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Issue 312

Call of the wild A new exhibition showcases the work of Norman Ackroyd

From the exposed skerries of the Island of Unst in Shetland to the south-west tip of the Isles of Scilly, a new exhibition of etchings by celebrated printmaker Norman Ackroyd explores an intense feeling of wildness in some of the remotest parts of the UK and Ireland.

Born in 1938, Ackroyd emerged in the 1980s as a landscape artist, famous for his aquatint work. In an interview with the Royal Academy he commented on the places he had been to and produced work, “What interests me is when people have lived there – I like those traces of habitation.” To get to these remote regions he often charters boats from local people. Approaching his subject by sea in this way gives his work a feeling of both intimacy and the sublime.

“Aerial shots are dramatic, but they’re not what I want,” he said in an interview with the BBC. “Take, for example, the St Kildans, before they were evacuated. The abstract shapes of that landscape were the background to their lives, they understood it completely, it formed the essence of the environment they lived in and carved their homes from, and it’s that feeling of place that I’m trying to communicate.”

Norman Ackroyd: Wild Isles is at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester until 24 February 2019. www.pallant.org.uk

Resurgence & Ecologist

47

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