Stephen Chambers RA has turned this year's print galleries into a lively community of dissimilarity, bound together by an overriding sense of excitement about the possibilities of printmaking. These rooms are filled with many artists new to the Summer Exhibition, and those whose primary disciplines are painting or sculpture. Looking at these densely clustered walls we find moments of tranquillity pierced by bursts of visual energy. The pulsating heart of Gallery Vis Richard Long RA's large abstract print, which combines activity with stillness: a chaos of fluid daubs tamed by a straight line that spirals out from the centre. Long's image captures one of Chambers's own visual interests: the intersection between figuration and abstraction. In Chambers's four small prints, we find figures drawn half- formed from the unconscious, emerging into diaphanous backgrounds. In Carolyn Thompson's spectral print, the word ghost faintly appears from pages of barely legible text, while in Julia Farrers constructivist etchings broad strokes of black and white, referencing solid and negative space, wrestle for precedence. Many of the prints here operate like drawings, allowing simple forms a box of fries, a wooden gate, or Lisa Milroy RA's paper dolls dress to demand our undivided attention. For Chambers, less is always more, and the skill of the artist is to know what to leave out as much as what to put in Throughout the room we see forms come into focus and disappear. Allen Jones RA is playfully suggestive with his images of maitresses half-glimpsed through shimmering veils, whilst Andrzej Jackowskis interiors haunt with their intriguing realms and archetypal forms. The sense of psychological drama is particularly acute in Tim Long's diptych of heads, where the block has been cut from the inside of a piece of wood shaped as a head. And although the wooden head has been reassembled, and we can no longer look inside it, the print serves as evidence of this interior world. At the centre of the room are three stone sculptures by Peter Randall Page RA These natural seed forms echo the sense of expectancy we see in many of the prints, the sense of excitement that comes when waiting for the paper to emerge from the press.
Source: RA Summer Exhibition reviews
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