Friday, 5 June 2015

Royal Academy Summer Preview

The way in to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is past the statue of Sir Joshua Reynolds. On this occasion his paintbrush appears to conduct Conrad Shawcross' metallic tetrahedrons entitled The Dappled Light of the Sun. You need to walk right underneath this mighty work to sense its true effect.

The exhibition has run annually since 1769 and this time opens properly on Monday, but I had an invitation to the preview, which had a bit of a party atmosphere. I'm not sure, but I don't think they have alcohol flowing on the normal days, but I could be wrong?
Anyway, it's the show where well-known artists and regular members of the public have a chance to show work together. This year I think 12,000 submissions were sliced down into 1,200 exhibited works.
PR Shot RA Summer ExhibitionThey've gone for impact this year, with strident colours right from the entry staircase and amongst the enormous variety of works displayed in the various rooms. Altogether, there's about ten rooms containing the artwork, with each room individually curated.

There's a small guide book listing every piece, but I prefer to get the bigger catalogue, which doesn't have everything neatly arranged by number, but gives more of a sense of the whole show.
Even for the preview, it could get a little busy at times, although when it opens fully, there may well be lines along Piccadilly for the first few days, like in the RA publicity picture.

I like this exhibition and enjoyed wandering around.

There's plenty to look at, a few personal treasures to spot, a chance for some people spotting and *tsk* some good conversations to overhear.

I've decided to show a few of the pieces that caught my eye. You'll have to excuse that I took their pictures on my phone, to escape too much attention.

If you'd like a wider view, there's a gallery of some of the other early visitors, standing by various artworks here.
In my case, sometimes it's the smaller items like this woodcut from Eileen Cooper. It's called 'Crazy'. Judging from the little dots already on it, it would seem to be a popular piece. Eileen's exhibiting another lovely piece too, called Dancing and Solitude.
Then this one above, which, for me has a sort of London vibe, with the umbrella business and all. Looks like the City, on a windy and rainy evening. I need to check the catalogue though, because there doesn't seem to be any red in the painting, so it might be abroad somewhere?

Or how about something bigger? As ye sow shall ye reap: An allegory, by Prof Michael Sandle. This one below needs a ten minute pause to get ones head around...
And then there's something smaller but prismatically eye-catching. A sculpture in resin from Anish Kapoor. He of the big squiggly red Orbit at the Olympic Park.
I'd be looking out for something triangular, too. This fits the bill, although I can't help thinking it would be better in orange? But that's just me. Sorry, Alan Charlton (but I like it anyway).
There's a piece from Grayson Perry too, another of his rich tapestries. This one riffs off a quiet Essex theme, notice the detailing in the woman's charm bracelet. The three Essex seax are there, looking like scimitars. You can see the quiet sadness in the eye of the man, too.
And, there is so much more, but I'll have to stop.

Just these few items make a show in itself. If I return for another visit after it quietens down in 2-3 weeks, then I'm sure I'll have a whole other view point.
And meantime, here's a video with a few snips from the preview party. Spot the celebrities, who were out in force.

Summer Exhibition Preview Party 2015 from Royal Academy of Arts on Vimeo.

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