Culture Show special on the RA Summer Exhibition , we made our annual pilgrimage a bit earlier than usual. Entry was through the Central Hall and they'd changed the rooms around from previous years ( more room for prints and drawings in I and II than the Large Weston Room) so didn't follow a logical order as in the past! A lot of people are rather sniffy about the Summer Exhibition (refering to it as a car boot sale among other derogatory terms) but I love it for its diversity. I usually 'discover' new artists (at least to me ) and reaquaint myself with old favourites and this year was no exception
So let's do a tour!
First stop was the lecture room of Royal Academicians curated by Michael Craig- Martin. I loved the Antony Gormly piece -it looks organic , like a swarm of bees for a distance but made of geometric forms and Cornelia Parker's 'Endless Sugar' instalation of 30 squashed silver sugar bowls was subtle and mesmerising. You were so aware of the volume that had been sucked out of each piece and the subtle variation.
Next room 'IX' , has an embroidered piece 'Heartbeat' by Miranda Argyle - pleased to say much more prominent than her piece hidden away in the Small Weston Room in in 2009. It was 'Dagenham ' by Jock McFadyen that drew my eye- it looked at first glance quite ordinary but with a dramatic sky and then you saw the detail of a thin line of house and buildings
In room VII, being on the lookout for boat paintings 'the deadliest catch' by Jonathan Wolfenden caught my eye as did the subtle drawings( almost like a linocut) of 'River Lune' by Milan Ivanic.
I'm not sure I agree with the curator of room V that it is ‘only for people who are sensitive, intelligent and thoughtful. No one else will enjoy it: the works are delicate, subtle and rich.’ but it was without doubt my favourite. From the sarcophagus of bones by Olu Shobowale to the gouaches of Ian McKeever, there was much to enjoy. The sculpture by Cathy de Monchaux while uncomfortable was fantastic (in all its definitions) with its depiction of strange figures on unicorns like a renaissance painting in 3D. In the category of 'I wish I'd made that' was the painting 'Cartwheeler ' by Melanie Comber in oil and pigment and 2 works by Philippa Stjernswald: quiet , textured pieces in oil ,wax and mixed media.
By this time I was starting to flag (well there are over 1000 pieces in the exhibibition ), resisting the Pimm's,I managed to have a quick skim of Room III , agreeing with the critics for once that the hanging did most of the work no favours. No time to absorb the prints , drawings and artists's books apart from the intricate folded paper cathedral window patchwork of antique books by Francisco Prieto .
Just have to go back for a second visit