Why do we so dislike, or are fearful of, spiders – poor creatures that have a bad press? Is it because their webs are used to trap and ensnare their prey, while some can evil venom from their fangs? In some cultures, spiders are considered creative, through their ability to weave and create delicate tapestries of silk webs, and their ability to connect is forever remembered in the term ‘world wide web’.
The recent refurbishment and interconnection of the Royal Academy buildings has enabled visitors to weave their own patterns through the Academy with new spaces brought into use that enable exhibitions that could not easily have been shown before, such as in the new Ronald and Rita McAulay Gallery and the Weston Studio, interconnected but separated by a lift and staircase.
Here, in ‘Premiums’, the interim exhibition of work by 2nd Year students at the Royal Academy Schools, Millie Layton’s huge black spider pinned to the floor with blood-red stakes was one of the centrepieces of a show that includes a wide variety of media including painting by Luke Samuel and Sofia Clausse, photography by Hannah Farrell and Catinca Malaimare, video by Lene Vollhardt and Ayo Akingbade, performance, sculptural concrete panels by James Lomax and stoneware shrines by Matthew Peers, along with multi-media work and installations by Carlos Maria Romero, Pascal Sender, Emmanuel Awuni, Kobby Adi, Rebecca Kay and Nicola Gunnarsson plus Andrew Maughan’s celebration of art-related tote bags. I now know what to do with all those bags at home….
An excellent range of varied and imaginative work, which showed great promise for their future careers in these new spaces which allow students to display work in a professional environment.