Petworth gallery reopens with prints by Royal Academicians

Work by Chris OrrWork by Chris Orr
Work by Chris Orr
Anne Desmet’s Choice – Prints by Royal Academicians is the reopening exhibition at Petworth’s Kevis House Gallery.

It features Norman Ackroyd, Anne Desmet, Chris Orr, Rebecca Salter and Emma Stibbon, running until May 15.

Anne has invited four of her fellow Royal Academicians to submit work for the show.

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“A sense of intense observation connects the work in this show – whether it is Norman Ackroyd’s grey mountains looming from sea-mists, Emma Stibbon’s intensely contrasted white ice and black seas, Chris Orr’s people and places throbbing with life, my own intense studies of light and how it falls on buildings and other objects or Rebecca Salters’s meticulously observed studies of light and dark tones.

“Norman Ackroyd was my etching tutor, and I have long admired the unsurpassed subtleties of his aquatints. Hardly anyone can create the almost alchemical tonal marvels that he achieves on his plates

“There has been an especial poignancy to contemplating Norman’s remote mountainscapes and wild seas during recent lockdowns in our homes, which only adds to their compelling allure.”

Anne herself is presenting a body of work representing London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, in wood engraving and laser-cut prints.

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“This in an intentionally ambiguous sequence that may evoke the era and blitz spirit of World War Two yet may equally evoke the hopes and anxieties of our own times.”

Anne will also be showing her latest sequential wood engraving, Tower of Angels.

“Inspired by the rarely noticed yet captivating plaster angel-decorations high on the walls of the RA’s Gallery 3, it is both a personal response to the pandemic and a fond tribute to my mother, a leading paediatric surgeon from the earliest years of the NHS, who died last year.”

Richard Hodgson at the gallery said: “Chris (Orr who was professor of printmaking at the RCA) is a consummate maker of drawings and his innumerable sketchbooks seethe with acute observations of people and places, which he turns into etchings, lithographs and screenprints full of life, vigour, humour and Hogarthian commentary on our times.”

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“Rebecca Salter trained in historic woodblock techniques in Japan and brings to the medium a completely fresh approach.

“Rebecca’s abstract prints are in astonishingly subtle tonal ranges of white, grey and black.

“At first sight, their construction may appear simple yet closer inspection reveals wonderfully graduated tones, reminiscent of watercolour bleeds, created by printing layer upon layer to generate a contemplative gravitas.

“Emma Stibbon’s work stems primarily from concern for the changes wrought by climate change on the natural world.

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“Emma’s diverse images, from Roman ruins to melting glaciers to collapsing whaling stations to erupting volcanoes, have a sense of epic scale, drama and haunting atmosphere.”

Kevis House is in Lombard Street, Petworth; 01798 215007; [email protected];; open Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm.

“Outside these times, please call. We can often welcome you in at short notice.”

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