Introducing our new Academicians for 2019
The votes have been counted, a year-long process has come to an end and we are very pleased to announce this year's new Academicians:
Wendy Elia works in series which explore the social and broader contexts of our times. In her portrait work she confronts our voyeurism and asks questions about the female gaze and painting’s relationship to authenticity and illusion. Wendy moves from the personal to the political not only in the range of content and form in the various series, but also within individual paintings: using a range of pictorial symbols and signifiers to extend the meaning/narrative of the works.
I am fundamentally a figurative sculptor, exploring both personal and political themes through the sculpted human form. My work is characterized by an intuitive rather than conceptual approach. The exploration and enjoyment of materials, and the physicality of the making process, is central to my work.
The majority of my work to date has been about something I refer to as 'Beach Conversations’. Walking along the coast where I live, the sea washes up a collection of images; a reflection of my thoughts, my mood, a physical presence. Process is an important part of my work, echoing the characteristics of my subject. With some I layer diluted oil paint and beach tar, use paint resists, rub away paint with sandpaper to mimic the sea's wearing away of objects and take paint castings of found objects which I incorporate into my paintings.
I make sculptural machines that have drifted away from utility and objects that have forgotten their purpose. Some move and others teeter on the edge of movement. They are assembled from found and forgotten objects, scrap and steel and resemble spidery drawings or objects that were nearly invented. Each work might embrace paradox or absurdity and has quirks and ticks built-in and each obeys it’s own logic.
Throughout my career the reductive inclination of my work leads me to use geometric formations, particularly but by no means exclusively, the square, rectangle and circle for their ideal power, for their aesthetic beauty. I have no wish to precisely record the way the world looks, but my work is never disconnected from it. I continue to make informal relationships with landscape, architecture, nature and the environment. I find my work evolves in tandem with whatever is happening in my life, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and physically. Colour is my key to unlocking experience: it’s an abstract animation of memory, optical sensation and sensory experience.
Deborah Westmancoat is a contemporary painter based in Somerset, UK. She has spent several years engaged in a long term project researching aspects of classical alchemy in relation to the movement of water found within the natural and built environment, considering how each stage of transformation might help us to understand landscape and our place within it. Current work looks at how a materials based practice can enable engagement with place on a deeper level through the actions of observing, following and recording the movement of water under / over / across / through specific environments.
We are delighted to welcome Wendy, Anna, Frances. Nik, Carol and Deborah and hope that they will become familiar faces behind the scenes at the RWA in the coming months and years.
The deadline for applications to become an Academician this year is Friday 1 March.