For his first solo exhibition at the Alan Cristea Gallery, Richard Long is presenting a new series of monumental carborundum relief prints. Not only do they mark the first time Long has worked in this medium, but they are the largest prints the artist has ever made, and include some of his most colourful works to date.
Over four decades of printmaking Long has mostly worked with silkscreen and offset printing, alongside etching and lithography. Long was approached by the gallery in 2013 with the idea of making carborundum relief prints, as this would give him the opportunity to work directly with his hand on the plate, thus replicating the technique he uses when making his mud works.
The Spike Island Tapes will comprise seventeen new works created from twelve 4 x 8 foot aluminium plates. Long explores a number of ways of working with the new medium, for example propping plates vertically against the wall, enabling him to work fast at the top of the plates, generating cascading ‘out-takes’ of his hand marks. Four panels produced in this manner will be hung together in an immersive five metre wide print. Other prints have been produced by first masking out shapes such as circles or spirals and then covering the plates with paste using his bare hands. Some have been printed in mud-coloured ink, whilst a number are coloured in vibrant reds and greens carefully selected by the artist.
The exhibition’s title The Spike Island Tapes could be viewed as an oblique reference to The Nashville Tapes, a selection of songs recorded by Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash 46 years ago. Spike Island is a contemporary arts centre in Bristol near to Long’s home, where the artist conceived, developed and proofed the prints for the exhibition. For Richard Long, working at Spike Island was comparable to a musician going into a recording studio for a few days, to lay down some new tracks. He has named all the prints in the exhibition after songs or music ‘he just likes’.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.
Richard Long was born in Bristol in 1945. He achieved prominence in 1967 with his seminal work A Line Made by Walking, made when he was still a student at St. Martin’s School of Art in London. Since then he has worked, exhibited and been collected throughout the world. He is the only artist to have received four Turner Prize nominations, winning in 1989. In 2009 the Tate presented a major exhibition of Long’s work under the title Heaven and Earth.
Long has had numerous solo shows at international museums including the National Galleries of Scotland; SFMOMA; the Hayward and Whitechapel galleries in London; and the Guggenheim Museum in both Bilbao and New York. Long’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Australian and Canadian National Galleries; the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark; the Centre Pompidou in Paris; the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; Tate; and MOMA New York, amongst many others.
Richard Long is a Royal Academician. He was awarded the Praemium Imperiale for sculpture from Japan in 2009 and was made a CBE in 2013. He lives and works in Bristol.