The RA Art Show in London

Ossian Ward writes in TIME OUT that 'the RA's 'Summer Exhibition' presents itself as a bastion of openness and egalitarianism, but really, even after 242 years, it's still a microcosm of our sheltered art world: you're either in it by rights as a member of the club, or you get lucky enough to bask in its glow of exposure for a couple of months. Those hopefuls who submit and get accepted are generally corralled into the wall-to-wall blur of the Weston Rooms, while the Academicians pick and choose from their stable of mates for the grander galleries. Allen Jones RA (he of the objectifying table sculptures of kinkily clad women) takes centre stage by curating the opening salvos of fiery abstract paintings by John Hoyland RA and Jeffery Camp RA under the show's woolly rubric - 'raw'. The freshness of Albert Irvin RA and Maurice Cockrill RA (you get their credentials already...) proves that there's gestural fight in these old dogs yet, although Jones himself slightly does his selection down by describing it as the 'scribbling' room. So it is, on to the 'fiddly' and 'lumpy' room (my terminology this time), with Michael Criag Martin's overlapping letters and Matthew Collings and Emma Biggs providing eye-watering pattern, while David Nash's giant block of elm and Hughie O'Donohue's shapeless paintings give good girth. The hang 'em high ethos can diminish even painters as good as Tal R, Basil Beattie and Ed Ruscha in Room III (the 'blobby' one) but can also be a great leveller, reducing the perceived importance of big names by haphazard juxtaposition with relative unknowns. Similarly, in Fiona Rae's curated section - which reflects not only her own 'blingy'/'drippy' style but reserves the biggest space for a painting by her husband, Dan Perfect - the well-trodden roll call of decent Brit names is joined by what looks like a Rachel Kneebone sculpture, except it's actually by someone called Melissa Gamwell. That's part of the fun: not really knowing who's who until you locate the work's corresponding number in the compendious guide. For full source and full article click the Headline. Irish Art