An autumn day at the YSP

A few photos taken during our visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park last Saturday.

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Black Mound (2013) by David Nash
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Large Two Forms by Henry Moore, in the distance
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Wilsis (2016) by Jaume Plensa
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Square with Two Circles  by Barbara Hepworth
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Albero folgorato by Giuseppe Penone
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A new work by Peter Randall Page Envelope of Pulsation (For Leo) 2017
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Square with Two Circles at sunset

New Year’s Day 2018 at the Hepworth

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I’m still far from finished writing up our trip to Australia, but I’d thought I’d take a short diversion to report on our trip to the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield on New Year’s Day. It’s become a bit of a tradition for us to drive over a quiet M62 to visit this excellent gallery. Last year we didn’t make a subsequent visit so it’s a while since we were last there – well, 12 months exactly!

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There had quite been a few changes with new exhibitions in four of the galleries and a temporary exhibition of work by the Polish artist Alina Szapocznikow which was coming to the end of it’s run.

Gallery 1 featured a range of works from the Wakefield collection, including the beautiful elm sculpture by Henry Moore shown above and works from Barbara Hepworth, and Nuam Gabo,

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The next two galleries concentrated on works by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, both born locally in Castleford and Wakefield respectively.

In the first room, works by henry Moore included this unusual (for Moore) bronze head Open Work Head No. 2 (1950)

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some of his drawings of miners from local pits during WWII

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and a series of lithographs of Stonehenge that he had personally donated to the Wakefield collection.

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The next, large room, was a comprehensive survey of Barbara Hepworth’s work including sculpture, drawings, prints and even her library of books

 

We had a brief look around the next two rooms which  explore Hepworth’s working methods and display examples from the Hepworth’s collection of her plasters as they’re on permanent display and we’ve seen them many times before. But the next two rooms had new displays – more works from the Hepworth’s collection

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and an exhibition Daughters of Necessity by British artist Serena Korda, featuring some of her own works displayed together with ceramics from the Hepworth’s collection. The Hepworth website tells us

Working with ceramics for several years, Korda combines her experimental approach to the material with her interest in the acoustic properties of objects. For The Hepworth Wakefield, Korda has created a new work, Resonators, comprising five large, richly glazed vessels with openings at each end. Visitors are invited to interact with the work by placing their ears to each vessel to hear a range of bass-like tones.

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The exhibition also features a new presentation of Korda’s ceramic sound installation Hold Fast, Stand Sure, I Scream a Revolution, which was premiered at Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art in 2016. This work is made up of 29 individual porcelain mushrooms suspended from the ceiling, which will be played as bells in public performances during the Ceramics Fair in early May 2018.

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I really liked these works which were a combination of art, science and music.

There were some beautiful ceramic pieces selected by the artist too

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The temporary exhibition Alina Szapocznikow: Human Landscapes was an extensive survey of the work of this Polish artist and

highlights how the artist’s work developed from classically figurative sculptures to her later ‘awkward objects’, which are politically charged and overlaid with Surrealist and Pop Art influences. (Hepworth Website)

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 features more than 100 works created between 1956 and 1972 including drawings, photography and sculpture, incorporating Szapocznikow’s characteristic use of cast body parts, many of which she transformed into everyday objects like lamps or ashtrays.

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Hopefully, I’ll find some time to write up more about this.

Another New Year’s Day at the Hepworth

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It’s become something of a tradition that on New Year’s Day we drive over the M62 to Wakefield. Last year we visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, on what ended up being a rather wild wet and windy day. Normally, however, we’ve been to the Hepworth Gallery and that’s what we decided to do for the beginning of 2016.

It’s a while since we’d been to the Hepworth – last February in fact – so other than the permanent display from the Hepworth Family Gift and the exhibition of Hepworth at Work everything else had changed since our last visit and there were six new exhibitions to see.

Making our way upstairs to the exhibitions on the first floor, we had a foretaste of what was to come, passing this work  Untitled (Bent Spoons) (2015) by Enrico Davis whose works were on show in two of the rooms. Made from cashmere on canvas – textile based works have been a feature of our gallery visits over the Christmas holidays!.

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In the first room at the top of the stairs, there was an exhibition of later works by Barbara Hepworth – A Greater Freedom : Hepworth 1965 – 1975

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The Gallery’s website tells us

A Greater Freedom follows artistic developments in Barbara Hepworth’s later years, focusing on the last decade of the sculptor’s life from 1965 – 75.

By this point Hepworth had achieved international recognition, representing Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1950, winning the Grand Prix at the Sao Paulo Biennial of 1959, and having Single Form commissioned for the United Nations in the early 1960s. These successes afforded her opportunities to explore new ideas and processes.

