Tess Jaray has hung this room in the belief that it is ‘only for people who are sensitive, intelligent and thoughtful. No one else will enjoy it: the works are delicate, subtle and rich.’ Her own works certainly fulfil this aim. Called Dream of a Wall, they have a powerful impact on our eyes. And she has orchestrated the other exhibits with ingenious flair.
Installation view of Gallery V, Summer Exhibition 2011. Photo: John Bodkin/DawkinsColour
These were mostly sent-in rather than provided by RAs, and one of them, Olu Shobowale’s Coffin ‘To Die For’, particularly stands out: decoratively lined with animal bones, this sarcophagus is appealing despite its macabre form.
Paul Huxley’s studies for Proteus X offer fascinating insights into the evolution of his large painting of that title in Gallery III. And Cornelia Parker plays with our expectations in her Bullet Drawing. From a distance it looks like a line drawing of flowers. But close-up we realise that it is made of lead from bullets drawn into wire.
There is immense variety throughout this room. In Ian McKeever’s ghostly gouache triptychs everything seems on the verge of disappearing in a mist. But Tim Allen reasserts the physical presence of pigment in his Magdeburg, in which the fiercely manipulated strokes of acrylic celebrate the strength and assertiveness of muscular brush marks.
Sculpture returns in the form of a densely organised and lively relief by Cathy de Monchaux. Although she calls it Sweetly the Air Flew Overhead, the work turns out be an Uccello-style battle-piece. But all the horse riders charging each other with spears are strange, beaked monsters.