Royal Academy, New Contemporaries show
Prices were decidedly affordable. None of those I mention below could afford the time their pieces took if they counted on their sales to pay their rents.
I didn’t take photographs because I had the catalogue under my arm & knew the RSA website had it covered. But, oddly, the only photo of Sam Drake’s work available on the Site, in the catalogue, & from the Edinburgh Reporter article, is the same black & white above (of a painting in colour). I liked Drake’s work, though I hope he learns to do his own drawing so that his paintings won’t be restricted by being painted on hard projected images. Still, I thought his application of paint showed power, & his choice of colour & composition, good taste. (between 950 & £4250)
Just as Goya’s black period chills with sinister titillation, so do Daphne Percy-Choffara’s interesting pieces. Heads drawn on paper glued to rough plywood panels & then half-hidden under layers of judicious raw & burnt umber glazes, have a wonderful presence. (the big ones at £1700)
Emily Stewart’s ‘18th century’ miniature portraits, done on acrylic the size & shape of a smartphone, delight with their dainty sensitivity. The image above does not do justice, not only a washed-out photo with lost detail, but larger than the original. (£500 each)
Having resigned myself to living in art’s posthumous epoch, I had to laugh at the plaques that accompanied the works. Each explained—as often as not in words that seemed chosen for being the biggest the dictionary holds—the intellectual concepts underpinning each artist’s oeuvre. Unheard of just a few decades ago. The fact artists are expected to explain their work to their audience is one more sign among many that the plastic arts are indeed dead.