Introductionby the Secretary of the Royal Scottish Academy
In any year, the RSA Annual Exhibition provides a significant opportunity for our members to test out, showcase and promote new work and ideas. The vision and scope of the exhibition is refreshed each year by the election of a new Convenor, whose curatorial role, supported by the Hanging Committee, may include invited artists, thematic considerations and/or focus on specific disciplines or developments. This year’s exhibition Convenor was Graeme Todd RSA. The Members work as always, provides a critical context and a point of departure as we navigate through this year’s open and invited artists submissions. As well as leading the overall curation, Graeme had invited five distinctive and highly regarded artists who have either not shown or rarely shown at the Academy: Liz Adamson, Maria Chevska, Steven Cox, Angus Hood and Richard Walker.
Graeme had also enabled each member of the Hanging Committee to select one artist with up to two works for the Open, promoting a collective investment in the curation and flavour of the exhibition:
Naomi Ojima – invited by Mary Bourne RSA
Leena Nammari – invited by Calum Colvin RSA
Iain Patterson – invited by Paul Furneaux RSA
Toby Paterson – Invited by Jake Harvey RSA
Rory Donaldson – invited by Ian Howard RSA
Patricia Macdonald – invited by Glen Onwin RSA
This year’s Deputy Convenor (Architecture) was Henry McKeown RSA who has done a magnificent job providing curatorial context of this year’s submission of plans, concepts, models and documentation of completed buildings by members and from open submission. The Metzstein Discourse, the RSA’s hugely popular and acclaimed annual lecture series by world leading architects, demonstrates just how vital and engaging with and planning our built environment remains. Only a few weeks ago, we were delighted and honoured to be host to Kjetil Trædal Thorsen from Norwegian and internationally acclaimed practice Snøhetta – who delivered a riveting lecture to a sell-out 500 crowd. Kjetil reminded us that through their projects and ethos, that architecture is at the forefront and has a significant role to play in global strategies for dealing with environmental issues, the climate emergency and how we live and work.
On behalf of the Academy, I want to thank Graeme and Henry for all their hard work and creativity leading up to this year’s exhibition, to which this online presentation gives a real flavour. I also want to acknowledge and thank members and submitting artists or architects whom we do not have visual documentation of their work and therefore cannot present at online at this time. We will endeavour to add and include these works as documentation becomes available.
Even before the impact of recent events, it has been an intense six months for the Academy, with the last Annual Exhibition only recently presented in the autumn and RSA New Contemporaries only just ended in early March. The logistics of putting on these exhibitions is onerous, and our staff and membership must be congratulated for their expert organisation, support, promotion and creative energy working with exhibitors, installation teams, invigilators, sponsors, caterers, and the National Galleries of Scotland.
The 2019 Annual Exhibition was one of our most successful, visited and talked about in recent years; visitor numbers almost quadrupled as did the total sale of works. We were also were thrilled by the overwhelmingly positive response to the re-inclusion of work by artists and architects selected through open submission, celebrating a wider constituent of artists and architects showing a range of ambitious and large-scale work alongside Academicians and RSA awards winners.
In recent weeks, the Academy has been saddened to announce the loss two distinguished members, both former and highly respected Heads of Painting; Kirkland Main RSA (1942 – 2020) Head at Painting at Edinburgh College of Art, and Alexander Fraser RSA (1940 – 2020), Head of Painting at Grays School of Art, Aberdeen. Full tributes and showcases of both Kirk’s and Sandy’s work will be in the planning for the 2021 exhibition.
None of us know how long we will be affected by the current pandemic, what kind of world we will emerge into nor how this will impact on the lives of artists, architects, stakeholders and its institutions. The Academy is approaching its 200th anniversary in 2026 and we are in the midst of planning how best to celebrate this milestone; its legacy, the contribution of its members, past and present, and ways we might shape the Academy to best support and promote the work and activities of Scotland’s artists and architects for the years to come. In the fullness of time, we look forward to engaging in discussion and sharing of ideas with our audiences, patrons, sponsors, stakeholders and partners – and the evolution of our programme of exhibitions, activities, opportunities and our collections as we head toward our 200th year in the post COVID-19 period.
Thank you for taking time to look at and engage with this year’s exhibition.
Robbie Bushe RSA
Secretary, The Royal Scottish Academy
The list below denotes works that were not photographed before the gallery closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Doug Cocker RSA, Naming of Parts No3, painted wood, 126 x 96 x 13 cm, £4,800
Doug Cocker RSA, Eclipse, painted wood, 52 x 43 x 6 cm, £2,400
Doug Cocker RSA, Bottle Wedding, painted wood, 25 x 34 x 14 cm, £1,600
Fiona Dean RSA, Landscape Notes I - IV, watercolour, ink, gouache and pencil
David Evans RSA, Still Life with Four Pots, acrylic, 36 x 35 cm, £525
David Evans RSA, Still Life with Three Bowls, acrylic, 36 x 35 cm, £525
David Evans RSA, One Afternoon in Leith, acrylic, 84 x 92 cm, £3,200
David Evans RSA, Blue Door and Stairway, acrylic, 84 x 102 cm, £3,500
Jessica Harrison RSA, Hot sale life size sexy woman famous 3, Parian porcelain, reflected Rosco Chroma Key paint, 23 x 23 x 60 cm, £3,300
Jessica Harrison RSA, Marble statue of beautiful naked girl Greek 4 , Parian porcelain, reflected Rosco Chroma Key paint, 32 x 28 x 42 cm, £3,300
Ian McCulloch RSA, Woman, acrylic on paper, 65.5 x 50 cm, £7,000
Glen Onwin RSA, Halophile. (Dunaliella salina). from Slime of the Earth, 2018/20, mixed media on canvas mounted on board (diptych), 125 x 125 cm each, £10,000
Glen Onwin RSA, Infrathin Desiccation: Carbon - seperative/difference - Carbon. from Slime of the Earth, 2019/20, mixed media on canvas mounted on board (nine part work), 63 x 63 cm each, £10,500
Jacki Parry RSA, Refuge, acrylic box with handmade paper, 77 x 31.5 x 23.5 cm, £1,200
Frank Pottinger RSA, Placings , 46 x 53 cm, unique, £450
Frank Pottinger RSA, Dark Landscape , 44 x 50 cm, unique, £400
Edward Summerton RSA, Black Loch, After J.B, mixed media, 120 x 35 cm, £198
Edward Summerton RSA, A Kilry Wedding, mixed media, 30 x 20 cm, £1,350
Richard Walker, Kildrum Breeders, pigment and aqueous binder, 206 x 359 cm, £22,000
Arthur Watson PPRSA, The Hollow of the Snows, screenprinted and painted CNC-routed birch ply, £12,000
Arthur Watson PPRSA, Now Hell Freezes Over, screenprinted and painted CNC-routed birch ply, £12,000