A Flight of Angels
By Willie Rodger

Subject Matter
Reg. Number
50 x 58 cm

Five angels with blade-like wings are shown flying in formation from left to right. They are a soft, misty blue which gives them a suitably ethereal quality. While the first three angels are dignified and upright the fifth one, apparently smaller than the rest, seems not to be flying, but is rather being dragged along almost horizontally by the movement of the others. This angel is gesturing up at the wing of the fourth, who has turned to look with strained patience.

The repetition of elements such as hands, wings and feet creates horizontal rhythms in the composition, while additional variation is created by the depiction of the angels' feet, which may be 'filled or not filled'. On top of all this, the overall composition is suggestive of the shape of a feather, creating a kind of visual pun.

Willie Rodger (1930-2018) was a Scottish artist and printmaker, specialising in anecdotal prints made with linocuts. He has also enjoyed experimenting with innovative craft techniques.

His work has been described as contrasting a boldness and delicacy, together with a combination of tones of austerity and wit. Willies strategic use of his medium exposes the maximum potential of it, whilst simultaneously maintaining an economic use of linocut.

Willie Rodger has spoken of enjoying both the simplicity of the linocut medium and the discipline it requires: "You have to think clearly before cutting. One slip and it's ruined". He has also emphasised the craft beneath the apparent spontaneity: "The prints may seem like a spontaneous, first time thing but in fact I go through hundreds of versions and sheets of paper editing, editing till I get it right."

Willie Rodger was born in Kirkintilloch and graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1954. After working as an art teacher at Clydebank High School from 1968-87, he left teaching to be a full time artist. He has exhibited widely all over the UK and also abroad, in both solo and group shows, and has also done a large number of commissions of public graphic art.

With thanks to Media Matters Education Consultancy for the use of the video clip

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