The trip up to London to drop off my paintings at the RA rejection show was a dry run. The Megabus was a slog, but it sorta worked out, the shitty cheap frames I got from Ikea not so much. As my old framer is out of the framing business I had to find someone new. Davies Framing in Grangetown came up trumps and the painting looked amazing. I'd shared an image of my latest painting on Facebook and although talk is cheap on Social Media, it got a lot of positive reaction, so I thought I'd look around for an exhibition to submit it to. I saw an upcoming exhibition in London, submitted, and Bob's your uncle it got accepted.
I got into London earlier than expected and (thank God for Sat Nav!) got to the Meiner Gallery on Southwalk St early. As always it was a relief to find the gallery and drop the painting off, and across the road was the Tate Modern. I thought it would be rude not to pop in.
I hadn't been in for awhile, and certainly not since the Blavatnik building's been opened. The Tate really seemed to be refreshed with a new wave of acquisitions. Many of the artists I didn't know and I found the work fresh and inspiring. Inspiring in as much as it's given me a kick to get back to my studio to work. I had only intended to visit the RA Summer Exhibition. I find that if I try and cram too many exhibitions I get visual fatigue and after awhile don't take too much in, so I only spent around an hour at the Tate. It was the quietest I've ever seen it, although to be fair it was a late Monday morning.
I scooted across town to Green Park and the Royal Academy. As ever it was a mixed bag. A few things leapt out at me, although there was nothing really at the Summer Exhibition which really excited me as much as the work I'd seen in the Tate Modern. I did love the new Gilbert and George piece 'BEARD SPEAK', a huge neon temple to hashtag culture. Some of the impact is the sheer size of it - hey size matters - like the Grayson Perry tapestry a few years ago, but even with that it's visually arresting.
Of the amateur work the work I really responded to were the prints again. The RA was packed, and it was packed with poshos. As well as enjoying the show I played the usual game of looking up the price of work in the catalogue ('Jesus Christ?! How much?!') I came out of the exhibition as I do every year with no idea what they're looking for or even how to price it. The best I can do is to just submit the work I think is the best. Not a vintage year at the Summer Exhibition, but still a great and life affirming show to go to. A great day jammed full of art.