‘Summer’ Exhibition at the Royal Academy 2020. It’s September and time for… yes, The Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. Postponed because of the pandemic, this 252nd annual extravaganza of art can finally be viewed. It’s a credit to the dedicated team at the gallery that they have managed to hang the show and present it to the public before the year is done. And what a treat it is to finally view the selected artworks in the the Piccadilly galleries. It’s the usual pick and mix of artworks, some by the great and good from the art world, and others by gifted artists who submitted their work at the start of the year and were lucky enough to be selected for a spot on the wall. Here’s my own pick and mix of the art on show.

I picked this group, above, because they illustrate the abundance of colour which fills the galleries. I particularly liked the vertical run of acrylic paintings by the late John Wragg RA (on the left).

It’s a shame I wasn’t allowed to take a closer look at this painting by Njideka Akunyili Crosby called Blend In-Stand Out. It’s on paper and uses acrylic, colour pencil charcoal and transfer. It’s just the thing I look for in a work – great use of paper (obviously) along with mixed media and really collage feel.

This lively portrait caught my eye and made me smile. It’s called breakfast with Violet and Adam and it’s a large oil painting by Joy Labinjo. A very original and engaging style. I liked the direct gaze of Adam, looking out of the picture.

Fional Rae RA presented four Abstract Drawings – gouache and watercolour on paper, which are just lovely to look at, full of movement and joy in the swirl of a brush and colourful mark making.

Above Fiona’s work are two drawings by Alexandra Blum – well, a shameless plug here for Alex who is a magnificent artist and creates drawings of great intensity and detail of places she looks at a lot (from the window of her home). A few years ago I spent a very happy day in Alexandra’s company making drawings, and collages, of Deptford Creek.

This one amused me. It’s a family portrait in watercolour and pencil by Jill Leman. It’s clearly Christmas (check out the paper hats) but each little face has been so sparely yet carefully made in a charming, illustrative style.

Mixed media – clever and eye-catching. This is by Athena Anastasiou entitled Bringing the Past to New Horizons and made with oil, wood and acrylic yarn.

The exhibition is open to the public ( all the social distancing elements are excellently in place) until 3rd January 2021.

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