RA Now – Royal Acedemy Burlington Gardens

Apologies for yet again reviewing a show in its last few days. RA Now is an exhibition of the current Royal academicians and is a good chance to see what the creme de la creme have been up to lately. It includes many of the major british artists of the moment including Grayson Perry, Tracey Emin, Anish Kapoor and David Hockney. All the works are available for sale through the RA website, that is of course if you have between £5000 and £200,000+ to burn.

So I’ll start on a positive and share the piece’s I enjoyed the most, I thought Chris Orr’s ‘On the Road to Damascus’ was very captivating it’s one of those pictures you could look at a hundred times and always see something new.

I was pleased to see another Norman Aykroyd whose work I fell a little bit in love with at the Summer Exhibition. This piece is called ‘St Kilda, Boreray’ and it’s got that magnificent atmospheric quality I’ve come to expect from his work.

I’d never heard of Michael Landy before and from a quick look into him online, I’m not sure if I’d like much of his other work. However this piece entitled ‘H.2.N.Y Ying is Yang’ is exactly the type of work I was hoping to see.

Ok so now to the not so positive, I found quite a few of the pieces unoriginal and as for being inspired by other artist they could almost have been done by them. I’ve provided some examples to highlight and better explain what I mean.

On the left is Anthony Eyton ‘Hanging Rock’ 2008-2009 and on the right is Paul Cezanne’s ‘Big tree’ 1904.

On the left is Kenneth Draper’s ‘Quarry – Ascension’ and on the right is Mark Rothko’s ‘Ochre and Red on Red’ 1954 . It’s hard to tell from these picture’s but in the flesh Draper’s work has a very Rothko feel. I love Abstract Expressionism and I like Draper’s Painting but it still lacks the originality I expect from an established artist.

Above Left is Gus Cumming’s ‘Memories’ 2008 and above right is Eric Perry’s ‘Natura I’ 2010, while below them is Joan Miro’s ‘The Escape Ladder’ 1940.

I don’t know if my expectation’s are just too high, but I found the exhibition on the whole uninspiring compared to the work up and coming artists are producing all over Britain. Now to end on a lighter note I found this work by Fiona Rae near the exit and it put a huge smile on my face. It’s called ‘Untitled (orange with black lace)’ and it list price is £10,000. The reason it made me smile is that the similarities between her work and the recent collages my 3-year-old has been bringing home from nursery is uncanny! (yes those are pipe cleaners)


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