Richard Long, The Great Ouse Mud Drawing 2016


Sunlight and Gravity

Works by Roger Ackling and Richard Long

This exhibition celebrated a life-long friendship between two of the most innovative artists who have worked with nature, the elements and the environment. On show were some of the reliefs by Roger Ackling from the 1980s to the 2000s made with driftwood, using the rays of the sun focused with a magnifying glass as a medium to create marks.

Richard Long showed pictures made with mud from the river Avon near his Bristol home and he made a new Great Ouse Mud drawing, with mud from the Great Ouse river which runs through King’s Lynn. In both cases the artists created images without direct use of the hand.

Roger Ackling - 1947-2014 Photo: John Riddy
Roger agreed to this exhibition in the year before he died of motor neurone disease. This photograph was used to publicise a book of essays by his former students and colleagues:
Roger Ackling: Between the Lines, edited by Emma Kalkhoven.

Roger Ackling - Voewood, 2009 Sunlight on wood with metal
Roger Ackling was a master at making beauty from almost nothing. This classic work, using waste wood and the rays of the sun focused to create regular marks, exemplifies the time and careful judgement it required. Qualities of calm and concentration are somehow always evident.

Roger Ackling & Richard Long - Untitled, 2006
Sunlight and mud fingerprint on wood
The two artists made a number of works together in 2006, which were exhibited in New York. The last few remaining examples will be on show in Sunlight and Gravity.

A group of Roger Ackling's works on show in the gallery

Roger Ackling's work on show in the gallery

Richard Long making the Great Ouse River Drawing for the opening of GroundWork Gallery in July 2016

The first work a visitor to GroundWork gallery sees is Richard Long’s dramatic splash mud drawing, made in situ for the opening exhibition ‘Sunlight and Gravity’. It remains, opposite the entrance, as a signature work and talking point. People have already said how it reminds them of the essence of a river, of long–flowing tresses of hair, of the bark of a tree. In a similar way it forms a starting point for a dialogue with each new exhibition, and it is always interesting to see what kind of different interpretations emerge.

The Great Ouse River Drawing - By Richard Long, July 2016.
Photo by Veronica Sekules

Richard Long inspecting the progress of the mud drawing

An interview with Richard Long talking to a group of artists, on the occasion of his joint show with Roger Ackling, Sunlight and Gravity at GroundWork Gallery, King's Lynn in 2016. Filmed by James Murray-White.

Richard Long, Great Ouse Mud Drawing 2016 in situ, GroundWork Gallery, Sunlight and Gravity.
Photo by Steve Jackson

Sunlight and Gravity: The exhibition

The exhibition was a memorial tribute to Roger Ackling who died at his home in Norfolk during its planning in 2014. Some of his unique weather diaries were on show for the first time.

Richard Long and Roger Ackling joint works installed in GroundWork Gallery

A rare picture of Roger making work by burning with a magnifying glass onto card. Taken in France by Isabella Oulton.

Roger Ackling - Sunlight on Sunday 10.10.10 at 10, 2010 Sunlight on wood
This work is self-explanatory but like much of Roger’s work it is more complex than it seems. It reveals a lot about his wit and humour, and sense of occasion. But also, it celebrates the special nature of time and place, the point at which all forces are gathered in unison in a never-to-be repeated way.