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
8th June - 16th August 2015
21st June 2015