New Year’s Day at the Hepworth 2019

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It’s become a tradition for us to drive over the Pennines to visit the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield on New Year’s Day, and this year was no different. We set off mid morning, driving over a quiet M62, and arriving around midday. The main exhibition at the moment is devoted to the Hepworth Sculpture Prize. This is a biannual competition and this was the second time it had been held.

After an initial quick reccie of the exhibitions we grabbed a bite to eat in the cafe before taking a proper look round. We also took advantage of the free guided tour of the Hepworth Prize exhibition, which gave us a better understanding of the works and some insights on the artists’ methods and intentions.

The Hepworth Prize recognises a British or UK-based artist of any age, at any stage in their career, who has made a significant contribution to the development of contemporary sculpture. The entrants don’t have to be of British origin, but must be working here.

There was a room for each of the five shortlisted artists –Cerith Wyn Evans,  Michael Dean, Mona Hatoum, Phillip Lai and Magali Reus, featuring new and recent work. Each artist has their own very different style – some, inevitably, more easily accessible than others.

Probably the easiest works to relate to were those by Mona Hatoum. She
was born in Beirut to Palestinian family in 1952 and now lives in London where, in 1975, she was stranded there because the war broke out in Lebanon. (Oh my goodness – a refugee!). And most of her works in the exhibition were influenced by conflict around the world.

This piece, with a circle on the floor made up of black marbles, rather reminded me of the work of Richard Long

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This globe constructed of rebar (steel bar used for reinfocing concrete) with scattered lumps of rubble. No doubt meant to represent the destruction of buildings by conflicts around the world

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A theme continued in another globe. This one with an outline of the continents made from neon filled glass tube. It was meant to light up, glowing red, to represent the “hot spots” around the world. Unfortunately there was a technical fault on the day which meant it wasn’t working and removed message and meaning.

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Another work, from a distance, looked liked decorative glass vessels. Closer inspection revealed them to be in the form of hand grenades.

The beauty of her sculptures was in contrast to their message. Conflicts around the world has an impact on people, who, understandably, are keen to flee to find a better life, often enduring considerable risks to life and limb in the process. Over Christmas we had so called “crisis” of a handful of refugees doing just that trying to cross one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes in flimsy boats. It’s a pity that there’s a deficit of compassion in a country turning in on itself and erecting barriers.

After the visit, we were able to vote online for the Sculpture People’s Choice. Perhaps, not surprisingly, Mona Hatoum was the winner. Her works were accessible, pleasing to the eye and with a message. On our first walk round the exhibition she would probably have been my choice too.

In the adjacent room, Phillip Lai (who was born in Malaysia)

highlights the various chains of making and consuming materials today, and for accumulating and disposing of objects.

There were several high shelves with piles of foam mats and hand-casted plastic ‘basins’ with smears of cement, an installation featuring a pile of colourful clothes and a large aluminium counter top with two oversized objects.

I found it difficult to relate to these works. They didn’t really say very much to me and even the explanation of the artist’s methods and intentions during the guided tour didn’t really change my perception.

The winner of the prize was Cerith Wyn Evans (with a name like that he was clearly Welsh!).

His works combine ideas and influences from art, history, philosophy and science in order to transform our perception of the world around us. He is perhaps best known for his elegant neon text works that mine a particular fascination with language and light. 

His winning sculpture combines thirty-seven crystal glass flutes in two overlapping arcs. 

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Air is pumped through the flutes through plastic tubing from a pair of “breathing units” following an algorithm, producing eerie musical sounds that reverberate around the room, and can be heard throughout the other exhibition spaces in the Gallery. Light shining on the structure cast shadows on the wall and floor.

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It was a simple, attractive piece and the sounds added an additional element, and was easy to like. But it wasn’t my favourite work.

