Artist profile

Roger Ackling

Like his contemporaries who graduated from Saint Martin's School of Art in the late 1960’s, Ackling challenged the accepted methods of making sculpture by taking his ideas out of the studio and into the landscape. He collected bits of driftwood given up onto the beach by the sea and reclaimed broken and discarded materials such as clothes pegs, picture frames and household artefacts from our everyday lives and worked directly onto these, sat on the ground out in the open.

For over 40 years his method remained unchanged; by directing sunlight through a small hand-held magnifying glass, he burnt lines directly onto wood - or sometimes card - in intricate linear geometric patterns. Using this ritualistic and repetitive process Ackling burnt into his pieces an imprint of real time often keeping note of the exact time and duration taken to complete the work.  They are material records or commemorations of a moment in time, of place and of the artist’s momentary connection with the elements and landscape. His pieces are quiet and contemplative, anchored in the solitude and place of their making.  In some works, the lines pause only to continue a short space later - these spaces charting the moment a cloud passed over the artist and extinguished the beam of the sun through the glass lens.  Ackling transformed found and abandoned materials into works of great intensity, with qualities akin to prehistoric art; beautiful and compelling but without revealing their meaning or purpose.


B.A. Fine Art, St Martin’s College of Art, London, UK
Died on 5 June 2014

Selected exhibitions

Brought to Light, Annely Juda Fine Art, London
Simple Gifts, Annely Juda Fine Art, London
Galerie Lindner Wien, Vienna
Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh
High Noon, Annely Juda Fine Art, London
Von Lintel Gallery, New York
Galería Elvira González, Madrid
Galerie Gisèle Linder, Basel
Tadashi Takahashi Gallery, Tokyo
Sun Days, Annely Juda Fine Art, London