Sunday, October 25, 2020

Royal Ulster Academy sets new standard for Online Annual Exhibitions

The Royal Ulster Academy's website has set a NEW standard for the online annual exhibition.

Virtual Arts Media are providing the virtual exhibition - as they did last year when they created a digital twin of the actual exhibition - with digital images of artwork positioned in precisely the same space of the virtual copy of the gallery. They explain what they do in What is a Virtual Exhibition and show the actual exhibition and digital twin side by side

For me it's 
  • a much more convincing replica of an art exhibition and 
  • seems to be much easier to navigate than some of the others I have seen. 
  • if you click on an artwork while navigating around, it provides a new window with
    • details about the artwork, 
    • who created it
    • the sale price
    • how to buy it
For example, it also provides a:
  • list of artists by surname - you click the name and it takes you straight to the artwork (very speedily!). I'd be consulting this in the real exhibition if I knew the artists!!
  • an exhibition map - click on the room and it takes you straight to the room so that you can start viewing the work
It takes a little getting used to but if you're patient and work how it works it's a very rewarding experience

139th Annual Exhibition of the Royal Ulster Academy

Founded in 1879, the Royal Ulster Academy of Arts (RUA) is the largest and longest established body of practising visual artists in Northern Ireland. One of its founding principles is to organise, promote or join in organising and promoting in any fashion an Annual Exhibition of work by both members and non–members.
For information: This was the Call for Entries for this exhibition and submissions of work completed in the last two years were invited from visual artists aged 18+ working in any medium. 

For those who find navigating technology rather difficult here are some shortcuts to seeing the art.
Click the view/Buy menu option. This takes you to the categories of artwork

There are 263 artworks in total of which there are:
  • 159 Paintings
  • 29 Sculptures
  • 20 Fine Art Prints
  • 17 Drawings
  • 7 ceramic and glass pieces
  • 5 digital artworks
  • 4 textiles
I have to say my overall impression is I am impressed by the quality of the artwork in the exhibition.

Ones which stood out for me included the following (and yes I can spot a plant painting at 50 feet!)
  • Mater Natura by Jennifer Trouton - which superimposed plants on the body part they help. The series of nine watercolours were made whilst on an artist residency at Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University , Suzhou, China and awarded the Watercolour prize at this Year’s Royal Ulster Academy exhibition at the Ulster museum. 
  • but where are you REALLY from? by Lynn Kennedy - tackling an issue which maybe passes people by in a land where your origins are so often rooted in religion. Her social commentary includes an impressive painting in the National Gallery of Ireland
  • Pulveli by Anushiya Sundaralingam - an interesting monochome paintings of a tangle of plants. The artist is originally from Sri Lamka but now lives and works in Belfast. 
  • September Dundrum Bay by Hamish Moyle - a large landscape painting of rural Northern Ireland. A bit of a "feel good" painting for many I suspect.  He seems to have a pretty solid track record of selling paintings of wild flowers in their habitat despite his anti-social website with no proper navigation menu!
  • Tea in the time of Coronavirus by Amanda Croft (although a tad overpriced) - which featured in the Belfast Telegraph!
  • Fishing Nets by Helen Kerr - which is a batik and stitch textile artwork
Interestingly one of the paintings in the exhibition seems to have been generated by the Sky Portrait Artist of the Week session with Akram Khan - see Akram Khan, dancer and choreographer. by Laura Cronin and see what you think!

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