Magali Reus was born in Den Haag, The Netherlands in 1981, and currently lives and works in London. Her sculptures

are accumulations of images and things – she draws on objects she finds around her, recombining them into something strange and unfamiliar. Although a keen observer of the physical world, Reus avoids using readymade objects, instead each element of her sculptural jigsaws has been meticulously fabricated using a mixture of technological and traditionally craft-based techniques. 

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On first inspection I wasn’t sure what to make of her works. But closer inspection showed that a number of them were abstract representations of people, with sombrero hats and other items like a boot and a wine bottle.

The final room showcased a large work by Michael Dean, originally from Newcastle.

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At first glance the work looked like a jumbled mess of objects scattered around the gallery – coins, padlocks, crushed cans, plastic bags, building materials and crime scene tape. But closer inspection revealed connections and meanings that weren’t initially obvious.

A pavement of concrete slabs lead across the room that visitors were allowed to stand and walk on. Looking closer showed that the slabs were oversized tongues. Other cast body parts – crossed fingers – were scattered around the work.

There were messages too, if you looked closely. The pile of pennies represented 24 hours’ worth of minimum wage and the plastic bags contained a single person’s three-day emergency food bank allowance.

The plastic tape, based on the that used to cordon off crime scenes and the like, had different wording than expected.

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The locks on the giant heart symbol, made from rebar, perhaps represented some optimisim

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During our first walk around the exhibition I wasn’t so keen on Michael Dean’s entry. But after a second look and closer inspection and discussion with the young guide during the guided tour, it grew on me and I could see lots of depth and meaning. Even though it wasn’t as “pretty” and accessible as other works in the exhibition, this was the one I gave my vote to for the
Sculpture People’s Choice .

On a final note, interestingly, during a time when the “will of the people” includes a dislike of immigrants and outsiders (and hostility), 3 of the 5 entrants had been born outside the UK, emphasising the enterprise, ideas and different perspectives people originating elsewhere can contribute to our culture. Unfortunately, too many people disagree. Sad times.

Photography at the Hepworth

Last Saturday we drove over to the Hepworth in Wakefield to take a look at the latest exhibitons. We’d not been for a while – our last visit was our annual “pilgrimage” on New Year’s day. Being named after Barbara Hepworth, the Gallery exhibitions are often devoted to sculpture, but not exclusively and Currently they have three exibitons featuring photography.

The main exhibition Lee Miller and Surrealism is a survey of the work ofthe American photographer, best known for her association with Man Ray and her photographs taken during the Second World War, both on the Home Front in the UK and then, later, in France and Germany. It includes some of her photographs togethor with selected works by Surrealist artists, attempting to explore their influence on her.

The Hepworth website tells us that

Arriving in Paris in 1929, Miller quickly became Man Ray’s apprentice, muse and collaborator, becoming part of the Surrealist network.

During World War II, Miller was employed by  British Vogue  as a freelance war correspondent, capturing thought-provoking images of Hitler’s secret apartments and the harrowing atrocities of wartime living with her particular surrealist eye.

No photography was allowed in this exhibition but a limited number of images can be viewed on the Hepworth website.

The second exhibition was Hot Mirror, a survey of work by the contemporary Dutch artist and photographer Viviane Sassen.

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Most of the images included in the exhibition were from her series ‘Umbra’, ‘Flamboya’ (photographs taken in Kenya), the ‘Pikin Slee’ series, from a remote village in Suriname, ‘Oarasomnia’, a dreamlime exploration of sleep.

There were similarities with the Lee Miler exhibition as the works on display included black and white documentary style photographs and there were clear Surrealist influences in many of the images. Even many of her photographs of “real” subjects had an abstract and often surreal quality. Here are some of my favourites.

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In the centre of the gallery there was a room and walking inside you entered an immersive work Totem, 2014, which

places the visitor inside a surreal landscape.

with a changing series of images projected on the wall and reflected in mirros to produce a type of giant kaleidoscope effect.

