Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Space for contemplation

is not normally what one associates with the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.  Traditionally the paintings are packed in cheek by jowl and stacked high up to the ceiling.  True, over the past years the spacing of the large paintings has eased somewhat - this year we found it the best yet for room of Academicians' work; each not encroaching on the next too much.
There was also a light work, Sensing Thought by James Turrell included in a separate room (which was also a corridor), and so, yes it was possible to sit for a few moments and rest the eyes and mind through a wash of colours.  But it is impossible to stand in contemplative mode for long in front of individual works on the wall.  Two artists in particular would have benefited from a complete lack of neighbours.
Ian McKeever's work I find has always suffered at the Summer Exhibition.  This year I was unfamiliar with his current work, but was still attracted to the pieces.  Good representations of the three pieces are on McKeever's website.  They are entitled Eagduru studies - the word eagduru being the Old English word for window - and are combines of photograph and painting (interesting link here).  I would like to find out a bit more, but information seems a little elusive - enigmatic, like the pieces themselves.
The second artist whose work I would have liked to separate out from their surroundings is Paul Furneaux.  I have been wanting to see his work for real since I first found out about him and wrote a post.  I missed his 3D piece in a previous Summer Exhibition.  The image above is similar to rather than the actual print Sumi-Rain, a large Japanese woodblock print.  I was also unable to find a photo of this year's 3D piece: Marking Time II (tulip wood, Japanese paper, binder, and rice paste) - although it does not say so I believe that it is made by pasting the Japanese woodblock printed paper onto the elegant strips of wood.  Below is an example of the kind of work it is.
  Drifting clouds
I was not disappointed in my expectation.  I loved the work, and as I say would have loved to sit and stare for a while at the subtleties of colour.  My mind may still be full of the colours of Sutherland, but I found them in the works, and would have liked to explore that more.  I am sad to say that my memory of them has become rather fugitive.  The pleasure remains, however.


  1. The colours in these pieces by Paul Furnaux are beautiful - calm and contemplative so I can see they're hard to view in a busy place. We're off up to Aberdeenshire again for a few days soon - more gentle northern colours to savour.

  2. Margaret, I hope that you find more nuggets of inspiration. I remember that the crepuscular light is wondrous at this time of year.