One of the joys of the recent Royal Academy project designed by Chris Wilkinson which connects the two buildings in Piccadilly and Burlington Gardens together, is the creation of new spaces, over-large for circulation, but great for small art displays such as the Weston Studio, which was previously an art studio in the RA Schools, but now provides a space at the junction between the public side of the RA and the RA Schools, the studios of which were open earlier in the summer.
The exhibition ‘The Garden’ celebrates both the 250 years of history of the RA and its Schools and the fact that the current building was built in the gardens of Burlington House. Eliza Bonham Carter and Daniel Bowmar have curated an exhibition that goes back in time to artists such as J M W Turner, Edwin Lanseer, William Blake and John Leech, through Ethel Walker, Victor Passmore, Sandra Blow and Cecil Collins to contemporary works by the like of Gabriella Boyd, Ziggy Grudzinskas, Craigie Aitchison, Gina Fischli, John Robertson and the video work of Julie Born Schwartz, several of these being recent graduates who were invited to find works in the RA Collection that they found of particular interest and should be included in this exhibition. At the centre is Kira Freije’s animated sculpture ‘Leadership and Separation’, perhaps showing some of the tensions that we see around Brexit with our leaders taking us in one direction while many politicians are trying to take us in another, many sadly seeming to be pursuing their own agendas rather than that of the greater good of the country.
Along with other similar spaces in the new RA, the Weston Studio’s ever-changing series of exhibitions makes it a reason to come back again and again.