Return of the Art Exhibitions — Or Is a Virtual Tour Just As Good?

Royal Ulster Academy of Arts (RUA)

So far most of this year has been surreal but with a positive head on let’s start celebrating the return of the art exhibition. We can all benefit from enjoying art, it helps us return to normality and of course to helps all the artists struggling during this time. Curators, artists, and galleries are all doing their best to help us tentatively return from this strange hibernation we have all gradually slipped into.

The excitement of art exhibitions opening is felt throughout the world and one such exhibition is the forthcoming 139th Annual Exhibition at the Royal Ulster Academy of Arts where visual fine artist Brian Parker will be exhibiting with his painting ‘Light Into The Dark’ at the Ulster Museum. Founded in 1879 The Royal Ulster Academy of Arts is the largest body of practising visual arts in Northern Ireland.

Light into the Dark
Light Into The Dark

Parker’s ‘Light Into The Dark’ displays his distinctive interest in the power of light and shade, ‘I was walking back from a show when I saw this scene on Regents Canal, it had to be painted.’ Once again Parker takes an everyday scene, that most of us would have just walked passed and taken for granted and he creates a strong and impactful artwork. The contrasting effects of the bold linear office buildings and imposing cranes, contrasts against the soft ripples in the canal creating interest and intrigue. The potentially subdued colour palette is lifted by the smallest editions of pinks, blues and reds but the main thing which attracted him was the powerful contrasts between the blinding lights and reflections and the deepest dark of the sky and river.

Perhaps Parker’s ability to capture and appreciate this scene and highlighting the contrast of light and dark is an extremely appropriate piece to bring him out of the present restrictions for his first post Covid live exhibition. There is nothing that can replace the pleasure and relaxation experienced from walking around an exhibition. No virtual tour can replace this hands on experience (with gloves and masks of course), where seeing art works in the flesh is invigorating and exciting.

There is indeed much light and dark all around us now but being positive and focusing on the light and how those glimmers of colour shine through so brightly, can help us appreciate the positives in our emotional, physical and artistic landscapes and the return of the Art Exhibition is a great way to help us all to embrace moving on towards 2021 with huge optimism.

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