Tuesday, June 23, 2015


This year the Summer Exhibition was curated by the artist Michael Craig-Martin whose own work involves the use of what I think of as intellectual clean pastel colours.  He used these colours on the walls of four galleries with great success, we thought.  One effect was that the paintings somehow retained their own space much more than against white.
Ian McKeever: Portrait of a Woman
Ian McKeever's work certainly benefited - his work seems to disappear when crowded by others against white.  This year his painting glowed against the pink wall.  I also very much like the other three pieces he has in the show, in different rooms, and on white walls - thus somewhat 'hidden'.  The link in the title of the piece above shows the other three if you scroll down, and you can click on the pix to find info on each.
Most of the work which appealed to me this year seemed to be abstracts or landscapes.  In this post I shall cover the abstracts.  I can usually define, or at least rationalise what attracts me about most work that I like, but with this little piece below by Mary Malenoir I cannot really pin down what it was that drew me across the room.
With Paul Furneaux I know that the intriguing combination of print and sculpture, the muted colours, the quiet presence which induces contemplation is what attracts me to his wall-mounted pieces of printed paper on wood. City trees (below) was able to create for itself a distinctive space in the blue-painted room somewhat cacophonously filled with sculpture.
It is such a boon this year that every piece of work in the exhibition is illustrated on the RA Summer Exhibition website.  It so aids memory, and is great for those who cannot visit to get an idea of what the show contains.  All the images in my posts about the exhibition are from that site.  The RA permitted photography except in a few particular cases, but a) my camera skills, the glass, the angle, etc. are impediments to a good reproduction, and b) the pix on the site are the ones submitted by the artists themselves, I imagine, and so as good as possible (and also explains why they are not seen against the coloured background).
Jasper Johns, as an Honorary RA, has one piece in the exhibition, and I found it fascinating.  Inspired by a photograph of Lucian Freud which had been found folded in Francis Bacon's studio, Johns worked on several pieces entitled Regrets.  I had not seen the exhibition, but was enthralled by the catalogue and especially by the idea - so it was with great delight that I saw one of the series in the Summer Exhibition (image above).  It also is against a pink wall, and works really well.
I enjoyed Philippa Stjernsward's Drift
and Sam Hodge's Watershed
and Siw Lura's Organisme 10
and Rose Hilton's Red Studio
and I loved Jo Gerner's print Scission 2
and Susanna Heron's Drawing 3 for a Still Point, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral
and Ann Christopher's Floating Shadow 1 (and 2, which you can see if you scroll down on this link)
These are the pieces which particularly attracted my attention.  As ever with the Summer Exhibition, I'm sure I miss gems, but there is only so much one can take in.  These are the artists whose work I already know, and these examples reinforce a liking, or they are artists about whom I shall try to find out more.

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