RA Summer Exhibition

A diversion from the literary for you today – we went down to London to see the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (it closes on the 12th, so get in quick if you’re planning to go!) . All the links will take you to the show catalogue.

Jock McFadyen,
Le Village Hollandais RA 2019
Jock McFadyen, Buffalo Grill, RA 2017

This year’s exhibition was curated by Jock McFadyen – whose linear landscapes of deserted highways etc seem to get more and more compressed each year. Back in 2017, his Buffalo Grill (left) entranced me; this year I had to peer much closer to see the houses in his Le Village Hollandais! (right).

Bill Jacklin RA, Road at Night with Stars 1

Since I’ve been going to the RA Summer Exhibition (this was my 3rd year), I can now recognise several artists who crop up every year with ease – notably Sir Michael Craig-Martin whose bold works are distinguishable at 100 paces! I’m not a fan.

Much more to my taste is Bill Jacklin who in the past years has had lots of soft focus pictures of people dancing in the snow on show – there was one of those this year too which drew me like a magnet, but I particularly loved this one (right) – yours for £58,000!

My favourite work on show this year was by Emily Allchurch – Babel Britain (after Verhaecht) (below), which was actually painted in 2017, and was also used earlier this year for the book cover of Sam Byers’s novel Perfidious Albion. To see it up close was simply stunning (and I think it is backlit).

Emily Allchurch, Babel Britain (after Verhaecht)
Amalia Pica, Catachresis #84 Head of the Mop, Elbow of the Pipe and Neck of the Bottle

It wouldn’t be the Summer Exhibition without a few artworks which make you laugh, but also question whether they are ‘art’!

Amalia Pica had two works in the show – this one (right) for £4,000 – made from ‘found objects’, and another for £10,000 which comprised a teepee of two garden rakes and a chair leg with a saw. If someone could explain the concept to me in these post-Duchamp days, I’d be grateful, but until then, I find them ridiculous. Both are still for sale…

It felt like there was more photography, artworks featuring manipulated photography, and photo-real paintings this year. There was a set of huge photographs by Wim Wenders in a separate room near the Burlington Arcade entrance, which were rather fine, and another in the main galleries Street Front in Butte, Montana, which echoed Hopper.

Overall, I enjoyed the show very much, probably more so than last year. To finish, here’s a collage of some of the other works that caught my (or my daughter’s) eyes, including the magnificent tiger whose stripes are made from the wrappers of M&S / Tunnocks Tea-Cakes!

4 thoughts on “RA Summer Exhibition

  1. cath says:

    I don’t say I’d want to pay for the Amalia Pica, but I find myself oddly drawn to it. Otherwise, I’d love prints of the Jacklin and the Allchurch. So glad you shared this, as I’m unlikely to get there in person.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      You can see everything in the show online – click on any one of the links to go there. I wouldn’t have taken a photo if I hadn’t been drawn to the Amalia Pica – but I still find it difficult to see as great art!

      • cath says:

        Yes, thanks for that. I’ve had a nice browse, admiring the exhibits and the prices! I’d love to hear or read an expert’s assessment of the Pica works, and a couple of others. I do like art to have a ‘story’, but maybe that’s a little simple.

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