LAND | SEA | LIFE at Abbot Hall

A couple of weeks ago we finally made it across to Abbot Hall to see the latest exhibition Land|Sea|Life which features works from the Ingram Collection, and which was coming towards the end of it’s run. The exhibition include 70 “Modern British” works by over 40 artists , including Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Graham Sutherland and Laura Knight.

The collection has been put together over the last decade by media entrepreneur Chris Ingram. He’s been lucky enough to indulge his passion amassing over 650 works. But he doesn’t simply display them all in his home (probably homes, being a millionaire!). The Collection is currently housed at The Lightbox – a gallery and museum in his hometown of Woking. His taste very much aligns with my own. There wasn’t a work on display at Abbot Hall I didn’t like and looking at the 2 volume catalogue from the Collection confirmed this view.

No photographs, so I’ve restricted this post to images available on the Abbot Hall website, which are only a fraction of the works displayed. This is a drawing by Barbara Hepworth and is clearly a preliminary for a work, the “plaster” of which, is in the Hepworth Gallery collection.

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The Ship by John Piper

Most of the exhibits were 2 D works –  paintings, drawings and prints. But there were a number of sculptures, including this attractive vase like bronze object by Kenneth Armitage which rather reminded me of Barbara Hepworth’s work.

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Although I was familiar with many of the artists included in the exhibition, there were some new discoveries (always good!).  One of these included John Tunnard who had several works on display. I particularly liked his tempura painting, Installation from 1942.

Another discovery was Edward Burra. One of his works Near Whitby, Yorkshire (1972)features in the video introduction to the exhibition (above) by Jo Baring, the Collection’s Director and Curator. The other works on display were probably more typical of his work; caricature like paintings of people, many of them workers. These included Figure Composition No1 (1976) which features a group of ordinary people going about their everyday business on a busy street, and Seamen Ashore, Greenock (1944) which does what it says on the tin!

A sculpture that took my eye was Ghost Boat  (2003) by the Irish artist, John Behan

Three of my favourite works in the exhibition were by an artist I had come across before, Keith Vaughan. They were ink/gouache and ink/watercolour drawings of buildings from the industrial region of the West Yorkshire Pennines – Village in the Hills (1943), Schoolhouse, Yorkshire (1945) and Industrial Landscape III, Morton Mill (1943). They rather reminded me of landscapes by John Piper.

There were plenty others I could mention, but I think that’s enough for now! Although there wasn’t one specifically for the exhibition, here were a couple of catalogues from the collection on sale at Abbot Hall which include the works on display and many more. Images can also be browsed on the Collection’s website .

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Kaleidoscope: Colour and Sequence in 1960s British Art

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After looking round the exhibition in the old Chapel, we walked across the Country Park, down rast the lower lake and up the hill to the Longside Gallery where there was yet another new exhibition to see! Kaleidoscope: Colour and Sequence in 1960s British Art is a survey of

painting and sculpture from the Arts Council Collection, and augmented with major loans from important UK collections…. (which) …… examines the art of the 1960s through a fresh and surprising lens, one bringing into direct view the relationship between colour and form, rationality and irrationality, order and waywardness.

There’s a good selection of works by 20 British artists including  Anthony Caro, Bridget Riley and William Turnbull. I was familiar with some of them but there were some discoveries (always good!).

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The works on display included examples of Op Art, Pop Art and Constructivism, and

the sequential placement of brightly-coloured abstract units found in New Generation sculpture.

The Longside gallery is another good, airy exhibition space with large windows facing north letting in plenty of light.

Here are a selection of the works I liked

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Blue Ring (1966) by David Annesley

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Slow Movement (1965) by Anthony Caro

 

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Thebes (1966) by William Tucker

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Double Red (1966) by William Turnbull

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Quinquereme (1966) by Tim Scott

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Movement in Squares (1961) by Bridget Riley

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Ilmater (1966-7) by Jeffery Steele

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Holywood Pix (1967) by Anthony Donaldson

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Pelagic II (1967) by Bernard Farmer

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15.5.64 (1964) by John Hoyland

One of my favourites was Suspense (1966) by Peter Sedgely. This was one of a small number of works from the exhibition where photography wasn’t allowed. Another example of Op Art (like the paintings by Bridget Riley and Jeffery Steele, it was painted in such a way that it seemed that the image was out of focus – very clever!

Another good exhibition – worth the walk up the hill!!