In a quiet dialogue with Chris McCaw’s photographs are the humble wooden sculptures of artist Roger Ackling (British, 1947-2014). After countless meditative hours, the works bear repeating, linear patterns burned in by the artist’s handheld magnified lens and sunlight. Creating work over nearly fifty years, Ackling garnered a reverent following of collectors who engage with the delicate energy embedded within his objects. He expressed that “what is made from this simple, concentrated ritual is held within the work itself. This presence can be re-absorbed through the senses and the eye.” Ackling’s process is photographic in its most fundamental expression; Mark-making using the properties of light, fulfilling the Greek etymology of the word itself (phos (light) + grâphe (drawing), and his works are held in collections and exhibited worldwide, including forthcoming major exhibitions in the U.K.
Beyond McCaw and Ackling’s shared celestial practice, a more delicate dedication to patience unites their creative approach to time and the physical elements of our terrestrial existence. Both meticulously plan a composition before stepping back to let their concentrated process take its effect over an extended period. Furthermore, McCaw and Ackling both primarily use found objects; Ackling wood scraps and driftwood collected or gifted from friends, and McCaw, a vast repository of expired, analog photo papers sourced through endless hours scouring the web.