RA 250th Summer Exhibition

For those of you who don’t know about the RA (previously written about in Charles I: King and Collector post) or The Summer Exhibition it is an annual art exhibition comprised of pieces selected by a committee. But the unique point of this exhibition is that anyone can enter and so anyone could be placed in the final exhibition if they make it through the selection process. And so here are some of my favourites from each room of the exhibition when I visited back in July..


The Annenberg Courtyard

Symphony for a Beloved Daughter
Symphony for a Beloved Daughter by Anish Kapoor
  • Metal and fabric
  • The entrance space to the Royal Academy of Arts is a beautiful spot usually but is a great sight to see with the annual Summer Exhibition
  • This one being another great year with this grand piece to greet you as you enter. It is such an unusual and bold standing out with the red against the sky

“Turner Prize winner Anish Kapoor creates elegant sculptures that combine simple materials, geometric shape, and organic form.”

Artsy Artist Biography

Wohl: Central Hall

Royal Valkyrie

Royal Valkyrie
Royal Valkyrie by Joana Vasconcelos
  • Hand-made woollen crochet, felt appliqués, ornaments, fabrics, inflatable, power supply unit and steel cables
  • This piece really stands out in the room, a beautiful bold large sculpture that hangs center of the first room in this exhibition
  • I love the different materials used with this, the different bright fabrics, shapes and shapes, it makes each turn unique and each part something new to see with so much to take in

“the huge and unusual body of Royal Valkyrie revisits and reinterprets palatial fashion, combining the luxury and exuberance of brocades of floral designs with the traditional floral colors, motifs and techniques of Nisa”

Website Royal Valkyrie Info


In the park of delights and difficulties (middle panel), hell on earth (right panel), heaven on earth (left panel)
In the park of delights and difficulties (middle panel), hell on earth (right panel), heaven on earth (left panel) (triptych) by Emma Haworth
  • Oil on linen
  • This piece really captured my eye as there is so much life and action going on within it, you want to see what each little part is and so draws you in a closer to it
  • It was really fascinating scenes of ‘the good’ and ‘the bad’ surrounding the mix of the two that the real world is, really makes you think this piece

“Emma Haworth’s paintings are narratives usually set in a park or green area within a city. These areas are havens for people and wildlife, places of sanctuary and refuge from the city.”

Website Statement


Europe Running Through My Veins
Europe Running Through My Veins by Tisna Westerhof
  • Embroidery thread, cheese cloth and neoprene board
  • There is something about embroidery that has an old fashioned feel as a technique that used to be used in the days of Jane Eyre’s books as a pastime for women. But it is having a great comeback now I feel and I really like seeing pieces like these where it is something very current like a mobile phone portrayed in an traditional technique. Makes you smile
  • Also the current theme with Brexit showing ‘Brexshit’ is very topical and a funny display of this artist feelings on the issue

“Tisna takes the fabric of domestic life, from family snaps and children’s clothes to ceramics and embroidery, and reconfigures it into work that explores nostalgia, identity and the loss of innocence.”

Website About Statement

Lecture Room

Fortitude by Samantha Parkhouse
  • Oil
  • This painting immediately caught my eye in this room. Firstly the technique is impeccable, wonderful realistic shading of the skin and parts that catch the light
  • Secondly the woman herself is so striking, she gives off this air of confidence and strength in herself you just can’t help smile with her. You want to know more about the woman in her portrait. It is also greatly placed in this skin pink room it just builds on the feel of the piece

“Most of her practice focuses on portraiture and capturing the personality of sitter, drawing on their story, emotions and history.  She works on a large scale to capture the intensity and to engage the viewer.

Website About



Refuge by Cathy de Monchaux
  • Copper wire and mixed media
  • Beautiful enticing piece with lots of detail and work within it, you can’t help being drawn in closer to take in all the little details
  • I also love the use of three dimensional elements in a sort of flatter image display manner within the frame. It is like the piece I saw at last years RA Summer Exhibition show of Monchaux’s ‘Raft(another favourite of mine last year, as you can see in the collection on my instagram) where this similar style of technique was used but photographed instead in a eerie photograph piece.

