Captured through the eyes of Norman Ackroyd RA, ‘England’s green and pleasant land’ becomes a much more compelling subject. Born in 1938 in Leeds, the artist and printmaker is renowned for his enigmatic depictions of Norfolk, Yorkshire and the British Isles, which resonate with a sense of drama and ancient poetry. Rocky outcrops, darting gulls, deep valleys and looming storms provide us with a view of an older, wilder world than today’s. One dominated by nature and the elements, rather than humans – the only traces of which emerge through the odd crumbling gothic building or sailing boat dotted on the horizon.
As Ackroyd enters his 80th year, Yorkshire Sculpture Park prepares to present an exhibition dedicated to the artist’s vast body of work, including a number of early pieces made in Yorkshire, dating back to 1959, that have never been shown before. Presented in the landscape that first inspired Ackroyd’s long and celebrated career, this should prove to be a very special show.