Run without interruption since 1769, the Summer Exhibition is the world’s largest open submission art show and brings together art in all mediums – prints and paintings, film, photography, sculpture, architectural works and more – by leading artists, Royal Academicians and household names as well as new and emerging talent.
This year, acclaimed British painter Jock McFadyen RA takes the mantle from Grayson Perry to coordinate the 251st Summer Exhibition. Over 1,500 works are on display, most of them for the first time. Highlights include an animal-themed ‘menagerie’ in the Central Hall, with works by artists including Polly Morgan, Charles Avery, Banksy and Mat Collishaw. Artist sisters Jane and Louise Wilson RA have curated two galleries, one of which showcases work exploring light and time. Further artists exhibiting include Jeremy Deller, Marcus Harvey and Tracey Emin RA, and Honorary Academicians Anselm Kiefer, James Turrell and Wim Wenders. Outside the galleries, international artist Thomas Houseago has taken over the RA’s courtyard with a group of large-scale sculptural works, and the exhibition spills out into nearby Bond Street with a colorful installation of flags featuring work by Michael Craig-Martin RA.
Quadern de Pedra by Danielle Creenaune is a series created over the duration of 2018 – 2019. A Quadern in Catalan is a booklet and Pedra means stone. Thus translating to a booklet of stone. This series presents landscapes as pages in stone; each page exists as a poem of our human experience with nature, history and geology.
The technique is chine collé and stone lithography. Chine collé is a technique whereby the image is printed onto a thin Japanese paper and pasted to a heavier backing paper. In stone lithography, the image is drawn onto a piece of Bavarian limestone. Lithography is based on the principle that the drawn image is grease-loving and the limestone is stone is water-loving, hence they repel each other. The drawing is created directly onto the stone, processed and then when printing, the stone is kept damp. The drawn areas accept ink while the humid non-image areas repel it. The image is printed by hand and run through a manual Lithography printing press. The delicate wash effects are called ‘reticulation’ and this is created by the lithographic drawing ink called tusche. It contains grease and when mixed with water it dries producing this effect.
‘I began working on this series before leaving Barcelona, taking visual notes from my last journeys into the Catalan Pyrenees, a pivotal place and inspiration for my work over the last 18 years. In this landscape, I feel a sense of mediation and also intense energy. As with many of my works I feel there are opposing forces at play, balancing the complex and the simple, the sensitive and the bold, intimacy and grandeur, the inside world of personal sentiments and the outside world of nature’s rawness. I hope to continue the series based on Australian landscapes and in a way chart the transition back to this familiar landscape.’ – Danielle Creenaune.
Quadern de Pedra 05 by Danielle Creenaune is currently on display in Gallery VII. Gallery VII is curated by Anne Desmet RA and explores urban-focused sustainability. Key works such as Claire Douglass’s painting The Garden of Earthly Delights (which depicts a plethora of characters from across the arts, politics, TV and sport, including President Trump, Simon Cowell and Jeff Koons’s balloon dog, who frolic recklessly with no thought of their impact on the environment) are shown alongside limited-edition prints. The environmental theme is also seen in Emily Allchurch’s monstrous illuminated Babel Britain (After Verhaecht) and Ade Adesina’s climate-change-induced tornado that unexpectedly drops airborne sharks onto cities past and present.
The Summer Exhibition runs from 10 June – 12 August 2019 – Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD.