"My first natural playground was the cliffs of the Avon Gorge and the towpath by the river. So even as a kid I was fascinated by the enormous tide, and the mud banks, and the wash of the boats as they swept past. You have this wash sweeping up the mud … muddy creeks … I guess its right to say that I have used that experience in my art: like water, the tides, the mud. All that cosmic energy is there in my work." Richard Long
The Tide is High, an exhibition of new works by Richard Long, will be unveiled at Alan Cristea Gallery, London, on 15 November 2018 and will remain on view until 5 January 2019. The steep mud banks of the River Avon have provided both the source material and inspiration for Richard Long's work since his youth. The Tide is High features a new series of prints based on drawings made from mud taken from the river in Bristol, the city where Long was born and continues to live. The new prints are shown alongside their mud drawing studies and large carborundum relief prints from an earlier body of work, one which has never been exhibited before.
Tidemarks, Tide on the Turn, Ebb and Flow and Half Tide, 2018, screenprints from The Tide is High series, each measure up to a metre in width. The prints depict rivulets of muddy water; Long enjoys working with this mud for its tactility and material simplicity, as well as its significance as a natural force which has traced the earth's surface for over a millennia. The new prints will be shown alongside their mud drawing studies and some large carborundum relief prints that Long made in 2014. These prints were created from 4 x 8 foot aluminum plates and printed in mud-coloured ink as well as vibrant grass greens and fire reds.
These earlier prints bear the names of songs or music that Long likes. Alongside the title of the exhibition, which is also the name of a 1980 Blondie song, artworks include, One Too Many Mornings, 2014 (Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, 1964); In My Hour of Darkness, 2014 (Gram Parsons, 1974) and Simple Twist of Fate, 2014 (Bob Dylan, 1975). Long is keen to point out that there is no direct connection between the songs, their lyrics and the subject of the prints. He leaves it up to the viewer to make any connections to the Rhythm and Blues, Country, Irish Music and Reggae titles he references.
While not essentially a printmaker, over the years Long has responded to requests to make prints in a variety of techniques including screen printing, lithography, etching and carborundum. In his first year as an art student in Bristol, he did etching as his one day a week craft subject. A retrospective of his prints toured Germany and the UK in 2013 - 14.
This is Richard Long's second solo exhibition and second print project with the Alan Cristea Gallery.