Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

PUBLISHED: 02:18 20 June 2012 | UPDATED: 21:30 20 February 2013

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

Every year the Royal Academy receives thousands of submissions for its annual Summer Exhibition. Jenny Mark-Bell met four of the Sussex artists whose paintings were accepted this year

This year marks the Royal Academy of Arts 244th Summer Exhibition. As always, the worlds largest open submission contemporary art show is a celebration of talent both internationally-renowned and hitherto undiscovered.

George III founded the Royal Academy in 1768 with the aim of offering financial support to young scholars of the RA Schools by staging an annual exhibition. The Royal Academy remains privately-funded and money raised from admission fees still goes to support artists of the future. Academician Tess Jaray, who co-ordinated this years exhibition, and Royal Academy staff had to sift through more than 11,000 entries this year.

The resulting selection of 1,474 works is stunning. Smaller-scale works have been afforded top billing in Gallery III. Jaray wanted to do away with the idea of the hierarchy of the line where artists hope for their paintings to be as close to eye level as possible and has achieved it by hanging them in an undulating wave.

The Exhibition begins in the Wohl Hall, which has been painted red in homage to Matisse. The paintings in this space all use colour in bold and beautiful ways and the combined effect is truly disarming.

For the first time, film is included in the exhibition, with a whole room dedicated to Jayne Parkers film dealing with music, and established artists and academicians such as Tracey Emin RA and Christopher Le Brun PRA.

Sussex is well-represented this year, with 40 of our artists in the final exhibition. I spoke to four of them, some of whom were experiencing their first exhibition, while others are old hands.

Nick Carricks painting, Night Lights (Nocturnal) (Gallery III no.289) was inspired by the surroundings of the Downs. Nick has lived in Hove since 2007, and the fencing in the painting is inspired by what he describes as its decaying grandeur.

It is Nicks fifth time in the Exhibition, his first after a few years off. You can see his paintings, which he describes as straddling the periphery of abstraction and representation, at St Annes Gallery in Lewes, where he is an associated artist. Nick started as an abstract painter and he is always in search of diverse source materials, using old photographs and photographing his surroundings on a regular basis: Where I am is a big inspiration to me, he says.

Perdita Sinclair works from her studio in Brighton and her painting Tree (Gallery III, no. 430) is her second to be exhibited. Her first Summer Exhibition was in 2008. There are two strands to my work, says Perdita, who also paints figurative subjects under the name Perdita Carr. Every year I try out with both, and so far landscape is winning! This picture is quite simple. I dont try to be photorealist because I dont think you can ever compete with a landscape itself.

Perdita paints onto raw canvas with water-based washes, then acrylics and acrylic medium and, finally, oil paint:
I aim to capture light and air in all of my work and, through suggestive line and areas of virgin canvas, leave room for
the viewer.

In 2010, Perdita undertook a residency at the Booth Museum of Natural History, highlighting extinction. She exhibits at St Annes Gallery in Lewes and her portrait work was selected for the BP Portrait Awards at The National Portrait Gallery.

Two West Sussex artists are represented twice. Artists may submit a maximum of two works, and David Pearson, who recently returned to the UK after living in Spain for seven years, was delighted to find that his paintings, Block 31 From
My Studio (Gallery III no. 341) and Spanish Landscape with Five Encinas (Gallery III no. 352) both made it into the final exhibition.

In 2001, 2003 and 2004 Davids pieces were in the selected not hung category, so to have two paintings in this years exhibition is quite a coup. David grew up in the industrial north and was heavily influenced by what he saw around him. Now, after spending years in Spain, he uses vivid colours and particularly the piercing blue of sea, sky and swimming pools in his work. After receiving media attention in Spain and an exhibition
in Granadas Galeria Toro, David is now based in Wineham, near Henfield. He hopes that exhibitions in the area will follow, and some local galleries have registered their interest. We came to see the Hockney exhibition and I am now discovering painting on the iPad,
he says. I have been enjoying making new work.

David Humphreys from Steyning has had his work accepted fairly regularly for years. Unlike some of Davids work, neither picture in this years exhibition has a Sussex theme one, Spotty House, Tiree Hebrides, Scotland (Gallery V, no. 897) was inspired by regular trips to the islands. The other shows a Farm on Carn Llidi, Pembrokeshire (Gallery V, no. 960). I am half Welsh and half Scots, says David. So its a case of literally going back to my roots. He says of Pembrokeshire Its the sort of place where I feel very content, and the same goes for the Downs. Describing himself as a travelling painter, David says he is inspired by his voyages. Even in the bliss of Sussex, theres a telephone ringing and the need to make a living. I am inspired by far-away places. The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, sponsored by Insight Investment, runs from 4 June 12 August 2012

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An Art of Summer at the athenaeum

The athenaeum, famous for its silver screen clientele and discreet glamour, has teamed up with The Royal Academy of Arts to offer an Art of Summer package. The package starts at 239 exclusive of VAT for one nights stay and two tickets for the Summer Exhibition.

The hotels Piccadilly location couldnt be more perfect, overlooking Green Park and a very short walk from The Royal Academy. The ambience is luxurious yet unstuffy, with lovely touches like free soft drinks and snacks in each room. Food, by Executive Chef David Marshall, is excellent. The hotel was recently awarded Top London Afternoon Tea 2012 by The Tea Guild for the exceptional service, quality fare and the extensive knowledge of the staff.

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