10 July 2012

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2012

Richard Spare
'Goldcrest'   drypoint and watercolour
A breath of fresh air compared to previous exhibitions!  I can only think it is down to a more creative way of thinking when displaying the work and the expertise of coordinator Tess Jaray RA.  The largest gallery has abandoned its' huge paintings and instead there are scores of much smaller pieces forming a wave like pattern along its' length.  Yes, you still experience slight neck ache but there is room to step back, find your own space and enjoy the rhythms of the display without feeling overloaded.

My favourite room as always is the sculpture, installed by Alison Wilding. This too had a new layout with a greater concentration of pieces down the centre of the room, displayed at different heights.  With such a wide a variety of materials and no connection beyond being 3D, the initial impression is more 'junk shop' than RA but look closer and spot the gems.  David Nash's burnt oak with its' velvety texture and pleasing shape,  Lucy Glendinning's 'Feather Child', Dido Crosby's bronze pigmy rabbit and Nuala O'Donovan's layers and layers of unglazed porcelain beautifully arranged to create a basket like form.  So many beauties and then of course the challenging ones like Harriet Aston's brown paper bag with 'moon gold' ....why??

This year I felt there were more textile related pieces and particularly good to see Caren Garfen and Effie Jessop expressing their thoughts with hand stitch.  Two beautiful, cast conctrete posts resembling driftwood and enhanced with fibres - Eleanor Wright, would stand proud in any textile exhibition.

This year I felt it was an an excellent exhibition. Where else can you see the work of Royal Academians and there is plenty of their work on view, hanging next to that of amatuers?     Jen

Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 4th June - 12th August 2012