Richard Long and Giuseppe Penone make for an interesting show at The Haunch of Venison. Haunch of Vension occupy a magnificent space behind the Royal Academy. The large grand rooms with high ceilings offset Long's sculptures brilliantly. The land art gets lost in the expansive rooms. The magnitude of the pieces dissolves and you can see them in relation to each other. The space here offers greater room for dialogue between the works. The sculptures lie in front of wall drawings and text about the landscape, further einforcing the importance of nature,and our relationship to it.
Long and Penone's work sit in different rooms, yet they flow from one to another. Penone's work seesm more abstract and autonomous than Long. On all four walls hangs large canvases constructed from four canvases. At first glance, they appear to be black matte canvases with metallic paint. Yet on a closer inspection they reveal themselves to be graphite pencil on black paper. The shapes and mark making on the paper feel organic and fluid. They seems natural as though drawn from the landscape.
However, the marks are more like patterns random that grow organically out of the process of drawing. Whereas, Long's work is about land and nature foremostly, Penone's work is more about the formal elements of drawing: mark-making, line, process, colour, and materials. The graphite on black is successful, because initially the drawings appear as abstract colour field paintings. Yet as you walk around the space, the marks and patterns reveal themelves to the viewer as the light reflects and transforms.
On the whole this show feels really well thought out and curated. One artist, Long, is a strong champion of landscape and nature in art, and his work has been shown alongside Penone's subtle reflection of nature through abstract two-dimensional works. A show which requires the viewer to have time to explore and experience it.