This week I visited the much talked about Premiums: Interim Projects at Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy. Featuring the work of 17 second year artists attending the Royal Academy Schools, this exhibition is presented as an opportunity for the public to see the developing practices of young and emerging creatives based at a prestigious art school in the heart of London.
Following a trip down the majestic Burlington Arcade, I found Premiums elegantly pronouncing itself in the RA halls of 6 Burlington Gardens. Several works had been gathered on the staircase and at the entrance of the exhibition, giving visitors a taste of what to expect when viewing the students interim show. Eager to enter, the first work to match my gaze was Molly Palmer’s immersive film In Addition to Everything Real. Revealed in a darkened alcove, Palmers film exhibits a woman obscured and abstracted by digital background compositions. In addition to the visuals, a sound piece accompanies the work voicing a woman’s speech, layered in different tones from speaking to singing. This vibrant and almost psychedelic work makes for a powerful entrance to Premiums, and left me hungry to see more new and dynamic artwork.
I was pleased to find a great depth of painting included in the exhibition – an art form which seems to disintegrate the further into the contemporary we delve. The works which particularly stood out to me are amongst Rian Coughlan and Robin Seir’s collection of paintings. Coughlin’s work depicts digital-type landscapes with windows framing surreal experiences of abstract neon pinks and blues. In her work Wow, Egyptian Lover! (2015) three pyramids stagger beyond one another; the artist’s skill in oil paint is illustrated here by her gradual blending of the neon colours, which are starkly contrasted with the dull grey background. Seir’s range of Classic Modern paintings celebrate abstraction in a colourful, bold way, and work perfectly in the space by reflecting themselves in the polished laminate flooring of the Royal Academy’s grand galleries. I also enjoyed several other paintings; Anna Paterson’s tie-dye-esque pieces function well opposite Rhys Coren’s spray paint paintings, juxtaposing the blurry and mysterious with the sharpened and distinct.
With a range of painting, film and installation in the exhibition, there appears to be a noticeable lack of photography on display. Nonetheless, Premiums is well worth the visit if you find yourself in Green Park – there are many works on display here that you won’t find anywhere else, for their youthful curiosity and experimental methods. Premiums is on display at the Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington Gardens until the 11 March.