“Cathy de Monchaux creates provocative sculptures of seemingly incongruous materials, like leather, fur, velvet, chalk dust, and brass.”

National Museum of Women in the Arts Bio


Untitled (Triste)
Untitled (Triste) by Charles Avery
  • Bronze, plaster, paper and acrylic
  • This delicate looking sculpture is really striking in a room, especially with the mix of white plaster and the painted parts as this is something I have never seen before
  • I really like the detail you can get out of casts with plaster and it is a technique I would like to explore more myself

“Since 2004 he has devoted his practice to the perpetual description of an imaginary island. Through drawings, sculptures and texts. Avery describes the topology, cosmology and inhabitants of this fictional territory”

Charles Avery Tate Artist Bio


Expanded Narcissistic Envelope
Expanded Narcissistic Envelope by Toby Ziegler
  • Aluminium and rope
  • This piece is hard to miss, it is very prominent in a room
  • It is wonderful the way the heavy material is being made to look like it is weightless, being lifted off the ground

“a London-born artist known for playing with perception. His paintings and sculptures orchestrate a continual oscillation between abstraction and figuration, and between classical composition and its digital manipulation and obfuscation”

Artnet Toby Ziegler Biography



Boom by Katharine Morling
  • Porcelain and black stain
  • These pieces are really bold and you can’t help being drawn to them straight away with the way the artist has made something real like this cassette player into a pop art style of drawing in the three dimensional world
  • Each of her pieces of work are something I would love to have in my own home and make you smile and look closer at the elements

“The works I create are pieces of narrative in my progressing story, one piece leads to the next and I work very instinctually”

Artistic Statement on Website


Vinculo De Dos

Vinculo De Dos
Vinculo De Dos by Ana Prada
  • Books and candles
  • With such a large piece in this gallery room it immediately stands out but it also being made from such unusual objects made me want to work out what it was more
  • It is also striking how the candles stand as they do on the books, really interesting technique

“Ana Prada has always taken everyday, domestic things as her source material. These she amends – most typically by cutting them – to mask their identity and their utilitarian function.”

Artist Bio on Galería Helga De Alvear


Stupid White Thing

Stupid White Thing
Stupid White Thing by Grayson Perry
  • Glazed ceramic
  • Grayson Perry is one of my favourite artists, and he has been ever since I visited his solo show ‘The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman‘ at the British Museum back in 2012. So when I heard that this RA Summer Exhibition was being run this year by Grayson Perry I was very excited to see what he would do with it
  • And I wasn’t disappointed in the overall show and this piece of his own that he put into the works, it once again was another interesting topical piece of art that has so much information to take in from when you see it, it is wonderful

“Grayson Perry is an English contemporary artist. He is known for his ceramic vases, tapestries and cross-dressing, as well as his observations of the contemporary arts scene, and for dissecting British “prejudices, fashions and foibles”.”

Tate Artist Biography


Prison Culture
Prison Culture by Lee Cutter
  • Prison issue buttermilk soap
  • At first glance this piece seems odd but interesting, with lots of different carvings within this segmented areas
  • Then as you look closer and read up on the piece materials you realise how much more  symbolic the art is

“Prior to The Drawing Year, Lee worked mostly with sculpture, video and installation. Drawing is now the foundation that his practice is built upon. Recent works explore the themes of prison, the city and Australia; each arising from memory, observation and imagination.”

The Royal Drawing School Drawing Year Alumni Biography


Balls by Cecile Johnson Soliz
  • Newsprint and two pegs
  • This large piece with the newspaper wrapped balls is really striking as something that you can almost see in small size but something ‘other world’ like when this size
  • The texture with this choice in material is really nice as well, you almost want to interact with it like that

“From 2013-2014 she was a recipient of a Major Creative Wales Award from the Arts Council of Wales. Cecile Johnson Soliz lives in Cardiff, Wales and works in her studio in the city centre. She regularly travels to the Continent, the US and throughout the UK.”