During this period, she worked in different materials, which was reflected in the works on show

Wooden sculpture

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including a particularly attractive carved wooden, three piece on loan from Bolton Museum

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Marble sculptures

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I overheard someone saying that this piece looked rather like a bathroom suite

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I think he had a point – but with characteristic Hepworth piercings it wouldn’t be very practical!

Prints

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and even an oil painting

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Genesis III (1966)

Working clockwise round the first floor, he next two rooms were occupied by the exhibition Plasters:Casts and Copies, which did exactly what it said on the tin, as the Gallery’s website tells us

This exhibition brings together sculptures made over a period of three hundred years to explore the changing artistic significance of plaster.

There’s a particular relevance for the Hepworth as they own a large collection of Barbara Hepworth’s prototypes and works in plaster from the Hepworth family gift and have a permanent display of a selection of these.

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In the second, main room there were examples of antique casts from the Royal Academy of Arts 

including plaster versions of the classical works the Belvedere Torso and Discobolus. These highlight how casts were used before the invention of photography as a means of reproducing works of art for a wide international audience.

togethor with a number of works by contemporary artists

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I was most interested in the first, smaller room which

address(ed) how Barbara Hepworth and her contemporaries used plaster both in the process of creating bronze sculptures and as a material in its own right.

It included plaster sculptures by Hepworth, Henry Moore, Kurt Schwitters, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska’s relief of two wresters (which we’d seen several years ago at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge)

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together with his preliminary sketch

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Jean Arp

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and others.

There was a small exhibition – Hepworth in Yorkshirewhich, as the tile suggests, was about Barbara Hepworth’s time in her native Yorkshire. It included

early drawings, paintings and sculpture that show Hepworth’s natural gifts in these areas. Newspaper articles and photography document her early successes and engagement with an academic figurative style that she would soon depart from to find her own artistic voice. Photographic images Hepworth took or commissioned of Yorkshire will be presented alongside these early works, reflecting her assertion that the experience of growing up in this area was hugely influential.

In the adjacent room Des Hughes. Stretch Out and Wait was an exhibition by the contemporary artist Des Hughes inspired by Henry Moore’s Working Model of Draped Reclining Figure which the latter had donated to his home town of Castleford.

The other rooms were occupied by two exhibitions: one of sculptures and drawings by Enrico David

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and the other a retrospective by Barbara Hepworth’s contemporary, Gertrude Hermes – Wild Girl. They were both excellent and deserve their own posts as this one has gone on long enough.

We’d spent a good few hours in the gallery, including eating a rather good dinner, and it was starting to turn dark as we left

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Another enjoyable New Year’s day. Roll on 2017.

New Year’s Day at the YSP

The first day of the New Year. For the past three years we’ve driven over the Pennines to the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield. Although we’ve always enjoyed the day out this year we decided on a change and headed for the nearby Yorkshore Sculpture Park to try and combine some culture with a pleasant walk in the country.

It turned out to be rather wild, wet and windy, but we didn’t let the weather spoil our day.

We started off with a rather nice dinner (deep fried squid and prawns with salad and a bucket of chips)
Then we had a look around the Ursula Von Rydingsvard exhibition in the Underground Gallery. Our third visit but definitely worth another look before it closes on the 5th January.
Then we braved the wind and rain for a walk around the park to have a look at some favourite works in the grounds
Including works by Elisabeth Frink
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and Henry Moore
Conditions continued to deteriorate so we decided to curtail our walk and retreat to the cafe for a pot of tea and some rather delicious cakes.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Hepworth at Abbot Hall

Barbara Hepworth - At work on the plaster for Oval Form (Trezion)

Barbara Hepworth – Within the Landscape is the latest exhibition showing at the Abbot Hall gallery in Kendal. We called in to see it on the way back home from our recent holiday in the Lake District. As the Gallery’s website tells us

Apart from Barbara Hepworth: A Retrospective at Tate Liverpool in 1994, this is the first significant exhibition of her work in the North West for over sixty years

A large number of her works, mainly sculptures but also some prints, were displayed in the rooms on the first floor which are used for the gallery’s temporary exhibitions, but there were also three larger sculptures  on the ground floor. There was also a display of photographs of and related to Barbara Hepworth in another one of the rooms upstairs.

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Oval Form (Trezion) 1961-3

Abbot Hall doesn’t allow photography but they do have a number of photographs of the some of the works on display on their website. Some of the pictures used in the publicity for the exhibition show sculptures outdoors and this made me expect that some would be sited at Blackwell, as was the case with their exhibition of works by Lynn Chadwick last year, but that isn’t the case. they’re all indoors at the gallery in Kendal – except for the sculpture owned by Abbot Hall which stands on the lawn in front of the entrance to the Gallery (picture above- nothing to stop me snapping that one!). A pity, as the larger works, in particular, would be enhanced by being located outdoors in changing, natural light, rather than in the stark light of the gallery. And on the lawn at Blackwell it would be possible to observe the work from all angles, a problem with some of the works indoors and I noticed that a number of visitors had commented on this in the Visitor’s book. I have to say I agree with them, but a relatively minor quibble as I enjoyed the exhibition very much. It had a good selection of works, many of which I hadn’t seen before as they had been loaned by private collections.

