The Abstract Expressionism exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts (RA) is probably on the list of every art critic or art enthusiast as a ‘must see’ exhibition since it opened on the 24th of September. I guess it is the collective energy this exhibition holds one of the main reasons for its popularity – it is the first major Abstract Expressionism exhibit in the UK since 1959 that gathers more than 150 works, by both the most famous and lesser-known artists of the movement in one space.
As a final-year university student perplexed by the amount of assignments I have, unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to visit this exhibition in the first few weeks of its opening. But since I really wanted to see it, last Saturday I forced myself to put that stress and cup of coffee aside and yay, I was finally there!
The huge, geometric sculptures of David Smith greeted me when I entered to the RA courtyard, which was already impressive enough even without any work of art. What affected me most about these sculptures were the strong connotations they made to me, of critical yet usually unpleasant concepts such as oppression, insurgence and death– perhaps due to their highly mechanical structure, their large scale or another element that I couldn’t point out for sure – but the profound and even overwhelming effect started to reveal itself at that point, as if hinting what was awaiting me inside.
Curious and excited, I started discovering what the galleries inside had to offer. Some featured the works of different artists who had a similar approach or common traits in their works together, such as the ‘Darkness Visible’ gallery in which the works by painters like Robert Motherwell and Philip Guston, which all had unique styles and themes they explored yet carried a gloomier, heavier air that unified them, were displayed together.CONTINUE READING