In the exhibition, Roger Ackling, ‘Brought to Light’ Annely Juda Fine Art will be showing early archival works alongside an exhibition co-curated by Roger Ackling’s long-time friends and collaborators Trevor Sutton and Carol Robertson.
In the exhibition will be a selection of early notebooks, framed sun drawings, texts, photographs and works on paper that show Ackling’s first explorations of nature and art through the use of time and light, made concrete on found objects. In early works Ackling used the sunlight focused through a magnifying glass to record time by burning lines onto card and paper. Moving the burning line across the paper, there would be interruptions caused by clouds coming between his lens and the sun, resulting in breaks in the burnt lines. The titles of these works record their location, time and duration. Sometimes in these early works the burnt lines are supplemented with seeds and petals, ephemeral and fleeting, like the records of the sunlight and passing clouds.
Ackling’s work stemmed from his presence in the natural world and his record of that time spent. The sculptures that resulted from those encounters are made from every manner of wooden flotsam and jetsam that have been scribed with lines and dots of sunlight, sometimes made where the object was discovered, or returned to his studio. Reflecting his lifelong interest in Japan, Ackling created a Zen gravel garden next to his studio. Surrounded by walls, a small wooden platform was positioned in the most Southerly position, allowing him to work in the sun for most of the day. It is no coincidence that Ackling chose to make his work in a Zen setting, a garden designed to imitate the essence of nature, not an attempt to reproduce it; a place for contemplation and reflection. Ackling’s repetitive and time-consuming burning of found wooden forms had many parallels in the daily raking of a Zen garden’s gravel. The formation of dense parallel lines that trace around and define the boulders and stones in the garden are like the scribed lines of sunlight that made the shapes and forms on his sculptures. These resulting sculptures are contemplations made solid, recording in sunlight the many hours Ackling spent in the natural world.