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Joy outside the Royal Academy.

Joy Parker’s painting titled ‘No Connection; No Exit’ has been selected to feature in the 2023 Royal Academy (RA) of Arts Summer Exhibition.

Thrilled to be announced as one of the successful artists to display their work, Joy, who is 71 and from Cheshire, is studying a Master’s in Fine Art at the University.

Joy Parker No Connection No Exit.jpg

Joy's painting titled No Connection; No Exit.
Joy's painting titled No Connection; No Exit.

Running since 1769, the showcase is the world’s oldest open submission exhibition - meaning anyone can enter - with a Royal Academician, such as Grayson Perry as its co-ordinator each year. At one time it was known simply as ‘The Exhibition’, where artists such as Gainsborough and Reynolds, Turner and Constable sharpened their skills against each other.

Annually, a different committee of RA artists and architects shortlist up to 4,000 entries before making the final selection. This year 11,204 members of the public applied, with 16,500 submissions, and 998 artists made the cut. A total of 1,614 artworks are currently on display, by Royal Academicians, invited artists and the successful public submissions, creating an eclectic mix including paintings, sculptures, photography, printmaking, architecture and film, by established artists alongside emerging talent and first-time exhibitors. The committee is led in 2023 by the influential British painter, David Remfry.

In recent years, the exhibition has featured new works by artists including David Hockney, Tracey Emin, Wolfgang Tillmans and Bruce Nauman.

Joy said: “When the painting was shortlisted in April, I took it carefully to the RA back rooms, expecting to hear nothing more. Crossing the courtyard, I decided to turn round and go up the steps into the public part of the Academy. ‘Gosh’, I thought, ‘my painting is actually in this building’.

“It has been wonderful to be selected for the exhibition and attend the Varnishing Day in early June. Varnishing Day is from when oil paintings had to be left six months to dry, then the artists went in to varnish them. Everyone still gathers in the courtyard at Burlington House, then processes with a steel band and all the clergy to the RA church of St James’s, Piccadilly, for a special Artists’ Service. Afterwards we processed back to the Academy, where curator, David Remfry RA, had a light installation on the staircase, and to the galleries where a reception awaited us.

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Joy's painting on display at the Royal Academy.
Joy's painting on display at the Royal Academy.

“I found my painting high up in a gallery near one by comedian, Joe Lycett, and rubbed shoulders with some of the Royal Academicians. While my painting will be on display for the entire exhibition, it was a great surprise that it sold on a Private View Day, before the exhibition opened to the public.

“To be chosen for the exhibition and take part in the Varnishing Day has been an unforgettable experience beyond all my expectations.”

For the Summer Exhibition 2023, artists were invited to explore the theme ‘Only Connect’, inspired by a quote from the novel Howards End by EM Forster (1910), and echoed in a moving contemporary retelling of the story, On Beauty, almost 100 years later by Zadie Smith.

Joy explained that her work, No Connection; No Exit, was created in acrylic paint with vinyl, and like many of her other paintings, had an expectant, sinister feel, having parallels with Jean Paul Sartre’s play, No Exit (1944), about three people condemned to hell.

She added that she hoped people would also bring their own interpretation when viewing the painting.

The RA, founded by King George III in 1768, is running the exhibition at Burlington House in London, now up until August 20, 2023.

For more information on the exhibition, please visit:

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