20 April – 26 May 2018
Artist’s Talk Sunday 13 May.
Norman Ackroyd CBE RA is one of Britain’s foremost landscape artists and contemporary printmakers, known primarily for his etchings.
“Etching, at its best, is simply another but very beautiful drawing medium. It demands absolute simplicity of intent. Working with sumptuous copper, inks, papers and acids to hopefully achieve this clarity, is endlessly satisfying and limitless. This exhibition shows much recent work, but also includes some images from previous decades.”
Shortly after leaving the RCA in 1964, Norman Ackroyd began an artistic journey that was to shape his entire career. Travelling first to the Orkneys, then to the Hebrides and around the coast to the ‘Outliers’ and the extreme northern point of the British Isles, in the process, producing over 500 different etchings, semi-abstract landscapes in dramatic monochromes, based on the harsh costal landscapes, outcrops of rock, and wild seas.
On his studio wall, Norman Ackroyd has a map covered in pins charting the places he has visited to produce work:
“The big pins are where I’ve done full sets – places like St Kilda, Shetland, and Orkney. What interests me is when people have lived there – I like those traces of habitation. When I go on trips I charter a boat with a few people … I love places like the Flannan Islands, High Island, which is just south of Inishbofin …. and the Shiant Isles..”
Describing etching as ”engraving with acid’, Ackroyd uses an ‘aquatint’ technique, in which a fine powder of acid-resistant pine resin settles on the plate and produces large areas of soft half-tone giving a watercolour-like quality to his etchings.
Ackroyd also acknowledges the influence of poetry on his landscapes. In 2009, he produced ‘A Line in the Water’, a collaborative book with poet Douglas Dunn, which takes the reader on their journey to the most northerly point of the British Isles through 80 etchings, interleaved with Dunn’s poems.
Norman Ackroyd studied at Leeds College of Art and the Royal College of Art. He was elected a RA in 1988 and Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art in 2000. He has had numerous solo shows, both in Britain and abroad, and his work is exhibited in most major art galleries and Institutions today: The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Royal Collection, Windsor Castle, The Stedelijk, Amsterdam, Tate Gallery, the British Museum, MOMA, New York, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. He has also made public murals in etched stainless steel or bronze, for Lloyds Bank, London; British Airways, Birmingham Airport; Freshfields, London; Tetrapack, Stockley Park, Heathrow; the Main Hall of the British Embassy, Moscow; and Lazard’s Bank, Stratton Street, London W1.
Since the 1980s Norman Ackroyd has lived and worked in a former leather warehouse in Bermondsey, London. On the ground floor, he has a large printing press, built in the 1900s, which he claims to be ‘probably the best etching press in Europe’ and on which he produces all his work, from small book works to his huge etchings.