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Royal Academy Beckons for a Second Time

Anna Grayson is a former BBC Presenter and Science Writer who, on retirement, treated herself to a year’s Diploma course at Art College. Her plan had been to study ceramics, incorporating knowledge and understanding gained as part of her original degree from St Andrews - in Geology with Chemistry. But photography won the day - using similar techniques and continuous lighting she had used in her long broadcasting career. During her first career she won the Glaxo Wellcome award for some short science films and had broken new ground by being the first woman to present a Natural World on BBC2. She had also been a regular voice on BBC Radio, with the aim of making clear and vivid pictures inside people’s minds.


Just a year after leaving art College, in 2014 Anna was hung at the RA with her take on Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait entitled An Allegory of Modern Marriage. She has also been hung at the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol and for several years running at South West Academy in Exeter. She has held several exhibitions in the South West, but finds her work hung in many corners of the globe.


She is thrilled to be exhibiting again in 2018 and hopes to raise lots of money for the Royal Academy Schools. It is such a worthwhile cause.


Both the works celebrate her long marriage to Des Maxwell Clark, also an earth scientist turned artist. While he paints watercolours that look like photographs, Anna takes photographs that look like paintings:


Klimt in the Care Home was shot to celebrate their ruby wedding, but with a distinct hope they’d make it to gold. Several art historians, including foxy James Fox and Sister Wendy (that well known authority on sexual relationships) have asserted that the embrace is coercive, that the woman is recoiling. Finding a photograph of Klimt cuddling a pussycat, Anna found herself disagreeing. So, her kiss is full of tender and enduring love. The blankets were made by Anna’s late Aunt whose family had been friendly with Magritte, so a good pedigree, and also a tiny nod to the textiles in Tracey Emin’s Tent. Anna had trouble keeping hers in place, running from the camera, set on ten second delay, to her tricky position on a re-arranged sofa with bewigged husband.


The Moaning Geezer (after Leonardo) takes advantage of the Devon countryside, full of perfect locations for her pastiche photography. This is the Teign Estuary in late Autumn, taking on the colours of Tuscany. Anna did have a female model lined up, but she couldn’t make it, so long suffering husband had to step in wearing a long wig and Anna’s best cashmere jumper. The enigmatic smile is due to La Giaconda being in the process of clenching her buttocks to let off a particularly fruity fart. Only she knows how bad it is, which makes her smile to herself. An open farting policy could well be the key to success in marriage, and certainly proves to be an excellent tool of communication between an artist and her model/muse. The photograph had to be taken quickly before said model/muse started to feel cold and reverted to moaning again.






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