Large Weston Room
We’ve long since come to expect this gallery to be devoted to every imaginable kind of printmaking. There’s always pressure of space here, and yet this year the hang seems more generous than ever before. Nevertheless, Norman Ackroyd has somehow managed by some magic to include more works than were shown last year. He has hung this room, including five of his own exquisitely atmospheric etchings, with his usual sensitivity. Ackroyd is especially impressed by ‘the quality of the woodcuts and linocuts on show. There appears to be something like a renaissance in the use of these techniques at the moment. My favourite among all the woodcuts is Paul Furneaux’s Sand-raked Garden.’ He also praises the deceptively simple woodcut Atelier in just black and yellow by Arturo di Stefano. And he likes the whale by Julian Meredith, who seemingly printed this giant image from a single piece of wood sawn vertically from the trunk of a tree.
Elsworth Kelly, Jack/Spectrum. Six colour lithograph on Arches 88 paper, 63.8 x 235 cm. Summer Exhibition 2007.
Although the quality of the woodcuts may be conspicuous, this gallery provides a multiplicity of delights in other techniques and media. Among the many distinguished names are Craigie Aitchison (with a group of screenprints of his favourite motifs), Frank Auerbach (with an etched portrait of the art critic William Feaver), Francesco Clemente (with a woodcut printed from no fewer than twenty blocks), Chuck Close (with a paper-pulp print), Jim Dine, Lucian Freud, and Ellsworth Kelly, who is showing not an abstract but a silkscreen of a figurative motif. Tony Bevan, recently elected a member, is represented by two large coloured etchings. There are some curiosities here, too, for example, the first etching ever made by Nicholas Grimshaw, President of the Royal Academy.