The Easel

7th December 2021

Why black art matters — and the joyful Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition

Some think Britain’s prestigious Turner Prize has been captured by political correctness. What then about the Royal Academy’s venerable Summer Exhibition which this year emphasises “diversity”? In fact, it is “wonderous”. Works coming from outside the Western canon have given it “a brightness and uplift that wasn’t previously there … a sense of direction, [and] fresh energy”. Says one critic, this show “has never been so much fun. And it has never been so serious.” Images are here.

30th November 2021

Getting real with Richard Estes

What Estes took from working in advertising – the power of detail, the importance of visual rhythm – is evident in his acclaimed photorealist cityscapes. He paints from photographs, though without attempting a replica image. The difference lies partly in which details he omits. In addition, while showing the “pulsing visual pattern of things”, he includes elements of abstraction. “You always have to have that quality [but] pure abstraction is like having a lot of sound without any melody”.