The Alan Cristea Gallery is exhibiting a new series of 21 monumental etchings by Ian McKeever, based on William Blake's illuminated manuscript, Jerusalem.
McKeever has always admired Blake and for many years has sought to find the right approach to celebrate Blake's ambitions, both as a visionary and as an artist. Two years ago he began working on the project to rework Jerusalem in etching. His concern was to try to understand some of the underlying motifs which arise in Jerusalem and also in the wider oeuvre of Blake's imagery and how these relate to his own visual language as a painter.
In pursuit of this end, he spent time at the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum studying their monochrome copy of Jerusalem. In the spring of 2000 he visited the Yale Centre for British Art for two months to study the hand-coloured version in the Paul Mellon collection. During this period he was a guest at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation studio in Bethany, where he began work on a large series of preparatory watercolours and gouaches.
Within this body of work he has incorporated the whole of the Jerusalem text, combining word and image to create a hugely ambitious cycle of prints, which both refer back to Blake and also extend the scope of his own personal imagery.
The exhibition will be accompanied by an extensive catalogue illustrating all 21 etchings and including texts by both the artist himself and by Frances Carey, Head of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum, London.