Sunday, June 26, 2016

This year's Summer Exhibition (first notes)

is back to the normal white walls, and back to losing so many of the individual pieces which melt into their neighbours.  (Image above from here)  My immediate reaction is that overall I am not filled with as much delight as last year.   There are, of course individual pieces and groups which did catch my eye, delight, and even inspire.  
Bill Jacklin: Rink II carborundum
And the cherry on the cake was the separate display of Bill Jacklin's prints for which I had come prepared by reading the catalogue in advance, and which I very much enjoyed (both catalogue and prints).  I went there last so that I could come away positive, and with a coherent image in my mind.  Bill Jacklin is a painter and printmaker whose work I have been drawn to for many years now, after first seeing RA postcards of his prints.  So often it has been postcards which have alerted me to a particular artist, and it saddens me that I receive so few these days.  They are always such a pleasure, much preferred to an email.

Other prints at the Summer Exhibition which pleased start with Paul Furneaux, whose work I first encountered when researching for a Japanese woodcutting workshop three years or so go.  I have seen his work at each Summer Exhibition since, and still admire it.  This year there are two pieces: one three dimensional
City Trees II Japanese woodcut on tulip wood
and one mounted on a panel
Burnt Orange: Earth Japanese woodcut
I so enjoy the textures, the movement of the colour in each panel, and the placement/composition of the colours.  Each is somehow both calming and lively, with little surprises each time I look at them.

Stephen Chambers is another artist printmaker whose work I like.  This year two little prints attracted me:
Stupid Stupid: Cow & Brother etching
Stupid Stupid: Horse & Parent etching
As a Royal Academician he has six pieces in the show.  I was not so keen on any other than these two.

My admiration of the work of William Kentridge grows steadily, and I very much enjoyed his two pieces - the huge Mantegna (woodcut) is stunning
and not quite so big, but equally arresting Pocket Drawings 187-241 (lithograph on panel and cotton) had me transfixed for some time.

Ian McKeever's work always interests me, but I think that his pieces suffer rather in the mixed bag surroundings of the Summer Exhibition, his quiet luminosity losing out somewhat in the proximity of loud and showy neighbours.  I was intrigued by his three photopolymer gravure prints.  Of all his work on show they were the ones I was able to appreciate better, and my favourite - though by a very short margin - is EAGDURU 3.

I think that's enough for one post.


  1. It's good to be able to see a selection of what's on show given that I will not be able to make it to the exhibition this year. I enjoyed last year's even though I did get overwhelmed by the sheer number of works on display and I agree with you that some pieces lose out because of their neighbours.

    From what you have posted I particularly like the Bill Jacklin piece and Eagduru 3 which is my favourite.

  2. The Summer Exhibition is always far too full, Eirene, and I never try to see everything. It is inevitable that I miss good stuff, but there is so much anyway that I come away with good input nonetheless.
    Ian McKeever produces stunning work, and I hope you get a chance to see an exhibition without the crowded walls. The Bill Jacklin can be seen without going into the Summer Exhibition, and indeed there was no-one else there when we went in.

  3. A fascinating collection. I especially enjoyed the Paul Furneaux Japanese Woodcut 'Earth' and, like Eirene, Ian McKeever's beautiful 'Eagduru 3'. Perhaps next year I will manage to go to the Summer Exhibition.

  4. Margaret, I hope that you do manage to get there - perhaps this year as it has only just opened and will be on until August.