Assemblage of garden tools from alumnus of late 1960s St Martin’s School of Art scene
It’s hard, at first, to see just what Roger Ackling has created here. An alumnus of the late 1960s St Martin’s School of Art scene that also produced Richard Long, Ackling’s ideas of what constitutes sculpture are unique to say the least. In this case it is an assemblage of old wooden garden tools from his shed laid next to one another along one wall of the gallery. On two of the other walls, a single line of string bisects at around chest height, held in place with irregularly spaced halves of wooden clothes-pegs.
Only close inspection and possibly a prompt from the gallery guide reveals that each wooden surface has been seared by regular, almost tribal markings created by a magnifying glass and the sun, a subtle, pain-staking evocation of nature’s ability to both erode and create. As you examine the earth-shaded hoes, axes and fruit boxes, two crossed pieces of wood fastened high on the white wall, it’s possible to see this arrangement as a landscape and the clothes-pegs as a representation of the solar system, a statement that all destruction – creative or otherwise – is merely a function of nature.
Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sat 21 Apr