‘Bad news- they don’t have any exhibitions on!’ Friend M had travelled from Kent at my invitation to meet at the Royal Academy. I could take her in as a guest on my membership card, I’d told her, but we were four days too late for the ‘Post-Modernist Pre-Raphaelite’ J W Waterhouse exhibition.
Luckily, I remembered Ken Howard. An artist who excels in depicting the play of light on reflective surfaces, his collection entitled 'Small oils fromVenice, Cornwall and London’ was on display in the Friends’ Room. Water was much in evidence, also a number of his studio portraits of models with mirrors which I’ve admired in Summer Exhibitions .
By happy chance (or thoughtful programming), reflections figured in the courtyard, where workmen were putting the finishing touches to an installation.
The giant bubbles towered over poor diminished Joshua Reynolds and his palette, reflecting the Georgians facades of the surrounding RA buildings. When we stood up close, they also threw back our own distorted images, like a funfair ‘Hall of Mirrors’.
M is by way of an amateur painter, and about to start on an evening course in portrait painting in Rochester. I suggested we go to the BP Awards exhibition at the National Portrait Galley, to see some more reflections, this time of subjects distorted by artistic interpretation.
As we walked through Green Park, under leaves turning to Autumnal gold, we saw ourselves reflected again as spectators, this time in the sides of a shiny coach emerging from some imposing gates onto The Mall.
Ken Howard at the RA: http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibitions/hugh-casson-room-for-friends/ken-howard-ra-recent-small-oils-of-london-venice-and-cornwall,287,RAL.html
Anish Kapoor at the RA: http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2009/sep/20/anish-kapoor-sculpture-royal-academy
BP Portraits Awards at the NPG: http://www.npg.org.uk/index.php?id=3940