The third photographic exhibition, Modern Nature: British Photographs from the Hyman Collection, “does what it from says on the tin” featuring around 60 photographs taken from the end of the Second World War up to the present day. The photographers included some favourites of mine – Shirley Baker, Bill Brandt and Martin Parr. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to catch any decent photos of the photos (!) due to reflections in the glass.

The Hepworth is always worth a visit and that was certainly the case the other Saturday.

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.

The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture

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The main exhibition taking place at the Hepworth in Wakefield at the moment is devoted to the work of four artists who were nominated for the inaugural Hepworth Prize for SculpturePhyllida Barlow, Steven Claydon, Helen Marten and David Medalla.

The award recognises a British or UK-based artist of any age, at any stage in their career, who has made a significant contribution to the development of contemporary sculpture.

The winner was Helen Marten who then went on to win the 2016 Turner Prize. In both cases she decided to share the prize money with the other nominees.

Personally I actually preferred the works by the other three artists more than Helen Marten’s!. I’m certainly out of step with the judges of both competitions who know a lot more about art than I do. But then art is a matter of personal taste at the end of the day.

My personal “winner” was Philippines born artist David Medalla. His Cloud Canyons certainly attracted a lot of attention from visitors. A series of hollow tubes through which a foam of soap bubbles is extruded as long columns which bend and twist shedding  “snow” until they completely sucumb to the force of gravity, breaking off and falling to the base of the base of the sculpture, only to be replaced by another tendril.

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A continually changing kinetic sculpture.

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The work was accompanied by a poem printed on the gallery wall. This was one of several panels on which it was written.

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The next room was principally occupied by A Stitch in Time.

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The gallery was filled with “hammocks” made of what looked like net curtains. Needles and cotton were provided and visitors were invited to sew anything they liked on to the fabric. The walls were covered with lengths of fabric with stories printed, sewn and painted on to them.

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There were receipts, tickets, sweep wrappers, business cards, scraps of newspaper, drawings and various other bits and pieces, even a couple of dollar bills.

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We contributed by sewing on a receipt, a packet containing a couple of earplugs I happened to have in my pocket left over from a recent factory visit, plus a train ticket with a timetable

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I liked the way the objects attached to the partially transparent fabric cast shadows on the floor below the hammocks.

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There were three works by Phyllida Barlow but the gallery devoted to her work was dominated by the massive construction – Untitled: Scree Stage. Sloping down from one end of the gallery to the other it was covered with roughly painted wooden boards and pillar like structures. It’s difficult to get a feel of the size and bulk of this sculpture without seeing it in-situ.

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Underneath there were more pillars hanging down like oversized stalagmites, many of them touching the floor. I heard one visitor compare it to a coal mine – quite appropriate for the former mining town of Wakefield – but to me it was more like a cavern or the Bronze Age copper mine on the Great Orme we once visited.

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Visitors were permitted to walk into the “cave” and there were a number of children who were, not surprisingly, enjoying themselves walking and crawling inside.

The gallery devoted to the work of Steven Claydon was lit by a series of fluorescent tubes attached to one of the walls creating a harsh, cold light. There were UV curtains over the doors to stop the UV light “leaking” into the adjacent galleries.

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I quite liked these two tall, slim structures

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This sculpture which looks as if it is carved from a tree-trunk  and the “wooden” figures sat on it, are actually made from polystyrene.

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My favourite of Claydon’s works was this wall that looked like a picture of the night sky. It was covered with a magnetic material and the “stars” are actually pennies which stick to it due to the steel content of the copper alloy coins.

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I asked the invigilator if any of the pennies had been stolen. She told me that that hadn’t happened but some had been moved and that some 20 pence pieces had been stuck onto the wall!

The winner of the prize Helen Marten. Her work – examples below and the photograph at the beginning of this post, combines 3D structures, painting and “found objects”

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She is very much the “flavour of the month” attracting a lot of praise from the critics. But her work just didn’t click with me. I found it difficult to make sense of it and it didn’t engage me emotionally. However, I do admire her for her decision to share the prize money with the other three artists. Very egalitarian. Winning the Hepworth prize and the Turner prize shortly after means that she’s not going to be short of a bob or two, so it’s a good, unselfish gesture to share out her winnings.

