“The prints I have made are scattered over the six decades I have been working and reflect a somewhat serendipitous insight into the ideas and themes I have developed in my painting.”
Paul Huxley RA, 2019
Paul Huxley’s multi-disciplinary practice includes painting, sculpture and printmaking. Perhaps best known for his paintings, printmaking has accidentally become an important aspect of his life’s work.
By the time Huxley entered the Royal Academy Schools at the age of seventeen, he had been thoroughly trained in the three central methods of printmaking; etching, lithography and block printing. The Royal Academy Schools at the time had no facilities for printmaking and Huxley turned his focus to painting.
On his first visit to the United States in 1964, Huxley was reminded of the power of printmaking during a visit to Tatyana Grosman’s workshop on Long Island, when he saw prints by American artists including Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman and Jasper Johns. One year later, and five years after graduating from the RA Schools, Huxley was invited to make a set of lithographs and started printmaking again.
Since then, Huxley has made prints whenever the chance has presented itself and printmaking has become a substantial portion of his artistic output. Accidental Printmaker is a display of Huxley’s favourite prints from 1965 -2019 and forms a retrospective of this significant part of his practice.
All proceeds from sales of this work go directly to support the non-profit-making areas of the Royal Academy, particularly the RA Schools.
Following a set of large wall drawings which he made for the Venice Biennale in 2015, Huxley began a series of works featuring balancing and toppling geometric shapes which give a sense of instability.
In Huxley’s own words:
“I discovered that this format, with its implied sculptural manifestation, could seem sinister at times (as was my first intention in using shapes of varying proportions to illustrate climate catastrophe) but also playful and entertaining at other times, evoking acrobatic performances.”
This print is one of a pair (Atlas and Axis) which in their titles refer to the two bones in the upper spine which form a mechanism that facilitates the movement of the head. Separately each title has an individual meaning: In particular, Atlas was the Titan in Greek myth who was condemned to hold up the heavens for eternity, a subject which Huxley explored in further works.
Buy art at the RA
The RA Editions programme publishes and showcases prints by Royal Academicians and invited artists. All are available to buy online, from the RA Shop in Gallery X as well as through a series of displays within the Keeper’s House and Burlington Gardens. The programme generates valuable revenue for the RA and, in particular, the RA Schools.