Showing New Surrealist Paintings in Collaboration with Valencia’s The RW Project

Bay is currently showing new paintings in The RW Project space in Valencia’s arts district, Russafa. The project, titled Eve is a collaboration between Bay, RW founder and writer Kristin Gracie, and filmmaker Steve Kempen. Bay is showing six new large-scale surrealist oil paintings, including Eve (2020) which was especially painted for the collaboration. Other paintings in the space are Serenity, Allegory, Anima, Vision and Shrine.

Visits to The RW Project are by timed appointment only to honour current safety restrictions. Register for your appointment at The RW Project page.

Eve opened on New Year’s Eve 2020/21 as a metaphor for the artistic possibilities of the New Year, set against the challenges of our current times. Showing alongside Bay’s paintings are words by Gracie on the significance and creative energy of the collaboration.

Craving to welcome 2021 feeling empowered and inspired, a curious writer called on her surrealist muse to explore a question that centuries of women before us have sat with … “What can we do while all we are hearing is what we can’t do?”

– Kristin Gracie

Also featured are two new short films by director Steve Kempen, installed within the exhibition. Kempen’s films explore the relationship between Bay and Gracie, and how the Eve project was inspired. They also offer intimate scenes of Bay’s creative process in her studio.

To continue the ‘behind-the-scenes’ access, Bay has chosen to display four of her development works on paper within the show. All four works are in pastel, inks and acrylic spray and were created while Bay researched the emotions she sought to paint in the face of Eve.

Eve is a representation of all that is possible when the beautiful aspects of the feminine are listened to with adventurous curiosity and trusted without weighted hesitation. 

– Kristin Gracie

Eve will be open until March 2021. To hear of more invitation-only events in The RW Project space, join The RW list. To follow Bay’s work and further art events in Valencia, subscribe to her monthly newsletter.

You can book your appointment to see the Eve collaboration here.

“Eve” solo show to open at Russafa’s RW Project Space

RW Project Russafa Bay Backner Studio

Bay will open a solo show with The RW Project in Russafa on New Years Eve, 31st December 2020. The exhibition “Eve” is a collaboration with the curator-director of the RW Project, Kristin Gracie. Exploring ideas of transformation, the show was inspired by Paul Roussel’s 1908 sculpture “Eve o La Pomme”. Gracie encountered the sculpture in the Musee d’Orsay and made connections with Bay’s work on a studio visit earlier this Autumn. Bay is painting a new work entitled “Eve” especially for the exhibition, which will be open until 31st January.

RW Project Russafa Bay Backner Studio
RW Project director Gracie (pictured here in front of a painting in progress) during her visit to Bay’s Valencia studio.

Curator of Group Show: The Everyday Masks Project with Colonia Roma, Valencia

Covid art exhibition Valencia lockdown

Curation of show ‘The Everyday Masks Project’ with photographer Alex Baker and arts collective Colonia Roma. Bay designed the exhibition to work safely within Valencia’s covid restrictions. In lieu of a traditional inauguration, ten artists opened the show with a photoshoot of the original masked artworks. Hosted by arts space Casa Cabanyal, Valencia.

30 Sept ~ 21 Oct 2020

Discover Valencia’s secret street artist playing with dead icons – JOY at Playground Art Centre

Could you shock your closest friends with a secret about you? For Valencian urban artist JOY it’s easy. Not even his best friends know that he makes street art on our city walls.

You might have spotted JOY’s distinctive stencils of pop icons. He’s painted in the city for the last four years. That arresting image of a penguin wearing a gas mask, or Elvis riding a banana? That’s JOY. He’s entirely self-taught and creates urban art, well, for the sheer joy.

‘I like to make art that provokes’, explains JOY, ‘and to make people react’.

 Michael Jackson - Valencia street art by JOY ( Image: JOY )

Michael Jackson – Valencia street art by JOY (Image: JOY)

Now JOY has his first solo show in Valencia and we’re all invited. Opening at Playground Art Center on Friday 4th May, ‘Cadavres Exquis’ is a exhibition of JOY’s new work on canvas. 

The work builds on JOY’s love of pop-culture’s very famous, and very dead, icons. You’ll see spray portraits of James Dean, Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe, Che Guevara, River Phoenix, Liz Taylor and more. All are, in JOY’s words, ‘cadavres exquisitos’ (exquisite corpses). 

 'Che David' by JOY ( Image: JOY )

‘Che David’ by JOY (Image: JOY)

For those of you who love art-criticism, ‘cadavres exquis’ is also the name of an art game used by the Surrealists. Players like Duchamp, Miro and Andre Breton would add words or images to a collective poem or sketch – without seeing what had been written/drawn before.

Now, we could see JOY’s work as a collective game, where we add to his altered iconic images with our own secret associations. Or we could just enjoy them as a riotous adventure in street art and pop.

 JOY's work, spotted on the streets of Valencia ( Image: JOY)

JOY’s work, spotted on the streets of Valencia (Image: JOY)

In either case, street artist JOY *just might* be your best mate without you knowing. Come to the opening on the 4th and find out.

