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Review: Ackling's work is suprisingly moving

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 20, 2011 - British artist Roger Ackling belongs to a generation of artists, including Andy Goldsworthy and Richard Long, whose works quietly engage nature and alert us to its subtle yet powerful forms. But Ackling's singular technique distinguishes him from those contemporaries: The artist finds small pieces of wood, and burns fine striations into them using only a magnifying glass and the sun's rays.

Now on view at Schmidt Contemporary Art is a series of Ackling's recent pieces, and they're absolutely beautiful.

Small in scale, each piece features meticulous, burned channels that complement and echo the shape of the wood fragments. Ackling's loving treatment transforms cast-off bits of wood into secular relics and intimate icons; they're profoundly, surprisingly moving.

Ivy Cooper, a professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, is the Beacon art critic.

Ivy Cooper
Ivy Cooper is the Beacon visual arts reviewer and a professor of art at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.