This gallery has been orchestrated by the exhibition’s co-ordinator, Tess Jaray RA. Moving the smaller paintings from their traditional place in the most restricted space in the Main Galleries to the Academy’s largest and most prominent room, Jaray has deliberately shifted the focus onto more modestly sized works. She points out that making a successful painting on a reduced scale requires a great deal of concentrated energy, and that a large canvas is not always needed to create an impact: today many young artists are experimenting with smaller works.
Installation view of Gallery III, Summer Exhibition 2012. Photo: John Bodkin.
The ‘wave’ that undulates through this gallery gives a rhythm and energy to the exhibits. Visitors are invited to follow its form, which from a distance appears to be an intriguing pattern but at close range allows each work to be clearly viewed, without any sense of hierarchy. This hang underlines the longstanding objectives of the Summer Exhibition: to show established and emerging artists together; the work of Academicians alongside work that has been sent in.
A close examination of the hundreds of pictures in this gallery reveals their great richness and diversity, from Rana Begum’s geometric expression of ‘poetry of the city’ to Andrea McLean’s finely wrought microcosm. Jaray says of this installation: ‘The gallery exemplifies – perhaps surprisingly – a sense of optimism, hope and celebration, partly because it also includes – and we are very happy with this – many artists from across the world.’