New Year 2017 at the Hepworth

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The first day of 2017 we drove over the Pennines to Wakefield to visit the Hepworth, just as we’ve done on New Year’s day for the past few years. It was a while since we’d last been over to the Hepworth and there had been a few changes.

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In Gallery 1, there was an exhibition – A Contemporary Collectionfeaturing a sample of works from the Wakefield Permanent Art Collection.

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The collection was founded in 1923, and housed in Wakefield Art Gallery from 1932. The Hepworth website tells us that

Wakefield Councilman Alfred Carr stated that the purpose of the collection was ‘to keep in touch with modern art, in its relations to modern life’. In its first decades, the collection acquired works of art by important British artists of the early twentieth century who had championed art as a reflection of contemporary experience.

A very enlightened approach which allowed the Borough to accumulate an excellent collection of Modern and Contemporary art.

Some of the works on display in the exhibition included Construction in Space with Rose Marble Carviing (Variation 2)  1969 by Naum Gabo

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and paintings by John Piper (Entrance to Fonthill)

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Roger Fry –  Boats in Harbour (1915)

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and Ben Nicholson –  1933 Piquet (1933) which is similar to a painting owned by Manchester City Art Gallery

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I liked this painting, Painting 22.3.1969 (1960) by an artist, John Hoyland, I’ve not come across before. Always good to make a discovery!

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I also liked a couple of paintings of Cornish tin miners by Graham Sutherland done during his time as a War Artist. Quite similar to the pictures by Henry Moore of coal miners and people sheltering in the Underground during the Blitz and very different than the Surrealist paintings usually associated with the artist. Unfortunately they were displayed by a reflective glass that made it impossible to take a half decent photo. (There’s an example of one of his tine miner works here.)

Gallery 2 was still showing works on loan from Kettle’s Yard that we’d seen during our visit in June.

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 Gallery 3 was also still featuring works from the Cambridge gallery but since June the exhibition had been “reimagined” by by 2016 Turner Prize nominee, Anthea Hamilton,

an artist renowned for her art-pop, culture-inspired sculptures and installations that incorporate references from the worlds of art, fashion, design and cinema.

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The combination of old and new works, reorganised and displayed imaginatively made for a very interesting and enjoyable exhibition

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The main exhibition was devoted to the Hepworth Sculpture Prize. There was a room devoted to each of the four shortlisted artists Phyllida Barlow, Steven Claydon, Helen Marten and David Medalla. Again I hadn’t been sure what to expect but found the exhibition very interesting. There was quite a lot to see and it deserves it’s own post, I think.

Kettle’s Yard at the Hepworth

A few years ago we visited Cambridge for a short break. One of the highlights of our stay was a visit to Kettle’s Yard, an art gallery with a difference – ‘a living place where works of art could be enjoyed’..

To repeat what I wrote at the time, Kettle’s Yard

… used to be the home of an eccentric Englishman, Jim Ede and his wife Helen. They moved to Cambridge in 1957 and bought four dilapidated cottages on the edge of the town centre, knocking them through to create a single house.

Trained as an artist, Jim had previously been a curator at the Tate Gallery in London and through his work became friends with Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth Henry Moore and other leading members of the Avant-garde art scene. Moving into their new home in Cambridge they filled it with works of art they had collected from their friends and other artists. Jim’s mission in life was to spread the word about Modern Art and held “open house” weekday afternoons during term time for students from the University, local artists and anyone else interested to see his collection.

Cambridge is a difficult place to get to from up in the North West of England. Not that far by distance but an awkward journey, so we knew it was unlikely we’d visit again unless we decided on another short break in Cambridge. So when I heard that the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield had an exhibition featuring works from Kettle’s Yard’s collection, we decided to drive over to Wakefield to have a look.

