Exhibition celebrates artist's lifelong love affair with estuary

Ray Balkwill

Ray Balkwill with work featured in a RAMM exhibition - Credit: Ray Balkwill

For those who know Exmouth artist Ray Balkwill, the Exe estuary has been the mainspring of his art for well over four decades. 
His passion for this beautiful stretch of water is unquestionable and the forthcoming exhibition in the Café at Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter celebrates his lifelong love affair with the people, culture and history of his native county. He has captured its many moods along both banks in just about every medium possible, including books and films.  
Ray was born in Exeter and graduated from Exeter College of Art in the late 60’s, thereafter making a career in advertising as an art director. In 1990 demand for his paintings led him to give up his job to become a professional artist. 
Since then, he has held many successful solo exhibitions, as well as showing in major group and open exhibitions. In 2006 he was elected an Academician in the South West Academy and he is also author of seven art books including ‘Ray Balkwill’s Exe Estuary’ 
Ray has always been a strong advocate of painting en plein air, his inspiration coming from the landscape itself. However, for the pieces in this exhibition, he chose to work in the studio from memory and quick sketches. This new work therefore, is more about the ‘spirit’ of the landscape, rather than the landscape itself. The exhibition also includes many of his mixed media assemblages. Ray added: “The inspiration for these came initially when I happened upon a piece of weathered old boat on the foreshore. 
“Quite remarkably the relentless and continuing effects of time and weathering had created the view of the scene of the estuary in front of me. The found objects with their multi-layered surfaces of neglect and decay reveal great riches; the weather-worn patina becoming the focus of the work itself. These simple, discarded fragments have all known previous lives, yet still speak and invite rebirth.” 
‘The River’s Voice’ is being held in the Café at RAMM, Queen Street, Exeter and runs from 7th December 2021 to 26th June 2022. Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm. Closed Mondays and Bank Holidays. Free admission and all works are for sale. 

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