Monday 9 January 2017

RUA Royal Ulster Academy of Arts 2016...

The last day of the exhibition from Royal Ulster Academy of Arts which has been running since 14th October 2016 at the Ulster Museum. It's usually a great show to go see, with a wide range of art. Painting, sculpture, installation, photography, print, ceramic and more.

It was busy, perhaps because it was the final day of the show and possibly due to it being a Sunday. Families were there, kids in tow, viewing the art. Always like to see children in art galleries. I recognised names of long established artists including Basil Blackshaw (dec), Carol Graham, Julian Friers, Rita Duffy and Diarmuid Delargy who was at Belfast art college in my day.

A good selection of themes including landscape and figurative - realistic, impressionistic and surreal. Afterwards three friends I sat talking to mentioned Hamish Moyle's 'St.John's Point', a large blue expanse of sea rising in a wave, all in soft blues.

A collection of small pots by Victoria Bentham 'Ipsa parum olla' (the little pot) sat like a small crackled-glaze rainbow. Nearby a cream porcelain sewing machine, 'Thread' by Anne Butler, the form taking shape from many undulating layers of fine delicate clay.

Work by children sat in the midst of that by RUA artists...'Imagine and Make'...
Art is about personal response. Primary school children responded to the 2016 RUA exhibition by using words from a selection of books that had been discarded by their previous owners. Using the books the children choose a word or words from a page that triggered something they knew about. The drawings that led on from conversations allowed the children to share their own life experiences and imaginings with the viewer...

A side area showed video work from David Theobald, Francis Matthews, Jiann Hughes and Oona Doherty and I wondered if there would be room in future RUA exhibitions for live performance. 

Favourites of mine were Sharon Kelly's 'Vapour' and Suspend' and also two works by Brian Ferran, 'Boatmen' and 'Elegy'. I liked the mix of detail and simplicity in Kelly's work and I like Ferran's icons specific to his work, his use of colour and of gilding. 

A third favourite was Diarmuid Delargy's 'Sleeping Venus in Northern Repose - Ballintoy' with its classic style of pose and emotive blaze of colour. Beautiful. As though a moment was caught.

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