By special request of one of my readers, this post covers again the Royal Academy.
If you haven't been then it is worth going to and is easy to get to. It is a short walk from Piccadilly station just past the splendid Burlington Arcade and opposite Fortnum and Mason's. A hint. If you arrive on the hour you can see the Fortnum clock and two automata emerge from in 18th century dress and nod at it each other.
The Royal Academy is inside an impressive archway, on a site that it shares with a number of other societies such as the Royal Society. There is nearly always an installation in the courtyard. At the moment is a monumental Iron structure, reminiscent somewhat of three blooming overly regular flowers by one of the RA's members, Conrad Shawcross. It is at its best in bright sunlight when the shadows on the paving are intriguing.
There is nearly always an exhibition on. At the moment it is the Summer Exhibition which I have written about previously (see my previous post). The exhibitions are quite pricey unless you are a friend of the academy (when they are free) or have some kind of concession. I have an art pass which gives me 50% off there and most other galleries.
However you can nearly always go in anyway and the building, in its 19th century grandeur is well worth seeing. At the moment there is a free exhibition on by Eileen Cooper. Have a look if you can. If you are there for a paid exhibition take a look afterwards.
The calm consistency of a single artist exhibition makes for a nice counterpoint to the hectic summer exhibitions. Through three rooms all the works have a very similar style. Mainly black and white with naïve bold strokes in I think charcoal (or similar) with characteristic over large head and features. It is all relatively recent works so it is not like other exhibitions where you get a retrospective with changing styles. Interesting none the less.
Three works stood out for me. In the first room next to each other there is a woman with a tiger (a common theme) and next to that a man with an elephant. They are witty and striking pieces. By far my favourite though was a picture of the artist’s studio. This is positively funny (in the best possible way). I particularly enjoyed the representation of some of the other works on display in the background of the piece.
If you do go, look at the ceiling in the third room. You won't be disappointed.
William John Mackenzie
I am an artist with a specialism in landscapes and still life. My contact details are here.