Your easy English guide to Russafart 2018 – art festival in Ruzafa Valencia, 1-3 June

If you’ve explored hip Valencia neighbourhood Ruzafa, you’ll know that the thriving art scene behind its bars can be pretty hard to find. Want to be in the know? Start with Russafart 2018.

This biennial art festival throws open the doors of Ruzafa’s arts studios and creative spaces. You’ll be welcomed into the places where the neighbourhood is really happening – and you can talk with the artists and creatives that are making it happen.

This year is the festival’s 10th anniversary, which means there’ll be an extra celebratory vibe. 

 Russafart 2018 - the art festival's 10th anniversary

Russafart 2018 – the art festival’s 10th anniversary


It’s a free arts festival, centred around a map of all the participating spaces in the neighbourhood. (Russafa is the barrio’s name in Valencian, Ruzafa in Castilian). In every space you can find new art work, see demonstrations, or simply discover a stunning place behind an unassuming door.  

For three days, Ruzafa becomes ‘a meeting point for all curious audiences interested in art and culture’.

Thousands of people take part.


There’s no set route to the art festival, so the most important guide is the festival map. Download it from the festival site here.

Then flick through the photos of the arts spaces on Russafart’s website. Plan to visit those that look great to you, and wander into any other open doors as you pass by.

All studios and exhibition spaces open simultaneously at 7pm on Friday 1st June. Then the opening times are:

  • Sat 2 June: 10am – 2pm / 5pm – 9.30pm
  • Sun 3 June: 10am – 2p.m / 5pm – 8pm / Closing party from 9pm
 Russafart 2018 -  start with this map, available here

Russafart 2018 – start with this map, available here


Friday 1 June

  • 7pm – Simultaneous opening of studios, workshops and exhibition spaces until late
  • 9pm – concert by singer-songwriter Lucinda Sieger at new studio space, Landscape Studios, c/ Pintor Gisbert
  • Restaurants, bars, shops and collaborators open their doors throughout the evening

Saturday 2 June

  • 10am – 2pm / 5pm – 9.30pm Opening of studios, workshops and exhibition spaces.
  • 9.30am to 2pm – Speed painting contest in the Ruzafa neighbourhood. Artists from all over Valencia meet to capture Ruzafa on their canvas. Starts at 9.30pm at the Escuela de Artesanos in Av Antiguo Reino de Valencia 40.

Sunday 3 June

  • 10am – 2p.m / 5pm – 8pm Opening of studios, workshops and exhibition spaces.
  • 8.30pm Award ceremony for the Russafart 2018 speed painting contest at Sporting Club Russafa c / Sevilla 5
  • 9:00pm Closing party for artists and friends with Afro-jazz concert at Sporting Club Russafa

For more photos and information, visit the Russafart 2018 website

See you there!

Bathe in saturated colour by two modern Spanish artists – Rosa Torres & Ricardo Escavy at Shiras gallery

Two painting exhibitions at El Carmen’s Shiras Gallery, El Botanico by Rosa Torres and The Noise Time by Ricardo Escavy. Opening Thursday 10th May, 7.30pm 

Two new exhibitions are opening at Shiras Galería this Thursday, May 10 at 7:30 p.m. In the main room is ‘El Botánico’ the latest project by Valencian painter Rosa Torres. In the gallery’s downstairs space, known as the ‘Espacio Refugio’, artist Ricardo Escavy presents his new work ‘The Noise Time’.

In the exhibitions you’ll see the two Spanish artists use their unmistakable approaches to colour and composition. Both play with heightened colour and abstracted forms.

‘El Botánico’ (The Botanist) sings with Rosa Torres’s delight in Spain’s landscape. She uses the landscape as a guide; a starting point from which to work in her own artistic language. You’ll see that many of her paintings have no title. They capture the essence of a place through light, form and, of course, colour.

Critic Vicent Mateo says of El Botánico, ‘Rosa Torres creates her Botanical Garden, (by) submitting images of an ordered natural world to a new order. “

(“Rosa Torres crea su Jardín Botánico, somete las imágenes de esta naturaleza ordenada a una nueva ordenación”.)

Downstairs in the ‘Espacio Refugio’ (Refuge Space), you can contrast El Botánico with new work by emerging artist Ricardo Escavy. Escavy lives and works in Murcia, and his practice includes paint, screen print and installation. He recently enjoyed a successful solo show in the Artifact Gallery in New York.

 Ricardo Escavy, detail from The Noise Time (Image:  Shiras )
Ricardo Escavy, detail from The Noise Time (Image: Shiras)

With ‘The Noise Time’ Escavy asks us to imagine what would happen if sound and graphic art ‘seek to share a common space’.  

He sees the exhibition as a ‘microcosm where auditory and visual perception walk together’. Escavy warns us that the relationship between hearing and sight ‘behaves differently depending on the medium or support where it (the art) is displayed and can sometimes become confused’.

Confused or not, both shows will be a joy for the senses. They invite interesting comparisons between the two artists and, above all, present art in glorious, saturated colour.