New Norman Ackroyd exhibition, ‘Skellig Revisited’ for Thirsk’s Zillah Bell Gallery
28 November 2015 – 2 January 2016
The Zillah Bell Gallery in Thirsk, North Yorkshire is set to host a world-exclusive exhibition of a series of new works by Norman Ackroyd CBE RA. ‘Skellig Revisited’ will open at the Kirkgate gallery on 28 November 2015, running until 2 January 2016.
The exhibition brings together the latest body of work from the Senior Royal Academician, including a series of 10 prints which make up the ‘Skellig Revisited’ collection, and a number of other watercolours and etchings inspired by three trips that the artist made to Great Skellig and other islands off the coast of County Kerry, Ireland, earlier this year.
“I first visited the monastery on Great Skellig, Skellig Michael, back in the mid-1980s, and found the experience extraordinary, climbing up 600 steps to see a monastery built 1400 years ago yet still in fantastic condition. It is incredible that people chose to live here, on an island where 21stcentury visitors are only permitted to land in fair weather – it is a dangerous place,” explains Ackroyd. “Thirty years ago, it was completely deserted, but now people are starting to wake up to this place which is every bit as impressive as Stonehenge, and so we arranged to land on the island at 2pm, when most of the visitors had left so we had the island to ourselves again. I was drawing all the time, understanding the island through my hand and eye and the marks I was making.”
Owner of the Zillah Bell Gallery, John Bell, is delighted that Norman Ackroyd is once again choosing the gallery to showcase his new work: “Norman’s works are in high demand around the world, with most of the 50 box sets sold before they are even completed. His work is in collections, including the Tate, the British Museum, MOMA New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington to name a few, and we are delighted to hold the largest collection of his works outside his own archive – a collection of which any museum or gallery would be proud.”
Although based in London, Leeds-born Ackroyd was keen to have a Northern base for displaying his work. “Unlike the big cities, Thirsk is a wonderful market town where you can park easily, find great food and wonderful places to stay – and just two stops from London on the new Grand Central train services from Kings Cross, so there’s no excuse for any city-based art lover to think it is too far to travel,” adds Ackroyd. “The gallery itself is beautiful for hanging prints – it would be wonderful to think that this could be the Northern base for an exhibition of Whistler’s or Picasso’s works in the future, it is such a special space. This is the place where the next generation of artists should be aspiring to display their work.”
Skellig Revisited follows an exhibition at Zillah Bell Gallery which was curated by Norman Ackroyd over the autumn, The Original Print Show, which featured a host of original works by leading printmaking artists, from screen prints to woodcuts.
Skellig Revisted runs from 28 November to 2 January 2015 at Zillah Bell Gallery, Kirkgate, Thirsk YO7 1PQ. The gallery is open Monday to Saturday, from 10.00am to 1.00pm and 2.00pm to 5.00pm. For more details, please visit www.zillahbellgallery.co.uk or call 01845 522479.
Notes to editors:
About Great Skellig
Great Skellig is the larger of the two Skellig islands off the coast of Ireland’s County Kerry. The monastery that sits on the top of this bleak island is thought to have been built 1400 years ago, and is at the centre of a series of linked up monastic communities built on islands on the edge of the Atlantic. The site was made a World Heritage Site in 1996 thanks to its unique example of an early religious settlement, illustrating "as no other site can, the extremes of a Christian monasticism characterizing much of North Africa, the Near East and Europe”.
About the artist - Norman Ackroyd CBE RA
Norman Ackroyd studied at Leeds College of Art from 1956 to 1961, and subsequently at the Royal College of Art, London from 1961 to 1964. Ackroyd has had many solo exhibitions, both in Britain and internationally. He has also received several public mural commissions, produced in etched stainless steel or bronze. Recent commissions include Lloyds Bank, British Airways, Cambridge University, a bronze mural for the Main Hall of the British Embassy, Moscow.
Norman Ackroyd was elected a Royal Academician in 1991 and was made Senior Fellow, Royal College of Art in 2000. Ackroyd lives and works in London.
Ackroyd is famous for his atmospheric monochrome etchings and sublime watercolours of the Irish landscape. He takes us to the furthest edge of our continent, places which few of us will ever have the opportunity to visit. His images catch the elemental majesty of nature- of the sea, land and the bird life, literally, right on the edge. This exhibition brings together the result of Norman’s many visits, over 30 years, to this remarkable area and culminates in a suite of boxed etchings after his latest sketching tour this summer.
For further media information or photographs, please contact:
Jay Commins or Samantha Orange
Pyper York Limited
Tel: 01904 500698