Kettle’s Yard is closed at the moment while they’re building a major extension (I hope that doesn’t spoil the unique character of the place) so a good number of works from their collection has been lent to the Hepworth and will be on show until the beginning of September. Following that, in a second presentation, from 15 September, artist Anthea Hamilton will reinstall the exhibition and also include new work that she has created in response to the Kettle’s Yard Collection and House, and a number of works by other artists that she has invited to participate.

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One of the unique aspects of Kettle’s Yard is that the works of art are scattered around the house. There are pictures, sculptures and various other objects displayed throughout the building. Paintings by important artists are hung everywhere – including in the bathroom and toilet! And they’re not always displayed in conventional locations – some paintings hung low down close to the floor, and could only be viewed either by kneeling down or by sitting in one of the many chairs scattered around the house. There were also displays of objects including glass, ceramics and natural objects, including collections of pebbles artistically arranged.

It wasn’t really possible for the Hepworth, with it’s modern, open, airy gallery spaces, to recreate these aspects of Kettle’s Yard. There was an attempt in the smaller of the two galleries devoted to the exhibition – a reading area had been created with a couple of chairs with and objects arranged in a cabinet and they had incorporated some items of furniture and displays of pebbles and other objects. But it wasn’t really the same.

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However, they were successful in displaying the art works. The nature of the gallery means it’s possible to stand back and view the pictures and sculptures without adopting an awkward posture!

So, on to the art works. There were so many excellent works that appealed to my personal tastes, so here a just some of them.

There was a good selection of works by Ben Nicholson, who was a friend of Jim Ede, showing different styles and aspects of his practice.

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Including a textile work

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There was also an attractive painting by Winifred Nicholson – his first wife – who deserves to be remembered more as an artist in her own right than who she happened to be married to for a few years. (I’m looking forward to an exhibition of her work that’s due to start at the Abbot Hall Gallery in Kendal in the near future).

Cyclamen and Primula was painted in 1923 in Switzerland and is very typical of her work – pastel colours used to paint flowers standing on a windowsill with a landscape in the background.

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There were a large number of paintings by Alfred Wallis.

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Jim Ede obtained much of the work of Henri Gaudier-Brzeska from the estate of Sophie Brzeska following the premature death of the brilliant French artist and Kettle’s Yard has the largest collection of his work. So, not surprisingly, there were quite a few of his sculptures included in the exhibition.

A Bird Swallowing a Fish

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An early Torso

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The little Dancer, a favourite of mine

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This Constructivist sculpture was one of three works by the Russian artist Naum Gabo that I spotted on display

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(Construction in Space : Suspended)

The other two works were abstract prints that reminded me of pictures of outer space – unfortunately reflections in the glazed frames made them impossible to photograph but they can be viewed on the Kettle’s Yard website. I particularly liked Opus 9 (W/E 57)

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(Image from Kettle’s Yard collection website)

A stone ware jar (The Heron) by William Staite-Murray

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The Kettle’s Yard Collection website tells us that

It is said to have been broken by David Jones while visiting Ede’s home in London, and it was subsequently mended in gold by Staite Murray himself, adopting a traditional Japanese technique.

and the cracks filled with gold were visible on close inspection. (This was pointed out to me during an enjoyable and informative conversation by one of the gallery invigilators).

I liked this text based work, Quia per Incarnati by David Jones, an engraver, printer, poet and essayist, who was associated with Eric Gill’s communities of artists and craftsmen in Sussex and Wales in the 1920s

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All in all this was an enjoyable exhibition. It can’t, and doesn’t, recreate the quirky atmosphere of Kettle’s Yard. But it provided us with an opportunity to revisit art works that would be otherwise difficult to see and  look at them in a different way in a more “conventional” setting. And it also brought back memories of our visit to Jim Ede’s house.

