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London Art | Royal Academy

The Summer Exhibition for 2015 at the The Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly London was one of the most exciting gallery visits of all. Imagine room after room of all your favourite artists hung four and five paintings high and exhibited on walls painted fluorescent pink and lurid green. I hear your outrage but seriously, it was extraordinarily good.

The Royal Academy of Arts was having its Summer Exhibition whilst we were in London. I was not aware that the Royal Academy is operated as an independent charity that is totally dependent on visitors and benefactors to operate. It is run by artists and you have to be invited by your peers to become a member so you can imagine, the list of members reads like the who’s who of the art world.

As you walk into the Courtyard to the Royal Academy complex you walk into this steel forest.

Tim Shaw | Erebus (Man on Fire Version 1) | Painted foam, polyurethane and steel

All of my photographs of this installation failed because the installation is so huge and complex. Shaw cross describes it as follows: “‘At first, it could look like a sort of First World War, anti-tank barrier. But, on further observation, it will reveal itself as a complex rule-based piece full of feral, chaotic, beautiful, flowing energy, juxtaposed against this very ordered courtyard. (’ It was quite amazing to walk through because it felt like being in a forest with autumnal leaves ready to fall.

This is the staircase leading from the courtyard to the Central Hall. It is a completely appropriate introduction to the scale and impact of what is to follow in the galleries at the top of the stairs.

Jim Lambie | ZOBOP | Coloured Vinyl Tape | NFS

As you walk up the grand staircase into the Wohl Central Hall there is a massive sculpture vaguely reminiscent of Michaelangelo’s David but this one is made out of multi wall carbonate and stainless steel.

Matthew Darbyshire | 18 - CAPTCHA NO.11 (DORYPHOROS)

Medium: Multiwall Polycarbonate And Stainless Steel

Dimensions: 235 x 75 x 75 cm | Sold for $14,400

Photograph: Jenny Reddin

Turn to the left and there is a massive hot pink gallery with the most incredible array of artwork and sculpture including a couple of Hughie O’donoghue’s from his animal farm series.

Hughie O’Donoghue inspired my early work. In particular his peat bog man series were the inspiration for my body series. When I saw that he was exhibiting works in the Royal Academy I was very excited. These works are beautifully painted but I have to say I was looking for more of the earthiness of what has been called “reverse archaelogy” (

Hughie O’Donoghue | Animal Farm | Oil | £80,000

Photograph: Jenny Reddin

Tony Bevan | Tree No 7 | Acrylic and Charcoal | £81,800

I loved this Tony Bevan work which is apparently part of his Chinese tree series. It reminded me of the William Dellfield Cook exhibition at Tarrawarra Museum of Art.

The following work by Keith Milow was shortlisted for the Charles Wollaston Award. It has not photographed very well but it was a very striking piece. According to Wikipedia he is influenced by Mondrian and repetitively uses the Latin cross with such mathematical precision that his work looks as if it has been computer generated.

Keith Milow | First and Last | Acrylic | £17,500

This sculpture was incredible. I photographed it from a number of angles but was not satisfied with any of them because there is just too much to capture in one shot. I strongly recommend you have a look at Tim’s website if you are interested in this work.

Tim Shaw | Erebus (Man on Fire Version 1) | Painted foam, polyurethane and steel

All in all, you can probably tell that the visit to the Royal Academy was a thrill. Please visit the website because I have only scratched the surface and there are many other artists and artworks that are well worth looking at.

What has been one of your favourite exhibitions?

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