Since 1768 The Royal Academy has held the largest open contemporary art exhibition in the world. Summer Exhibition 2011 – Exhibitions – Royal Academy of Arts
Both established and emerging artists may submit up to two pieces of works for the Summer Exhibition, prints, paintings, architectural models and sculpture of every style and media are welcomed. There are ten awards with prizes totalling £65,000. These range from the top prize of £25,000 down to £1,000. Winners are selected from the 1,200 works exhibited.
One of the things I Love about going to an art exhibition where there is a sole exhibitor is that you get the full hit, straight in to a vein. The high intoxication of great art, or severely hung over by not so great art, but either way you get the full hit. From the second you enter the artists portal, your senses are immersed in provocation, submerged in another world, subliminally penetrated. A personal experience of surrender or submitting behind a shield of protective armour, until one emerges back into a slightly different world, from the one that one new before they entered the exhibition. A double portal. The Tate’s recent ‘Gauguin’ and ‘Exposed’ exhibitions were both brilliant at achieving this.
This is not what the Summer Exhibition is about. Do not go expecting to experience the deepest intensity that these sublime collections can evoke. The summer exhibition is all about new art works that can personally attract your attention, with so many pieces screaming for you to ‘look at me, look at me’. It is about art that may temp you, tantalize you and tease you in to taking a second and a third glance. It is about art that dares you to place your imaginary red dot on a price tag that could buy you a new car or a boat, or a flat on the river. It is a cattle market on the senses. A great fickle carnival of an affair.
It is so worth joining in the fun. There were some amazing pieces that I went back to again and again No. 107 Deep impact was very Old Testament and although it’s size was fairly obnoxious it was the volcanic mixed media of aluminium that made it so intensely magnetic. I didn’t, particularly like it but it kept drawing me back in.
No. 193 ‘Look Closer and Closer’ was a beautiful large romantic screen print by Rob Ryan. A village set within fir trees, under a canopy of shooting stars all bathed in moonlight. It was black and white and inscribed with the words “Look closer and closer and look further and further and listen harder and harder to the noise of the earth and the silence of the stars, and what you will hear is a small voice that whispers don’t try to get…try to give”.
I am a lover of Rob Ryan’s work, they all have such a beautiful original magical vintage feel to them. The concentrated scale of the photos do not do the intrinsic detail justice. Go and see for yourself.
No. 357 Arrival (King’s Cross St Pancras Station) an etching by John Duffy was teasing me. Slick, cool and stylish with crisp details and shadows that drew me into them. And surprisingly affordable in comparison. I had no choice but to resist. It became less and less attractive because it was a popular choice according to the red dots.
No. 702 was truly staggering and would look perfectly perfect in my dream contemporary vaulted ceiling white washed pad, just beyond the dining table, where my guests could spend hours eating and unravelling the intricate detail. Pretentiously called ‘Sweetly the Air Flew Overhead, Battle with Unicorns’. By, Cathy de Monchaux. IT WAS AMAZING. A whole snowy scene of 3D unicorns in battle with their horned warriors made from elastoplast, copper wire, brass, beads, feathers, silk, and lots of white on white paint all set in a long glass box frame. So much detail. A whole mystical world of a picture. But I fear after the carnival I would soon tire of it.
If you are really lucky there will be a treasure or two captured that you will revisit in your mind many many times. Treasure that you could never ever tire of.
I fell absolutely in Love with no. 194 Mijam, 2011 by Julian Opie. At £7,200 each for one of 40 prints, The mystery of the imagination begins to weave her magic. Mary, Eve, ME ? A cobalt blue and red inkjet print of a pregnant woman. Still so strong in my mind. Beautiful and bold and I still Love her weeks later.
Then I found a second treasure, hidden away in the small weston room, she toiled with my affections, revelatory and playful no. 532 ‘The Infant’ by PJ Crook, a tinted gesso for £3,450. a wonderfilled small painting of an unrestrained infant free riding on the back of a tiger, oblivious to being protected from above by an angel. The Holy Spirit in the form of a dove inspiring and guiding and in full flight leading the way. A perfect find at the end of The Summer Exhibition 2011. Perfectly imprinted in my conscience. Clever me. Clever artist.
If you would like to submit your artwork for 2012 you can do so through http://www.royalacademy.org.uk from January 2012.