Angela Carter at the RWA

Pomps of the Subsoil - Leonora CarringtonYesterday afternoon, having a couple of hours to kill between radio work and the talk to the medical students, I finally got to see the Angela Carter exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol.

What, may you ask, is a writer doing having an exhibition in an art gallery? Well, there is a lot of material. Some of Carter’s books were lavishly illustrated as well as having great covers. Many artists have created works inspired by her writing (Fevvers is a favorite subject, as is Red Riding Hood). And Carter herself was an art lover so the exhibit also includes a number of works that she is known to have been fond of.

I thought it was a great exhibition. Indeed, there is one part of it that I’m not going to talk about because you really have to go and see it for yourself. The only slightly off note for me was the fact that there was no mention of The Passion of New Eve save for a listing of Carter’s works. Given the breadth of work available, I suspect this may have been a curatorial decision.

The exhibition website has a gallery showing many of the works on display. Some of them are much more impressive in reality than as web images. I particularly like “Hades II” by Anna Marie Pacheco and “Grandma’s Footsteps” by Angela Lizon. (Did I mention that most of the art is by women? Of course it is.) However, some of the best work isn’t in the gallery so I have found copies for you here.

The painting at the top is “Pomps of the Subsoil” by surrealist artist, Leonora Carrington. Given that she was a feminist and fond of themes of female sexuality, she’s an ideal person to have in an Angela Carter exhibition. But I am embarrassed to say that my favorite image is one by a man. It is “The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania” by Sir Joseph Noel Paton. In my defense I note that Carter was apparently very fond of it too.

The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania by Sir Joseph Noel Paton

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