Website Biography


Where are my Glasses - Under
Where are my Glasses – Under (Green and Red) by Ron Arad RA
  • Hand-blown glass and metal
  • When you see these pieces you can’t help but smile with the comical glasswork around the solid glasses
  • The comedic value added to with the title of them as well, they almost look like glass heads with the glasses put on them, creating something very new and unique

“Ron Arad’s constant experimentation with the possibilities of materials such as steel, aluminium or polyamide and his radical re-conception of the form and structure of furniture has put him at the forefront of contemporary design and architecture.”

Website Press Biography


Google Mountain View

Google Mountain View
Google Mountain View by Thomas Heatherwick RA
  • Mixed media
  • I really enjoyed this piece to see all the detail and skills that go into architectural models and also the sheer scale of this building really comes across well here
  • With a passion for stop motion animation I love all things miniature and this is a very exact form of this as architectural models have to be all to scale of the real life building plans. It really is an interesting building design and style

“we create buildings, spaces, master-plans, objects and infrastructure. Focusing on large scale projects in cities all over the world, we prioritise those with the greatest positive social impact.”

Website Studio About


Red Bear
Red Bear by Debbie Lawson
  • Carpet and mixed media
  • This is another piece that makes me smile a great deal when I see it. It is such a comical turn on a traditional grand house piece of the stuffed bear, with this one being presented in the carpet style
  • I especially like how the design is kept throughout it with the fringe of the carpet at the bottom shown over the bears feet

“The heady incense air of Arabian Nights seeps in as one feels seduced into playful reverie. Anything that infiltrates the safe realms of the family home with hints of unpredictable and uncontrollable spirit is bound to transport us directly back to childhood daydreams”

Website About Robert Clarke, The Guardian Quote


Carbon Eclipse

Carbon Eclipse

Carbon Eclipse by Peter Newell-Price

  • Carbon fibre
  • This sculpture was cleverly placed here on this shiny foil like wall as it makes for a dynamic shadow and reflection of the piece here, making for a very different presentation than it would have been on a painted wall
  • The texture and material build up of this sculpture is what drew me to this, with the layers of the carbon. You can take in a different detail each angle you look at it

“Newell-Price’s work sits at a junction between an exploration of how two dimensionality moves into three dimensional images.”

Bo-lee Artist Bio


Dome of the Rock, Façade
Dome of the Rock, Façade by Ben Johnson
  • Acrylic
  • The use of colour within this painting is what struck me at first, with the beautiful vibrant shades of blue against the contrasting shades of golden yellow
  • But then there is the amount of details captured within the painting which also strikes you in this room, with the many decorations and parts to the building painted and the wonderfully realistic shadows of the shaded parts. All adding up to a fantastic painting that makes you feel like you are actually at this place

“Over the past 46 years he has exhibited widely in galleries and museums across the world, including the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; the Art Institute of Chicago; Kunsthalle Tübingen; and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.”

Website About Biography


Body by Iryna Hauska
  • Crochet
  • This is another piece that stood out in this room as it quite literally stands there, with the bold colours and shapes within the crochet part
  • I liked the label that the artist added too, like her own clothes company it has its details added there

Iryna Hauska’s paintings move on the border of the figurative and the abstract. Some elements may be recognizable,and the paintings are visually abundant, but still maintain a sensitive lyricism.

Website About


Overall this exhibition was another great display of the vibrancy and various forms that art can take. It also shows the wonderful space at the Royal Academy of Arts with the different styles and designs to each room. And so if any of you are great fans of art, in all it’s styles and want something to do within the summer I would recommend this show in London for next year, I know I shall try be there again. However if you don’t have the chance to see the exhibition in person but would like to see and learn more about it keep an eye out for the BBC2 show on the exhibition they have been doing each year for the last few shows, as I myself had been keeping up with them even since starting to visit in person last year.


One response to “RA 250th Summer Exhibition”

  1. […] Making Tools or Materials you would totally recommend? Also love my Grayson Perry Mug I got at the Royal Academy 250th Summer Exhibition […]

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