Art to reflect the world we live in – this year’s Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art in London puts the focus on the natural world, animals, plants, people, portraits and the built environment. Curator Jock McFadyen RA brings a serious message to the creation of art and, with his team of fellow curators, has filled the Piccadilly gallery with a glorious mix of art which is well worth a visit.

Visitors to the Royal Academy’s 251st Summer Exhibition will enter the first gallery to find themselves initially surrounded by quite the menagerie of animals, real, imagined and fanciful.  The star turn was definitely David Mach RA’s ‘Easy Tiger’ a life size sculpture of a pacing tiger covered with wrappers from M&S Tunnock tea cakes – playful, eye-catching and deliciously original.


At the press preview for the show the co-ordinator, Jock McFadyen RA  told us that he, and a stalwart team of RA judges, had viewed 16,250 submissions, whittled them down to 2,300 and selected 1573 to appear.  That’s a lot of disappointment for many artists but huge cudos and glamour for the chosen few. And the selection did not disappoint; in fact I was really impressed by the huge variety on show and scale too.

David Hepher, who has been depicting urban high rise building for many years, contributed at vast painting: Hey Wayne on the Meath Estate.


Anything involving paper or mixed media catches my eye and there were several really intriguing pieces. I liked the sculpture by Hew Lock of Albert, Prince of Wales, adorned with beads and jewels and Rod Melvin’s knitted yarn portrait.


Blonde on Blonde, oil by Grace O’Connor. I liked the impressions of paper and bits of tape with this amusing portrait.


Above: The Call, by John Wragg RA


Above: An Austere Beauty, Iceberg off Cape Mercy, Baffin Island by Nicholas Jones


Above: Species: Coelacanth (Diptych) monotype by Stuart Mackenzie.


|Above: The Painter Van Gogh by Hughie O’Donoghue RA


Above: Dance of the Couds and Breezes V11 monotype by Bill Jacklin RA


Channelling thoughts of Bruegel, I liked this  etching by Mychael Barratt entitled Richmond Park.


Above: detail from Calera Overlook, a four-part woodcut on Japanese paper by Emma Stibbon RA


|Above: About to Get Up Again by Ray Ward (acrylic on card)


Above: Beautiful Boy by Deniz Huysal, acrylic on paper.  A really compelling portrait.


Above: detail from The Garden of Earthly Delights by Claire Douglass – a massive painting depicting park life, very fantastical park life.

So many great pictures.

The Summer Exhibition is open from Monday 10th June to 12th August.















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