Latest exhibition ‘Depth of Air’ showing at Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, Cumbria
as part of Words by the Water Festival. 6 March – 6 April 2014
What sounds are those, Helvellyn, which are heard
Up to thy summit, through the depth of air
Ascending as if distance had the power
To make the sounds more audible?
Extract from The Prelude, William Wordsworth
This exhibition includes recent and new work on paper, made on the Solway and Galloway shorelines and in the Cumbrian fells. The title of the exhibition ‘Depth of Air’ comes from the quote above which goes onto describe the gathering at Grasmere.
Wilkinson’s work is landscape-based and attempts to capture something of the experience of being in a place. He often spends a long time in one location, returning to it repeatedly and noting changes in weather, seasonal colour and light, gaining an understanding of the essence of a particular place.
Wilkinson’s exhibition at Theatre by the Lake sees him return to a landscape he has known all his life. He was born in Keswick in 1937, in a cottage with the River Greta flowing past the bottom of the garden, ‘with the hills cutting out the horizon and the slopes of Latrigg visible through the trees on the opposite bank of the river. To the west we could see the fells surrounding Derwentwater; Wallacrag, Catbells and Causey Pike.’ Wilkinson remembers being given a box of watercolours as a child and trying to paint a view of Helvellyn: “I didn’t know how to look, where to begin, when presented with so much”.
The majority of the landscapes in this exhibition were made in this area over a period of years, often revisiting familiar locations. Wilkinson prefers to work in the autumn and winter when he finds the light more intriguing with shifts in weather and season lighting up or obscuring a particular view. They are very much about personal places.
Donald Wilkinson studied at Carlisle College of Art and the Royal College of Art, London, where he was awarded the J. Andrew Lloyd Scholarship for Landscape. He has won numerous awards, including the Giles Bequest at the British International Print Biennale in 1974, the Pallas Prize in 1976 and the 1980 National Museum Prize at Krakow International Print Biennale, Poland.
Recent solo exhibitions include A Wider Landscape at 3 Degrees West Gallery, Grasmere, commissioned by the Wordsworth Trust; and the retrospective Stains of Light at Tullie House, Carlisle. International exhibitions include Light from the Lakes, toured by South Australian Arts Council and Gallery Wolf, Haamstede Arts Festival, Holland. Wilkinson’s work is represented in many public and private collections including Victoria and Albert Museum, Arts Council England, British Council, National Library of Scotland and the Paul Mellon Foundation, U.S.A.