Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Royal Hibernian Academy : Maybe (maybe not)

Well, the deed is done - the lure is cast - the stable door is open - the countdown has begun - yadda, yadda, cliche, bloody yadda.

Last Friday I handed in my submission for this years Royal Hibernian Academy Annual Exhibition. It's all in the hands of the RHA assessment committee now.

Every year, hundreds of hopeful artists do their paperwork, pay their fee and hand in their artworks in the hope of selection. By the time RHA Members' own artwork allocations and any invited artists have been taken into account, it means there'll inevitably be a lot of disappointed entrants. I believe only about one in ten works made the cut from the open submission process last year. I've been unsuccessful to date, having only entered work intermittently down the years - sometimes due to lack of confidence in the work, sometimes lack of advance preparation, sometimes lack of the few quid for the entrance fee. This year, I've submitted 3 small, related paintings - Cardamom I pictured above - so.... fingers crossed! It's a very similar feeling to submitting a manuscript for publication. Should know one way or th'other in the next couple of weeks though, which is a faster response than most publishers.

The exhibition usually gets a very good attendance and is often an interesting overview of current Irish painting, in particular. It would be an achievement to be selected for exhibition alongside work by more established, recognised artists - and exhibit work to a wide and knowledgeable audience.

To my eyes, recent years have seen the exhibition refresh itself somewhat - the selection policy perhaps a little less conservative than in the past? The recent re-modelling of the RHA gallery has also created a cleaner, modular exhibition space - well suited to contemporary exhibits. The RHA has been busy re-inventing itself, without losing touch with tradition - here's hoping there's space for a wee Nolan or two in the mix.