Our picks from the A-level Summer Exhibition Online

Published 12 August 2014

As the exhibition draws to a close, we asked three RA members of staff to select their highlight.

  • Peter Chownsmith, 'Barber Shop: New York'

    Chosen by: Nick Barrett, Visitor Services Supervisor and artist
    Composed almost like a documentary photograph, there is a lot going on in this work. I like the fact that equal attention has been given to the photos and news cuttings surrounding the mirror as well as the various bits of barbershop detritus (it’s like getting 30 images for the price of one). A sense of humour is also important – my eye was especially drawn to the tiny image of the man raising his hat right at the centre of the image.

  • Peter Chownsmith, Barber Shop: New York.

    I came across this idiosyncratic and slightly manic barber’s shop whilst exploring the streets of outer Manhattan. I captured this image of my friend, caught in the mirror, as it reminded me immediately of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, and has an intangible link to the city in which it was taken. The subject’s reflection is contrasted with all the newspaper clippings, faces, postcards and photos that litter the wall and through this the identity of the reflection is questioned..

    Pencil on paper. 177 x 105 x 0.05 cm.

  • Nathalie Soo, 'Majestic Landscape'

    Chosen by: Amy Macpherson, Senior Digital Producer
    There’s a lovely luminous quality to this painting - the handling of the paint is reminiscent of watercolour, and the use of colour is confident and sophisticated. The drips and the translucent washes of colour help to evoke the melting humidity of the tropics - you can almost hear the birdsong and insects. I like that the colours aren’t just chocolate box pretty; there’s a muddiness too, in places, which adds to the overall visual complexity of the painting.

  • Nathalie Soo, Majestic Landscape.

    This painting captures a glimpse of the the lush landscapes in Mauritius inspired by a visit there a couple of years ago. I wanted to create an experience for the viewer, removing myself as an artist from the traditional and orthodox approaches to landscape painting.

    Every colour and every stroke reflects a different emotion, holding a strong connotation and connection to the scape. It was extremely important for me to encompass, as well as put in visual form, the different smells, tastes, colours and sounds from my surreal experience.

    I was thoroughly inspired by Conceptual French artist, Stephane Calais. After seeing his work at an exhibition in Paris, I felt, similar to Calais, an impulse to paint figuratively. By mixing different colours directly on the canvas and allowing the paint to drip down naturally, I was able to form the foundations of the scenery. By creating a gradient across the canvas from selection of colours, I was able to control the entire tone and mood within my painting. From a brave selection of colour, to the application of it, I was able to add a sense of continuity and liveliness to my work, creating my very own ‘Majestic’ landscape..

    Oil, acrylic, canvas. 175 x 185 x 0.2 cm.

  • Sebastian Fomin, 'Ozysandius'

    Chosen by: Sam Phillips, Editor of RA Magazine
    Sebastian Fomin’s atmospheric photograph, beautiful in itself, relates to an artwork that no longer exists – Ozysandias [a punning reference to the Shelley poem, Ozymandias], his swept circles of sand on West Wittering beach that have long since been taken by the tide. Land Art is often seen as a thing of the past, something from the 1960s and 70s, so it is inspiring to see a young artist embracing it today, working in a mode so epic in its possibilities.

  • Sebastian Fomin, Ozysandias.

    This was my attempt at land art at west wittering beach, large scale work that focuses on making nature a part of the piece to (often ironically) dissociate art from the gallery space. This is also helped by its temporal nature, something I wanted to focus on. This particular piece was inspired by the work of Jim Denevan who also uses drawing in sand and textures created by it on a huge scale as a hobby. There is certainly something interesting about working for many hours and watching as it all reversed by nature in an instant..

    Sand. 3000 x 2000 cm.


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