Saturday, January 19, 2019

RA Summer Exhibition 2019 UPDATE + prediction re emphasis of selected work

This is an update about
  • the background of the coordinator and people who make up the Selection and Hanging Committee of the Summer Exhibition 2019 at the Royal Academy of Arts
  • my prediction as to the emphasis of work that will be selected from the Open Entry for the Summer Exhibition.
(See my blog post RA Summer Exhibition 2019: Call for 12,000 entries)

I'm very pleased to see that the RA is now commenting on my Facebook Posts! This time to provide an alert that there is an update on the names of the Co-ordinator and the Selection and Hanging Committee.

It's always good to have any comments about the overall intentions of the coordinator BEFORE people enter their work.  Maybe next year, the information can be again be available before the call to entries goes online?

So who's doing what?

Selecting Committee, Royal Academy, circa 1892
by Reginald Cleaver | pen and ink | circa 1892
NPG 4245© National Portrait Gallery, London (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

PS I do wish there were more contemporary illustrations or paintings of the Selection Committee at work. Photos don't quite do it for me!

Summer Exhibition 2019 Coordinator

Jock McFadyen RA is the 2019 Coordinator of the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts.

The most important thing for prospective entrants to know is that he is a PAINTER and a landscape painter at that!

He has this to say about his proposals for this Summer Exhibition
"The focus this year will be on artwork in all media which responds to the contemporary world. I hope to welcome back many of the artists who have been exhibiting at the Royal Academy over the last few years and look forward to presenting new artists in the exhibition."
I thought contemporary art was by definition a response to the contemporary world - but heyho!

It does rather feel like a statement written by a press relations person which says nothing and rules nobody in and nobody out. I much preferred the one we had one from Grayson Perry last year.

However as I went on and found out more about him, his statement of what he wants assumes more importance in the context of the road he has travelled with his painting (see below)

Clues as to who Jock McFadyen is can be found in:

Some facts:

  • born in Paisley in 1950, attended Saturday morning classes at Glasgow School of Art, 
  • 1966, age 15, he moved to England
  • studied at Chelsea Art School (BA in 1976 and MA in 1977)
  • 1970s - made his name with schematic narrative painting - which he has since left behind. He describes his work at the time as 'ironic and clever' - a painter's commentary on the art (anything but painting) being done by other artists at the time
  • 1980-2005 - he taught one day a week at the Slade School of Art
  • lives and works in London (and Edinburgh) - specifically "lived and worked in the East End since 1978, with studios in Butler’s Wharf, Bow and the Truman Brewery before arriving in London Fields twenty years ago." - which coincidentally is the same amount of time I've lived in the East End.
Hidden behind an old terrace facing London Fields is a back street with a scrapyard and a car repair garage, and a row of anonymous industrial units where painter Jock McFadyen has his studio. You enter through a narrow alley round the back to discover Jock in his lair, a scrawny Scotsman with freckles, tufts of ginger hair, and beady eyes that look right through you. Jock McFadyen, Painter | Spitalfields Life
  • 1981 - artist in residence at the National Gallery. He painted the world he observed and what he saw on the streets. His work was figurative and included people and gradually became more realistic
  • 1991 - Prize winner John Moores Liverpool Exhibition 17
  • 1991 - commissioned by the Artistic Records Committee of the Imperial War Museum to record events surrounding the dismantling of the Berlin Wall 
  • 1992 - to date: He has focused on painting places - landscape painting on a monumental scale as a serious comment on life in the modern urban environment (with no figures). He also likes road paintings and panavision.
  • 2005 - He and his wife founded "The Grey Gallery" in 2005. It's nomadic and works with artists, musicians and writers. McFadyen is said to be keen on working across disciplines and working outside of the existing dealer/ curator conventions. 
  • he has had over 40 solo exhibitions 
  • his work is held by 30 public collections as well as private and corporate collections in Britain and abroad.  Interesting most of the public collections are located in the Midlands, North and Scotland.
  • 2012 Elected Royal Academician

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Selection and Hanging Committee 2019

Those RA members participating in the selection and hanging of the work in 2019 are listed below. The link in their name is to their RA Profile page.

My overriding impression, based on reviewing who the selectors are, is that this exhibition will have a STRONG EMPHASIS on various ways of depicting:
  • landscapes, 
  • the built environment of the present day 
  • construction 
  • maybe the end of the world as we know it?
Check out the links to images of their artwork below if you don't believe me!


Many things about Timothy Hyman’s paintings are immediately clear: his passion for London — his City, his Place — and his detailed painterly investigation of his own place in that city, where he fits in and in what way he belongs, and his absorption in the question of how cities have been painted in the past.


Since 1990, they have gained a national and international reputation as artists working with photography and the moving image, installation in an expanded form of cinema and lens-based media. Their early works centred on abandoned buildings, often imbued with the presence and ideology of the original occupants.


  • Anne Desmet b.1964 Elected RA: 26 May 2011 Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, a Member of the Society of Wood Engravers AMAZING ENGRAVINGS!   For images see
    • Artsy
    • Google Images
    • Her RA Page includes her wood engravings of the development of the Olympic site
Desmet uses collage and print to depict the built environment. She is engaged with the evolution of the urban landscape and its testimony to the aspirations and experiences of humanity. Her abiding subjects are Italy, London and the Babel Tower.


He is internationally celebrated for his interventions in architectural space which draw heavily for their inspiration from the worlds of engineering and construction.


  • Spencer de Grey  b. 1944 Elected RA: 9 December 2008. (Senior Academician) Joint Senior Executive and Head of Design at Foster & Partners
De Grey showed research comparing international building performance standards against their knock-on share of mean temperature rises. His conclusion was galling. Even if the highest standards were universally adopted, we would be on track for a catastrophic three to five degrees of global warming. Bloomberg, according to De Grey, is a three-degrees building. "The world's most sustainable office building isn't enough to save the planet" | Dezeen (October 2918)

Their task was summarised last year in my blog post The agony and the ecstasy of art competition judging
The Summer Exhibition 2018 selection and hanging committee:
  • started on Friday 2nd March 2018 - looking at sculpture and 3D Architecture Models 
  • on Monday March 5th they started looking at paintings and prints 
  • by Wednesday March 7th they have looked at 10,000 submissions (i.e. 4 days work?) 
  • they finished on Friday 9th March after reviewing 15,000 works (which I think must include the RA submissions) 
I'm guessing it took either 6 days or 7 days to review 15,000 works and that Grayson Perry sat through the lot - with teams making up the selection panels for specific types of artwork.

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