21 June 2015

Summer Exhibition 2015: Royal Academy

It's real visual treat to wander through this selected exhibition and allow the eye to settle upon what it seeks. It's a good place to figure out what you look for in art, what your eye is naturally drawn to, and what you find immediately attractive.

Like at an art fair, and as this is a selling exhibition it is a market place of sorts, there is so much competing for attention that there is no time or inclination to allow much time for working out more difficult work that perhaps would be contemplated in a different context. This is an exhibition for liking art, and not bothering too much about what one does not naturally care for. Even then, the sheer volume only allows for a certain amount before visual fatigue sets in. So the pieces remembered after visiting, the pieces that have resonance, have to be a very distinct voice amongst the pleasant cacophony cramming into view. The curation, which includes many styles of work, allows for smaller and quieter pieces, and once again, the art that speaks the most eloquently is not always that which shouts the loudest.

The summer exhibition is very far from being a view of the current state of contemporary art, or at least the cutting edge of that - it is mainly palatable, ownable art, and while that is not at all a criticism, it's worth acknowledging that just because all art made today does not necessarily push the edges of redefining what art can be, neither does that make it redundant. While artists paint, painting is relevant, while artists make prints and draw, that is also the art of today. Much of art is about reiteration, and perhaps finding a new way to intone what has been noticed by generations of artists before.

Some pieces I particularly retained, because of their drama or sheer beauty:

Robin Friend. Exit Test = From the series Flotsam, Vomit & Boon

Clare Crines. Moon Anenome

Scott Mead. Looking Back

David Pearce. A Bend in the Road

Rose Hilton. Red studio 

Barbara Rae RA. colony - January 

Tim Shaw RA. Erebus (Man on Fire version II)

Suzanne Moxhay. Thicket

Carol Hodder. Winter Storm

Frank Bowling RA. Pickerslift

Jim Lambie. Zobop. RA

Jim Lambie's taped staircase is a sheer delight, and manages not to be optically overpowering and distorting. The choice of colours are cheering, and it's a marvellously understated celebratory installation or intervention which has pride of place and makes walking upstairs an event.

Summer Exhibition 2015
Royal Academy
8th June - 16th August 2015 


21st June 2015

1 comment:

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