Rhubarb and other stories – Martin Parr at the Hepworth

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Last Sunday we drove over to the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield. Although we were only there a few weeks ago on New Year’s Day we wanted to see the exhibition of photographs by Martin Parr that had opened since our visit.

As the Gallery’s website tells us the exhibition is

A comprehensive overview of Parr’s work is on display, from early Yorkshire-based black and white photographs of rural communities to his recent international examinations of consumerism.

It included the series of photographs shot in and around Calderdale (TV’s “Happy Valley”) not long after he’d graduated, The Last Resort, showing ordinary working class people in the run down seaside town of New Brighton, The Cost of Living, a photographic essay portraying the new middle classes of 1980s, his Autoportrait series and more recent pictures featuring people at work and at leisure.

The centrepiece of the exhibition was a series of photographs commissioned by the Hepworth  – The Rhubarb Triangle

a series of photographs taken over the last 12 months in an area of countryside known as ‘The Rhubarb Triangle’ between Wakefield, Morley and Rothwell in West Yorkshire, which is famous for producing early-forced rhubarb. Parr’s photographs capture all aspects of the rhubarb business, from the back-breaking work of moving the rhubarb from field to shed, the freezing cold and exhausting labour of picking the vegetable by candlelight (or occasionally by head-torch), and the consumption of the rhubarb by coach parties and food tourists.

This seems to have resonated with local people as I’ve never seen the Hepworth so busy.

Martin Parr is known for emphasising bright vibrant colours, particularly yellows and reds, in his photographs. So bright pink forced rhubarb made an excellent subject for him. And his with his interest in photographing ordinary people at work and play The Rhubarb Triangle was a subject made for him.

The series covered all stages of rhubarb production from preparing the beds in cold, dark sheds in the winter

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to harvesting

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right through to consumer products

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I’d seen his Non-Conformist series of back and white photographs shot around Hebden Bridge in the 1970’s before at the Walker Gallery in Liverpool but it was interesting to see them again in the context of his later work. I particularly liked some other black and white photos shot around Calderdale in the 1980’s. I could relate to them as the community in and around Halifax and surrounding towns and villages is very similar to the one I grew up in on the other side of the Pennines. It was interesting to see his photograph of spectators on the overgrown terrace at Thrum Hall, he ground of Halifax Rugby League Club. Somewhere I visited around the same period. There were a number of other run down Rugby League grounds around that time and the modern stadia used by the major teams in the Superleague are certainly very different. I can still be nostalgic for the “old days” though.

The Last Resort series and the The Cost of Living in the adjacent gallery, both shot in the 1980’s, really showed the gulf between the classes during that period. It would be interesting to do something similar today. There would be many differences including fashions and technology but I think that they would reveal that the chasm between the classes would be even wider.

The Autoportrait series was great fun. In this case the subject of the photographs is Martin Parr himself taken during his travels for assignments around the world. He has his photo taken at portrait studios, by street photographers, in photo booths etc. often posing with pops. So there are shots of him in all sorts of fancy dress and posed in front of famous landmarks or with “celebrities”.

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The final gallery displayed a large selection of his photographs, many featuring people at work and play. The back wall was covered by a display of photographs of all sorts of subjects, most of them featuring the bright vibrant reds and yellows the photographer specialises in.

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Given my job, I have to be interested in industry and people at work so there were quite a few photographs that struck a chord with me.

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Interviewed in the Telegraph (not really my paper I have to say!) Martin Parr tells the art critic Alastair Sooke

“You are after iconic moments,” …….. “but they are very difficult to produce. Most of the pictures I take are not very good. For the rhubarb commission, I took three or four thousand – and ended up with 40. If I knew how to take a great photo, I would stop.

“My job is to record things with integrity, and I can always do that,” he says. “Whether I take a ‘great’ photo is down to luck.”

I think he is being too modest and self effacing. Getting a good photo always involves luck, whoever you are, but the evidence of this exhibition is that he knows what he’s doing.