Leicester Print Workshop is bringing a selection of prints by the artist Roy Bizley to the city this Spring. The work in this exhibition has been selected from a collection of prints produced throughout his career, donated to LPW by the artist’s family. Staged over two venues, the exhibition brings together two aspects of Bizley’s work, the Icelandic landscapes that inspired so much of his work, and a series of prints which explore his process of creating a print.
Iceland’s landscapes – the flat-topped mountains, geysers, barren moraines, black sand deserts, hot springs and rugged cliffs are among the most dramatic in the world. These elemental, glacial and volcanic landscapes stirred Bizley to create a huge body of work. Sketches from annual visits became books, prints, poetry and paintings. The physicality of relief printmaking, of gouging marks, collaging and overlaying images, made it an apposite medium for the subject. The paradox of a landscape that seems frozen in time; whilst the passage of clouds, the dramatic changes in light and the tension of nature’s sub terrestrial power giving a sense of being, in Bizley’s words, ‘always on the move.’
In these prints he explores masses, planes and textures, and the visual flow of water and ice. In his own words, using ‘reduction to basic shape relationships’ to make ‘formal arrangements around the picture-plane’ creating the effect of a ‘jigsaw with bits missing’. His geometric forms refer to the landscape but are set in a repeated, regularised rhythm. His printed landscapes show scenes that are believable, but have been thoroughly reconstituted in printmaking terms as an alternate reality.
Bizley says of the landscape: “To a large extent, the interior of the country is uninhabitable wilderness, consisting of old and new lava flows, mountains, stoney deserts, rivers, waterfalls, glaciers and geothermal areas. The sheer variety of the natural phenomena is incredible, and a magical gift to any artist interested in the landscape. The air is very clear and in high summers there is continual daylight. The skies are really different too; the displays of cloud more complex than in England. It is possible to watch a single cloud slowly melt and collapse into a brief shower. Then there is the cloud / mountain relationship, especially towards the end of the day, when long white clouds descend, sitting on top of mountain ranges like thick blankets, or drop into the valleys between them.”
Aspects of Print, Roy Bizley is at Leicester Print Workshop and The Print Room in LCB Depot from the 10th February to the 12th May.