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This report is taken from PN Review 268, Volume 49 Number 2, November - December 2022.

Tony Wild's Landscape Collages Luke Roberts
Born in Staffordshire in 1941, Tony Wild has been showing his exuberant, sombre work for six decades. Whatever his medium – oil paintings, watercolours, photography, ceramics, collage – Wild is in the landscape, responding. He grew up in a working community of mines and kilns and canals. This is an aesthetics of soot and chalk, dirt and glaze, shimmer and ornament and use. Catching the strange damp light of the Midlands, the beauty of it, the immediacy of perception cuts across the sediment of history and memory. He has clay and coal under his fingernails. What he sees is delicate and subtle; it emerges from a deep intimacy, a long knowledge of his surroundings. I first came across Wild’s work on the front covers of a handful of small press poetry books. John Temple’s The Ridge (Ferry, 1973), with gorgeous blues and browns; the glowing yellow of Roy Fisher’s 19 Poems and an Interview (Grosseteste, 1975). The cyanotype wraps of Veronica Forrest-Thomson’s On the Periphery (Street Editions, 1975); a cover for the programme of the Six Towns Poetry Festival, organised in the potteries by Nicholas Johnson in the 1990s. Most recently, he provided a collage of shaped birds cut from photographs of stone surfaces and sky for Tom Crompton’s pamphlet bait-time (Distance No Object, 2019). Wild’s connection to the poets came through Keele> University, where he worked alongside Fisher and Andrew Crozier. Poets would often visit and give readings and talks. Wild became close friends with Barry MacSweeney, keeping up a lifelong correspondence and exchanging artworks and poems. ...

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