Jessica Gillies, 'The Best Thing to Come Out of Edinburgh is the Train to Glasgow', foamex, wood
Gracing the entrance hall, Jessica Gillies' 'The Best Thing to Come Out of Edinburgh is the Train to Glasgow', foamex, wood

Edinburgh’s RSA Annual: the Persistence of Familiar

Title:
196th Annual Exhibition

Dates:
23 Apr 2022 – 12 Jun 2022

Times:
Mon - Sat 10:00 - 17:00, Sun 12:00 - 17:00

Venue:
Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture
The Mound
Edinburgh
Edinburgh & the Lothians
EH2 2EL

The Annual Exhibition of the Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture is the longest-running regular exhibition in Scotland, making a welcome return to physical presentation in its Edinburgh galleries, plus for the first time being entirely available to view on its excellent newly-redesigned website, after having taken place online-only in 2020 and 2021. A major event of the art year in Scotland, the exhibition as usual showcases painting, sculpture, printmaking, film, photography and installation by some of Scotland’s most remarkable artists and architects. The convener of this year’s exhibition, the award-winning painter Robbie Bushe, has chosen to include memorial work by two eminent late Academicians – sculptor Iain R McIntosh and visual artist Elizabeth Blackadder.

The Wolfson Room, looking towards Ross Sinclair's 'The Real Life Declaration of Arbroath; 1320 – 2720 'We’re Half Way There (plus 2)'. Note the 'feature colour' wall - each gallery room sports a single wall of a different colour
The Wolfson Room, looking towards Ross Sinclair’s ‘The Real Life Declaration of Arbroath; 1320 – 2720 ‘We’re Half Way There (plus 2)’. Sculpture is MADE TO WRECK by Ellie Ibbotson. Note the ‘feature colour’ wall – each gallery room sports a single wall of a different colour.

In another sign of the times, this year’s exhibition sees digital work such as accompanying videos via QR code augmenting the artworks on display in the galleries. At nearly 400 pieces, this is a giant exhibition, occupying all but one of the RSA’s gallery rooms, and the non-casual visitor should expect to stay an hour at minimum.

So in order to report on the display it is pointless somehow to encapsulate the show, or even to offer highlights, or favourites, when that would mean upwards of a hundred pieces, so this is more a random ‘selection’, to give a hint the variety of work on offer, although I admit to liking them all:

