how much I enjoyed it. The imaginative presentation of slides of selected pieces of his work, as a backdrop to Colin's entertaining and insightful narrative of his life as an artist, made for an extremely pleasurable and informative evening.


Gillian McQueen
Exhibitions staged by the Academy 2000-2012

Open Exhibition, Exeter Phoenix, 2000
Christmas Exhibition, Ceramics and Prints, Exeter Phoenix, 2000

Schools' Exhibition, Me and My World, Exeter Phoenix, 2001
Open Exhibition, Exeter Phoenix and Royal Albert Museum, 2001
Winter Exhibition, Drawing, Illustration and Glass, Exeter Phoenix 2001

Schools' Exhibition, A Special Place, Exeter Phoenix, 2002
Open Exhibition, Exeter Phoenix and Royal Albert Museum, 2002

Schools' Exhibition, Through My Own Eyes, Exeter Phoenix, 2003
Open Exhibition, Exeter Phoenix and Royal Albert Museum, 2003
Academicians' Winter Exhibition, Exeter Phoenix, 2003

Schools' Exhibition, Drawing From Experience, Exeter Phoenix, 2004
Open Exhibition, Exeter Phoenix and Royal Albert Museum, 2004

Schools' Exhibition, It Appears to Me..., 2005
Open Exhibition, Exeter Phoenix and Royal Albert Museum, 2005

Open Exhibition, Cube3 Gallery,University of Plymouth, 2006

Schools' Exhibition, Our Environment, Cube3 Gallery,
University of Plymouth, 2007
Open Exhibition, Clifford Fishwick Gallery, Exeter, 2007

Young Artists' Exhibition, Life's Journeys, Exeter Cathedral, 2008
Open Exhibition, CCI Exeter College, 2008

Academicians' Exhibition, Royal Clarence Hotel, Exeter, 2009
Open Exhibition, Exeter Castle Galleries, 2009

Academicians' Exhibition, Kennaway House, Sidmouth, 2010
Open Exhibition, Exeter Castle Galleries, 2010

Academicians' Exhibition Gloss Gallery, Exeter, 2011
Open Exhibition, Exeter Castle Galleries, 2011

Academicians' Exhibition, Gloss Gallery, Exeter, 2012
Open Exhibition, Gloss Gallery, Exeter, 2012

The Lens And The Easel, Exhibition staged in partnership
with Michael Carter SWAc, Ariel Center, Totnes, 2013
Academicians' Exhibition, Gloss Gallery, Exeter, 2013
Open Exhibition, Gloss Gallery, Exeter, 2013

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