Having recently purchased Paul Wakefield’s new book The Landscape, I was pleased to hear that there would be an exhibition to accompany the release of the book. The exhibition is currently on at The Redfern Gallery in London, and will be there until 26th of April 2014.
For those who aren’t aware of Paul Wakefield or the new book, let me first tell you a little about it. It is an extremely high quality publication even before we consider its contents. Pleasingly large in scale, the cloth bound book is fronted by a dramatic image of Rhum from the Isle of Skye, and if you are willing to front up the cash for the Collector’s Edition, comes in a clamshell presentation box and is accompanied by a beautiful signed and numbered print.
The book contains 80 full colour images, and these are of startling quality and complexity, with a wide variety of subjects and moods. Paul’s images span a number of decades and continents, and whilst some leave me a little unsure of what it is that I’m supposed to be looking at and why I’d want to, many of them are so visually engrossing to me that I can almost feel as if I was there with Paul.
So when I had the opportunity to see these images printed large and on display in a gallery, I jumped at the chance. As you might expect with an artist of Paul’s calibre, these images are not cheap to purchase, but they do in my view represent good value if presented correctly. And unfortunately in this case I think the presentation of Paul’s images at the Redfern Gallery was a bit of a disappointment. The downstairs room in which the images are displayed is quite small, and the prints are rather packed in, which gives an impression of the images being in a showroom, rather than an art gallery. This is perhaps partly due to the images being on display in a commercial gallery rather than a typical art gallery, but the painted artworks that are upstairs in the gallery are given a bit more space and as such they feel more respected. There are further aspects of presentation that were slightly flawed – a number of the frames had slight damage to them or had fingerprints or smudges on the glass. I can’t help but think that if you’re trying to sell prints for £1300 or more, that you should make the effort to make them look as good as possible.
Don’t let this put you off though, if you’re in London with half an hour to spare. The prints are gorgeous, and there are copies of the book there for you to thumb through if you wish. The two together tell the tale of a very accomplished landscape photographer who has quietly travelled the world making images for himself alone, but who has now let us in on the secret. I’m very pleased to have seen what he has to offer and am a proud owner of some of his work.