This year the annual exhibition held by The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, insisted that all entries were submitted online, which was perhaps the reason behind the bleak contemporary mood to the show. Showcasing the finest contemporary art in Scotland and featuring over three hundred artists and hundreds of original works of art, the RGI annual show makes a welcome return for 2016. Held this year in The Mitchell, Glasgow, with a feel similar to the London Art Fair, where you can daunder along and inhale the talent and artwork of these entrants from across Scotland. The Show also features a number of invited artists including Jane McCance, Peter Bevan, David Mach and Ashley Cook.
After a two year break this show is back, entirely down to the enthusiasm and endeavours of the RGI and it’s highly welcomed. 2016 sees it in the Mitchell Library’s Baillie’s Reading Room study space, an illustrious building where many go to seek information, knowledge and creativity. It seems an ideal location after this rupture.
As well as the 362 works accepted of the fifteen hundred submissions there are works of many invited artists, which includes Kelpies creator Andy Scott and David Mach, who is known for the Big Heids on the M8. There are also memorial artworks by artists who have passed away including work by David Michie, George Devlin, Jack Knox and James Spence.
Meandering around the exhibition, it’s striking how talented and imaginative the artists, whose works have been accepted, actually are. Despite a lack of conceptual work, there is an abundance of fine art, painting, sculpture and photography that seems to speak of our present climate. Bleak, stark and raw images are plentiful and there is a clear culture reflected amidst this viewing space.
Glasgow has obviously inspired many of the exhibiting artists, including Ron Dekker’s black and white Underworld, showing bridges over the Clyde, surprisingly a Giclée print, looking very much like photography. Then there is the obtusely disturbing work of Alice McMurrough, with works like Lift Me Up depicting a more sinister side to Lewis Carroll’s creations.
It’s clear that we should fret not, the RGI Annual Exhibition is very much back. Do catch it in the remaining last few days. Most of the work is for sale and at prices which, compared to the aforementioned London Art Fair, won’t make you gasp.
Royal Glasgow Institute for the Fine Arts Annual Open Exhibition 2016, The Mitchell Library, Granville Street, North Street, Glasgow, G3 7DN. Until November 27 (Mon-Sat, 9am-5pm. Sun 12pm-5pm) Entry free.