The great and the good

The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition in London is a welcome herald of the sunny season, with the academy throwing open its doors to a diverse mix of painting, sculpture and multimedia, from the traditional to the cutting edge, for art lovers and Joe Public to pore over and buy. The print room is particularly popular with the public and, curated this year by Eileen Cooper RA, it is hung in an exuberant way. ‘It’s always quite a busy room,’ says Cooper. ‘We don’t do a museum hang so you’re bombarded with a lot of images.’ The work ranges from monochrome to the brightly coloured, from the narrative and figurative to the more abstract, and processes include multi-plate colour etching, black-and-white aquatints and wood engravings. There is Keith Coventry’s silkscreen play on the McDonalds sign, Katsutoshi Yuasa’s intricate, ambitious woodcuts derived from photography, and litho prints by young artists such as Claas Gutsche, who is one of last year’s exhibition prize winners. Marrying the traditional with digital technology is prominent, says Cooper, with artists such as Anthony Green mixing etching with digital inkjet, for example. ‘There is room for great artists to be near really gifted semi-professional amateurs and students,’ comments Cooper. ‘The wit and range of work is always a surprise.’

The Summer Exhibition runs at the Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly, London W1 from 8 June to 16 August

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