Installation view of the Small Weston Room, Summer Exhibition 2010 Photo: John Bodkin/DawkinsColour This room was arranged by Olwyn Bowey, who enthusiastically explains that ‘It’s a bit of a jigsaw, and it has to be all things to all people. Visitors find it approachable – a lot of affection has grown for this room. Some of the familiar and popular RAs are usually found here. Artists like Diana Armfield have a big following.’
The styles embraced by the artists on view are as various as the subjects they explore. Leonard Rosoman’s vision is very different from that of Gus Cummins in his Manchuria, a sinister work filled with disturbing, military forms redolent of aggression and destruction. Mali Morris’s exhibits are uncompromisingly abstract, allowing the viewer’s imagination to roam widely. But a quirky bronze sculpture by Ivor Abrahams called Owl Standing reasserts the importance of representational art, along with an affectionate sense of humour.
Bowey emphasises how much ‘real team effort’ was devoted to the task of ‘trying to make this room look as good in its own way as any of the large rooms with huge flamboyant works, while offering as much choice as possible (which has traditionally been expected here)’.