This later work, Summer Dance (1972) greeted visitors to the Gallery as it was located in the entrance hall. It’s a very typical Hepworth work with large “curvaceous” pieces “punctured” with large holes. At first I though it was carved from wood, but on closer inspection it was apparent that it was cast in metal. The surface treatment was particularly attractive. A light silver on the front, but a darker bronze colour on the back.

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There were examples of works in other media – stone, wood and thin metal plate, the latter sometimes twisted and manipulated into complex shapes, such as Forms in Movement (Galliard) (1956), made from a single copper sheet.

Forms in Movement (Galliard)

This is another one made from thin sheet metal, but in this case incorporating the strings which are a common feature of her work.

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Stringed Figure (Curlew), 1956

I rather liked this simple work,  Disc with strings (Moon) from 1969

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From a private collection, one of the loan conditions probably accounted for it being displayed in a perspex box. This led to some interesting effects due to light being refracted through the joins in the box and illuminating parts of the sculpture.

The smooth, curved forms of many of Hepworth’s sculptures, like this one carved from Nigerian wood, are crying out to be touched and caressed – strictly forbidden of course!

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Configuration (Phira) (1955)

There were several stone sculptures too, including this one, a large piece carved from a distinctive two-tone coloured Ancaster stone

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Rock Face (1973)

It stood out for me as it’s large rectangular form was rather “masculine” and rather different from the curvaceous works she typically produced.

There were also a number of prints which we’d seen before as they were on loan from the Hepworth in Wakefield who had them on display until recently (and where I snapped some photos).

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Porthmeor (1969)

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Genesis (1969)

So another excellent exhibition at the Abbot Hall. a good survey of Hepworth’s oeuvre, showing works in all the main media she worked in with a good number that are not normally on display to the public, so there was something new even for someone who is very familiar with Hepworth’s work. It is manageable too. A good number of works, but not too many to take in during a visit and enough to make me want to go for another look in the near future. I understand that the Tate are to hold a retrospective of Hepworth’s work next year. I’m sure that will be good too, but it’s likely to be much larger and more overwhelming. That’s one of the things I like about Abbot Hall – good exhibitions which leave you feeling satisfied but not overstuffed and overwhelmed which is often the case with the “blockbusters” in London.

Return to the Hepworth

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On Saturday we paid a visit to the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield. Thos time we were accompanied y our friend, Jean who’d never been before. Approaching the gallery in the car, which involves an unusual manoeuvre, driving past the gallery and then doubling back on yourself, Jean commented “what an ugly building” – not a good start as I wondered what she was going to make of the exhibits which included a major exhibition by the Austrian avant garde artist Franz West (more about that in another post). The building does seem to be rather like Marmite – you either love it or hate it – I’m in the former camp.

One of the current exhibitions, in the smaller gallery, Making a Modern Collection, celebrated the Wakefield Council’s art collection

The collection was founded in 1923 and began to develop with the help of Ernest Musgrave, the first director of Wakefield Art Gallery, and his forward-thinking collecting policy. Musgrave’s successors continued to expand the collection, which now has over 5,000 works, with the support of many organisations and individuals. (source)

The exhibition had only a small selection from the collection, but what a selection. It included works by Barbara Hepworth

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Two forms (1937)

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Forms, (brown, grey and white) (1941)

Ben Nicholson

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May 1954 (Delos) (1954)

Patrick Heron

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June Horizons 1957 (1957)

Henry Moore, including one of his drawings of miners

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This interesting sculpture by Kenneth Armitage

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Girl without a face (version 2) (1982)

A painting by L S Lowry

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A nude by Euan Uglow

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Gyroscope Nude (1967)

I liked this painting of  Yorkshire Landscape (1937) by Francis Butterfield

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The exhibition once again demonstrated that the Council in Wakefield have had an enlightened attitude to art and culture for many years – continuing right up to today as the establishment of the Hepworth Gallery demonstrates. So again I came away feeling disappointed that my home town, with similar working class demographic and links with mining and Rugby League, is such a cultural black hole.

Sculpture at the McNay Art Museum

The McNay Art Museum have a good collection of 20th Century sculpture displayed in a gallery in the Jane and Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions , in a sculpture garden outside this wing and a few other pieces scattered throughout the grounds. There were also a few pieces displayed inside the main galleries. Here’s a selection.

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