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Press Release

Sperone Westwater is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by Richard Long.  The artist’s thirteenth solo exhibition at the gallery will consist of numerous mud “drawings” on American Douglas-fir plywood, as well as a winding plywood path which takes its cue from earlier stone sculptures created in both the landscape and indoors.  All of the works included in the exhibition were created by the artist on-site in the gallery during the week before the show opened.

Richard Long created his first walking piece in 1967, which he described as “a straight line in a grass field, which was also my own path, going ‘nowhere’.”  It was a radical redefinition of the boundaries of sculpture, which in turn paved the way for future works taking nature as both subject and their medium.  Since then, Long has manipulated, dispersed, and relocated such elemental materials as mud, dust, water and stones, in places as varied as Lapland and the Sahara.  While he is best known for his landscape works, the mud works and sculptures he creates specifically for indoor exhibition are inherently related to his monumental outdoor pieces.

Created in the gallery with River Avon mud and Cornish China clay, which the artist brought with him from England, the gestural mud works are lyrical testaments to the natural world as the mud patterns work with the natural grain of the plywood to create pattern and shape.  However, the mud drawings are also governed by strict structural principles that serve to echo their carefully-ordered outdoor sculptural counterparts.  As Paul Moorhouse writes in his recent essay on the artist, “A mud work by Long is a constructed thing: its cumulative handmarks echoing the individual steps in a walk or the separate stones that comprise a sculpture made in a landscape.”  But perhaps it is Long himself who describes the relationship between outdoor and indoor works best:


They are made by the same artist, but in very different circumstances.  My landscape works do come first, and inform the works I make in galleries.  But a photo of a distant and perhaps vanished sculpture is complementary to a sculpture in a gallery.  For me, it’s not either/or, it’s both.  I would not want my art to be in a recording or documentary form, which is by definition “second hand”.  I like the idea that I can show you something “here and now” as well as something from another time or place.


Born in 1945 in Bristol, England, Richard Long studied at West of England College of Art and at St. Martin's School of Art, London.  He currently lives and works in Bristol. Since his first one-person exhibition at Konrad Fischer, Dusseldorf in 1968, Long has had numerous solo exhibitions, and has participated in many international exhibitions including Documenta V and VII.  The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum organized a major retrospective of his work in 1986 and he was awarded the Turner Prize in 1989.  Recent important exhibitions were organized by the Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris (1993), the Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo (1996), the Museo di Arte, Trento, Italy (2000), the Museu Serralves, Portugal (2001), and Tate St. Ives, Cornwall (2002).  This summer, an installation entitled White Light Crescent and two large text works were featured at the Royal Academy, London.