“The Summer Exhibition has never looked so impressive.” The Times
A lovely arty friend, who is a member (Friend as members are known) of the Royal Academy of Arts invited me to join her at the Academy’s annual Summer Exhibition at the splendid Burlington House in Piccadilly, London. The large exhibition gives a considerable amount of amateur artists to chance to have their work exhibited alongside those more well-known creatives such as Tracey Emin, Sir Quentin Blake (you may recognise him as the illustrator of the Roald Dahl books) and the eccentric Turner-Prize-winning Grayson Perry to name a few. Even before you entered the historic building you walked under or past the unmissable vast welded-steel clouds sculpture entitled The Dappled Light of The Sun by Conrad Shawcross, that filled the Annenberg Courtyard in front of the main entrance.
After refreshment in Keeper’s House, the members only bar (one of the perk’s of being a Friend of the Academy) we started exploring the world’s oldest and largest open-submission exhibition. Now in its 247th year the Summer Exhibition has been a mainstay in the British cultural calendar since it started in 1769 and this year it was a colourful affair curated by Michael Craig-Martin. Jim Lambie’s ZOBOP had transformed the academy’s neo-classical staircase with an eye-popping riot of multi-coloured stripes created using hundreds of pieces of coloured vinyl tape, quite a site and impressive straight lines too.
The colour continued into the galleries with boldly painted turquoise, magenta and sky blue walls provided a vibrant backdrop to the art while other rooms were left white to allow the pieces to exude their vivid colours. The selected 1,231 works showcased something for everyone across all styles and media including painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture and film displayed in sixteen galleries. Craig-Martin and his team selected from 12,000+ entries submitted from both leading and emerging artists, who were permitted to put forward a maximum of two pieces of work for consideration. The majority of the work was also for sale and those pieces already sold were marked with a red dot/s.
THE DAPPLED LIGHT OF THE SUN by Conrad Shawcross
The Wohl Central Hall presented Matthew Darbyshire’s enormous multi wall polycarbonate and stainless steel figure Captcha No.11 ~ Doryphoros as its centrepiece which was surrounded by arches offering a glimpse into other galleries. The Architecture Gallery in the Large Weston Room had the theme ‘Inventive Landscape’ and it was here that I stumbled across my friend’s cousin Karl Singporewala’s work entitled Franklin’s Morals of Chess (Jade), a translucent acrylic chess set displayed on one of the large tables.
Here’s a selection of my photographs from the day, some depict celebrated artists work, others just caught my eye, some were just wacky and then there was my utter disbelief at others simplicity and hefty price tags (Grey Triangle for sale at £60,000) which obviously just shows my complete lack of knowledge or understanding of art because I just didn’t get it! This contemporary exhibition was most enjoyable and if you like art it’s the perfect place to spend a few hours, but you will just have to wait until next summer.
CAPTCHA NO.11 (DORYPHOROS) by Matthew Darbyshire
JULIE and ROB (tapestry) by Grayson Perry
FRANKLIN”S MORALS OF CHESS (Jade) by Karl Singporewala
COMPOSITE TREE, THE SYMPATHETIC TREE by William Kentridge
THE MODEL by Janet Payne
DESCENT TO VENT by Irmgard Parth, WALKING IN THE RAIN, SEOUL by Julian Opie, STONES of VENICE, SAN TROVASO (DIPTYCH) by Joe Tilson
BIG HEALTHY GIRL 1, 2 & 3 by Sir Quentin Blake
TRIANGLE PAINTING by Alan Charlton
BADGER by Tracey Emin
SUNIMI and BUDDHA by David Mach
THE BIRDS/A SECOND MARRIAGE by Anthony Green
AS YE SOW SO SHALL YE REAP: AN ALLEGORY (acknowledgements to Holman Hunt) by Michael Sandle
SMALL SPIN, RESERVE, HIDE, LOOK, SLEW & COLLECT by Sir Antony Gormley
Part of the TALL BOY sculpture by Cathie Pilkington
BABEL LONDON (AFTER BRUEGEL) by Emily Allchurch
ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS
Location: Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD
Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2015. All rights reserved.