Ross Sinclair RSA (Elect), 'The Real Life Declaration of Arbroath; 1320 – 2720 'We’re Half Way There (plus 2)' , 2020-22 The Real Life Declaration of Arbroath; 1320 – 2720 'We’re Half Way There (plus 2), giclée on tarpaulin
Ross Sinclair RSA (Elect), ‘The Real Life Declaration of Arbroath; 1320 – 2720 ‘We’re Half Way There (plus 2)’ (detail), giclée on tarpaulin, contemplates Scotland’s future direction…
and one of Scotland's foremost poets, Hugh MacDiamid, convenes with Ronald Stevenson and Dmitri Shostakovich, in Alexander Moffat's 'Pasacaglia on DSCH - Ronald Stvenson, Dmitri Shostakovich and Hugh MaDiarmid', oil on canvas.jpg
…while close-by, one of Scotland’s foremost poets convenes with Ronald Stevenson and Dmitri Shostakovich, in Alexander Moffat’s ‘Pasacaglia on DSCH – Ronald Stvenson, Dmitri Shostakovich and Hugh MaDiarmid’, oil on canvas.
Two prizewinners in the Royal Bank of Scotland Room - Gillian Mather, 'Love', acrylic on canvas, winner of the Edinburgh Printmakers Award, and Ashley Collin, 'UNTITLED', oil, which garnered the RSA Meyer Oppenheim Prize
Two prizewinners in the Royal Bank of Scotland Room – Gillian Mather, ‘Love’, acrylic on canvas, winner of the Edinburgh Printmakers Award, and Ashley Collin, ‘UNTITLED’, oil, which garnered the RSA Meyer Oppenheim Prize.
Adrian Wiszniewski RSA, 'Postcard from Japan', mixed media on canvas
Adrian Wiszniewski RSA, ‘Postcard from Japan’, mixed media on canvas.
Toby Paterson RSA (Elect), 'Cagliari', acrylic on cast and sheet aluminium
Toby Paterson RSA (Elect), ‘Cagliari’, acrylic on cast and sheet aluminium.
Michael Johnston, 'Holly Tree', Conté crayon on cartridge paper
Michael Johnston, ‘Holly Tree’, Conté crayon on cartridge paper. Johnston is one of several invited guest artists.
Alfons Bytautas RSA, 'Construct', crayon and pencil on paper
Alfons Bytautas RSA, ‘Construct’, seems to have stylistic roots in the early 20th century. Bytautas is a master printer, but this is crayon and pencil on paper.
Susie Leiper's oil on wood panels, 'Haymarket' and 'Grassmarket' appear as twins
Susie Leiper’s oil on wood panels, ‘Haymarket’ and ‘Grassmarket’, appear as twins.
Four of John Mackechnie RSA's pieces of Americana appear together - clockwise from top left, 'La Brochette New York', 'Red Car Inc', 'US Mail', and 'California', all acrylic on linen
Four of John Mackechnie RSA’s pieces of Americana appear together – clockwise from top left, ‘La Brochette New York’, ‘Red Car Inc’, ‘US Mail’, and ‘California’, all acrylic on linen.
Dame Elizabeth Blackadder RSA's 'Temp le Façade' is one of three oils on canvas mounted adjacent, together with a tribute by Duncan Macmillan
The late Dame Elizabeth Blackadder RSA’s ‘Temp le Façade’ is one of three oils on canvas mounted adjacent to each other, together with a tribute by Duncan Macmillan.
Jack Handscombe's 'Youth with Fish', a plaster proof for bronze, in front of (left) 'MMXX' by Manuel Ursprung, plaster of paris, and 'Gorebridge', wood and paint
Jack Handscombe’s ‘Youth with Fish’, a plaster proof for bronze, in front of (left) ‘MMXX’ by Manuel Ursprung, plaster of paris, and ‘Gorebridge’, wood and paint.
One architectural highlight: Studio BenAllan's project for a 'Centre for Silence' on a bank of Thames in central London, is in the Wolfson Room
One architectural highlight in the Wolfson Room: Studio BenAllan’s project for a ‘Centre for Silence’ on a bank of Thames in central London.
Charles Young's 'Four-Colour Studies' paper sculptures are exquisite in their detail
Charles Young’s ‘Four-Colour Studies’ paper sculptures are exquisite in their detail.
Bronwen Sleigh's 'Kyagwe Road Series' hand-coloured etching, above Salvatore Fiorello's 'Hedge', oil on linen
Bronwen Sleigh’s ‘Kyagwe Road Series’ hand-coloured etching, sits above Salvatore Fiorello’s ‘Hedge’, oil on linen, on one of the feature-colour walls.
Emily Moore, 'That Was Just a Dream', acrylic, gesso, graphite, oil pastel on plywood
Emily Moore, ‘That Was Just a Dream’, acrylic, gesso, graphite, oil pastel on plywood.
A detail from Kate Downie RSA's 'The Night Birch', oil and gesso on linen
A detail from Kate Downie RSA’s towering ‘The Night Birch’, oil and gesso on linen.
Viewed from below, James Reid, 'Volklinger Hutte Iron Works', Hahnemulhe art paper on dibond
Viewed from below, James Reid, ‘Volklinger Hutte Iron Works’, Hahnemulhe art paper on dibond.
Anne Curran, 'Old, Mapped, Layered', encaustic and mixed media
Anne Curran’s delicate ‘Old, Mapped, Layered’, encaustic and mixed media, is one of the more unusual 3D works.
Amy Dennis, 'East Coast 1' pigment and jesmonite on board
Amy Dennis, ‘East Coast 1’, pigment and jesmonite on board.
Calum McClure, 'Silver Birches and Pool, Iping Common', oil on canvas
Calum McClure, ‘Silver Birches and Pool, Iping Common’, oil on canvas.
Doug Cocker RSA, 'ENTOMOLOGY', painted ash
Doug Cocker RSA’s striking ‘ENTOMOLOGY’, in painted ash, occupies a single wall.

The Academy supports the Own Art finance scheme, which makes purchasing artworks more affordable through payment by instalments. A catalogue, costing £3 is available for purchase and admission is free.

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