Sunday, May 30, 2010
The annual RHA debacle is upon us. Looking at the paucity of sales you might wonder are the RHA now making more money from the entry fees than they are from sales. And of course the vast majority of submissions are rejected every year - there being little room for everybody else in a show dominated by the Academy members' multiple submissions. The exhibits are the usual mix of the good, the bad and the truly mediocre. I am mortally affronted every year by the poor quality of the portraiture - dead eyes in dead faces, no animating presence. Send the lot of them off to the Prado to see how it's done. There were occasional good deeds: a mighty fine Gwen O'Dowd, an exquisite little Eilis O'Connell bronze, a moody Martin Gale featuring a line of cars at dusk heading into the ominous countryside, and a super urban landscape by Donald Teskey. And then there was a plastic bag of used clothes with a little photographic ID showing through - the title was "My Father's Portrait" . The bag contained the clothes and property handed over by the hospital after the poor man died. Poignant? No, bloody trite.