If you go down to the RA today…
Be sure to open your mind, as we take a look around the Royal Academy’s 251st Summer Exhibition while asking ourselves how art makes us think about the spaces we occupy and how we can challenge, shape and live in our own ‘selective-art’ environment. We’re going to take the eclectic mix of cascading art on show and run with it, until we’ve exhausted the idea of art evoking emotion (love or hate), self expression and simple undiluted joy.
Jock McFadyen RA has taken over from Grayson Perry to coordinate this year’s show. He’s tightly harnessed Perry’s taste for the visually diverse, and unleashed it, scattergun across every available gallery, corridor and courtyard. Even Bond Street has been showered with a flag installation. Resistance… is… futile.
Eclectic is our word-of-the-day, and with good reason; this is the largest open submission art exhibition globally, overflowing with works in all media by many established big guns, (Emin, Gormley, Banksy), plus emerging new talent. All of them combining to create a huge vibrant insight into the contemporary art-world circus.
Before visitors even get through the door, they are greeted by Thomas Houseago’s huge daunting figures, surveying those who dare to contemplate their menacing jarring of classic solidity and postmodern mischief. These sculptures are the perfect teaser for the clash of contradictory styles and vision waiting inside.
If Houseago’s sculptures are left raw and intense, many surfaces unfinished and rough, the works of Trevor Sutton couldn’t be more polarised; his ‘360-Atelier’ piece (oil on board) is a lesson in geometric precision, smooth texture and stillness. Such serenity is just one example of the exhibition’s Mr. Ying rubbing shoulders with the bombast and noise of Mr. Yang.
Before we move on to how all this can be echoed in our own homes, let’s just shoehorn in one more gallery. The Central Hall. This year it’s become a menagerie of animals that, were they breathing, would soon eat each other. Sensible money is on just the tiger surviving, as even clad in Tunnock’s teacake wrappers, it’s still top of this vibrantly displayed food chain. From the domestic dog, via a needlepoint blue tit, to the aforementioned gilded ‘Tunnock’s big cat’, it’s all here in intoxicating eclectic glory.
And so to the spaces we live in. Given the positive temptation to mix old and new, bright and subdued, hard and soft in furnishing our homes, why not adopt the same mindset with artworks? Art (be it two or three dimensional) can’t help but evoke an emotion when placed in our immediate environment. In challenging our living space, we challenge ourselves. I’ve yet to meet anyone who goes about their day harboring a single emotion, conducive to a single aesthetic. If you are such an individual, you won’t be reading this anyway.
So if we are open to the idea of displaying a diversity of art cheek-by-jowl, we are also open to art matching and relating to our complex emotional range. If we simply adorn our walls with images of rainbow-utopia and wake up in melancholy mood, the day isn’t going to get any better.
The more we surround ourselves with assorted styles and subjects, the more chance we have of reflecting our emotions. A happy by-product of mixing and matching your artwork is that we achieve a space that adds visual interest. Contrasting pieces can add real depth to a room, making the artwork more than the sum of its parts.
We select our music to match our mood, we watch films depending on whether we want to laugh or cry; none of us owns just one piece of music or a single movie. We cover all our emotional bases with libraries of both.
So, let’s do the same with art, let it soothe and challenge our sensibilities in equal measure. Here at Casey & Fox, we believe that we should get eclectic. It doesn’t take a gilded tiger to stir it up…
Here are our Top 3 Tips for kicking off your art collection:
- Trust your instinct and buy what you love. If you love it on the day – you will love it always.
- If refurbishing a space in your home, as hard as it might be, decide on the artwork first. The rest will follow.
- Frame it right, but only if it needs it. Keep it simple and let the work do the talking.
If you are considering sourcing artwork for your own home and you are not sure where to start – drop us a line today and lets have a chat about how we can help you find that perfect piece.