Summer Exhibition At The Royal Academy Of Arts

  • 02 Sep - 08 Sep, 2017
  • Marjorie Husain
  • Art

“Sight is one of the ways in which we first consciously encounter the world. Yet the act of looking involves more than sight, it is a physical, phenomenological act that incorporates all the senses. As we look with our eyes, we are aware with our skin, the smells that enter our nostrils, the tastes that linger in our mouths, the sounds that fill our ears. The translations of all these sensations into a wide array of different narrative forms inspire the artist.” – Eileen Cooper OBE RA

The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition in London is the world’s largest open-submission exhibition, with a jury consisting of esteemed curators welcoming the presence of established and emerging artists.

The recent exhibition was the 249th year of the event, with exhibits that included architecture, video films, painting, drawing and sculpture.

Entering the exhibition, one remembered that Pakistan’s great artist, A.R. Chughtai, entered his work for exhibition in the Royal Academy to much appreciation in the 1930’s. He was the first Asian artist to be chosen to participate in the event.

Every year, 1,000 artworks are selected from 12,000 entries, the largest open-submission show in the world.

The aim of the curators for the current exhibition this year was to prepare the Summer Exhibition for the future with the increase in the number of younger artists showing their work, and at the same time appealing to a broader national and international base.

The exhibition also welcomed a number of international artists. Viewing the work of numerous artists one discovered Zak Ové’s beautifully crochet doilies creating a garden worked on sacking material, an intricately sculpted Untitled Throne, Lorraine Robbins pencil work, Rhino, and Charlotte Verity’s delicately worked painting titled, Istalif.

A great annual favourite in the exhibition is the artist Philip Sutton, whose oil on canvas paintings are set off by colourful frames. Tracey Emin CBE RA contributed pink neon words against a black background. Never Again she wrote enigmatically, while Yinka Shonibare’s Angel involved acrylic screen print and digital print.

Eileen Cooper OBE RA, a well-known artist and teacher contributed greatly to the show as part of the curatorial, hanging committee and also contributed beautiful work to the show.

As always the exhibition was packed with people from all over the world, and one seldom sees so many ‘red dots’ (sold symbols) at any other exhibition. The hall containing drawings and prints is particularly popular with buyers and works are often sold at reasonable prices. One discovers prints with frames covered in red dots – one particular print with over 125 bookings.

Creating the diversity of art, artists involved numerous styles and materials.

Among the well-known artists who displayed their work one discovered Amish Kapoor, with his latest work in silicone and fibre glass titled Unborn, a large construction fixed to a wall.

One noted the work of Rebecca Salter, whose art involves numerous materials for the delivery of the shapes, colours and forms decided upon. These included linen, wood, oil, print, paper and ink. Of her work it was said: “Not only is she receptive to the distinctive quality of these materials, but she allows her ideas to develop and emerge through the process of working with them.”

Delightful abstract paintings were the works of Dan Perfect, whose painting titled Proteus was worked with oil and acrylic on linen, and Fiona Rae RA whose dancing shapes composed of oil on canvas was titled, Many-Coloured Messenger Seeks her Fortune.

On visiting the Architecture room, one found emphasis on working drawings giving a view of the architects’ creative practice.

New areas of creativity to the event included the multiscreen installation of a film by Isaac Julien, described by the programme as “A profound and thoughtful close, echoing many of the concerns that run through the galleries,” along with Western Union Series No.9 Shipwreck – Sculpture for the new Millenniumm, Duratrans image in lightbox.

Julien’s film of wall covering screens showed varied images throughout the large room which greatly interested viewers who sat on the floor throughout the space, totally engrossed in the films that carried images of broken boats adrift at sea, and visuals of once grand houses now neglected as well as images of the filmmakers message and how he views the current times.